Our feline friends have 30 teeth once they reach adulthood and taking care of all those teeth on their own isn’t easy. And unlike us, cats can’t brush their teeth, so today we’re sharing 10 ways to establish good dental care for cats. After all, you want to prevent your feline from having to undergo uncomfortable surgery.

1. Be vigilant. That mild fishy odor often referred to as “kitty breath” is considered to be normal. But if your cat has foul breath, it’s a sign that he’s having oral problems. And if left untreated, your cat’s breath is only going to get worse. When an animal has bad breath and is drooling, the cause is often a symptom of gum disease and/or tooth decay.

2. Stick to a yearly checkup. Unfortunately, a dental checkup is something most cat owners don’t think about as part of good dental care for cats. But just like people, cats suffer from dental issues that if unchecked can lead to serious health problems.

3. Communicate with your vet during the checkup. It’s important to let your vet know if your cat has bad breath or is bleeding from the mouth (usually visible after eating dry food). Occasional bleeding in the gums is typically nothing to worry about. But if your cat has both bleeding gums and bad breath accompanied by drooling, he likely needs a deep cleaning or even a tooth extraction.

4. Establish a cleaning routine. It’s not too difficult to get cats used to getting their teeth cleaned. Adult cats are often more resistant, though, so it’s a good idea to start when they’re young. 

5. Learn how to brush your cat’s teeth. Toothpaste specially designed for cats is readily available in flavors they’ll enjoy. Do not try to brush your cat’s teeth with toothpaste meant for humans. If fluoride toothpaste is ingested it can make your cat severely ill.

6. Stimulate their gums. Tooth decay usually begins with irritated or inflamed gums, so however you’re able to maintain your dental care for cats, don’t forget to massage his gums when you can. Not only will this hasten healing, but it will strengthen the gums so your cat will be less likely to suffer from gum problems later.

7. Provide good food. Diet is another important factor in  maintaining good dental care for cats. Feed your cat a combination of wet and dry foods and change up the type of meats they eat. Besides fish, you can also feed your cat beef and rabbit.

8. Add food supplements. Tartar-control treats and chews are fine in moderation, but they’re not good for properly cleaning your cat’s teeth. If, however, you regularly clean your cat’s teeth, special food supplements can be a good addition to an already healthy diet.

9. Give them bones to chew on. Cats are predators, so part of their natural diet consists of hard bones. Bones remove tartar and help keep teeth and gums healthy. Since most indoor cats don’t have access to bones, some veterinarians recommend them as a treat.

10. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until your cat shows signs of distress to have his teeth checked. Many cats do not show obvious signs of discomfort until they’re in considerable pain.

Preventive care, yearly checkups, and a good diet can ensure that your cat stays happy and healthy with these tips for proper dental care for cats. If your feline friend has been showing any signs of dental problems – or if it’s time for your cat’s next checkup – call our office today to schedule a consultation.

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