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Cats have 30 teeth and once they reach adulthood, it is not easy for them to take care of their teeth on their own. Unlike us, they cannot brush their teeth and domestic cats cannot find a replacement for chewing on grass and bones – which is their way of keeping all their teeth clean in the wilderness. Here are a few ways to establish a hygienic dental regimen for your cat. After all, you do not want kitty to go through painful and expensive surgery down the road:
- Be vigilant – If your cat’s breath is smelling foul, it is a good sign that he has serious oral problems. If you leave it untreated, it is not going to go away. Just like humans, if a cat is drooling and has bad breath, it is an indicator of tooth decay or gum disease.
- Schedule yearly checkups – Dental checkups are something most cat owners ignore. Regular visits to the vet are an absolute must, especially if you want to spot oral problems before they snowball into something big.
- Be thorough – If your cat is bleeding from the mouth (after eating dry food) or has bad breath, you need to let the vet know. Occasional bleeding of the gums is nothing to get worked up about, but if your cat suffers from a combination of bad breath and bleeding gums, accompanied by drooling, then he might need a deep cleaning or a tooth extraction.
- Establish a regular cleaning routine – Adult cats are resist more to having their teeth cleaned. So, it is better to start when they are young. You can get kittens used to the process by using a gauze or finger cot, along with toothpaste formulated for cats. You can also dip your finger in tuna water before you rub it on kitty’s gums if you want the experience to be more pleasant.
- Massage their gums – Tooth decay is usually precipitated by inflamed or irritated gums. So, do not forget to massage your cat’s gums while you can. Not only will this promote healing, it will also strengthen the gums. If the gums are red in color, that’s a bad sign.
- Proper diet – Diet is a crucial factor in maintaining your cat’s oral health. Feed your cat a combination of dry and wet foods, and make sure that you vary the protein source on a regular basis. Fish, rabbit and beef are excellent meat choices for your cat.
- Treats – Tartar control chews and treats are great if given in moderation, but they are not an alternative to regular cleaning. You can try using the treats and chews as rewards for your cat’s good behavior while getting him used to having his teeth cleaned.