How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

The following submit first appeared on iCatCare here

Brushing a cat’s tooth is prone to be the one best method to cut back dental plaque and keep long-term oral well being. Like people, brushing won’t solely stop plaque and tartar formation; it can additionally promote wholesome gums and cut back halitosis (unhealthy breath). Daily and even twice day by day brushing is advisable wherever attainable, and this may be launched to a cat at any age. However, this have to be executed steadily and with acceptable care.

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Some cats appear predisposed to growing dental illness despite each effort made to forestall it. The chemical make-up of the saliva is one issue affecting dental and gum illness in these cats, in addition to immune responses, presence of micro organism, and an infection with different brokers. Rigorous house care or, in extreme instances, a number of tooth extractions could also be wanted to assist these cats.

Home care

Dental house care will be began in a cat at any age, however usually, the youthful the cat is when the process is began, the simpler it’s for the cat to adapt to the routine. Kittens, particularly, often don’t take lengthy to turn out to be accustomed to brushing, whereas older cats might have a slower and extra gradual method.

The considered brushing or cleansing your cat’s tooth could appear unusual and even fairly daunting. While not all cats will tolerate it, many will and it is a superb method to keep oral and dental well being.

Home dental care is usually began after the cat has had its tooth cleaned and polished beneath an anaesthetic by your vet. In these instances, it’s often advisable to permit just a few days for the mouth to heal, and for irritation to quiet down, earlier than beginning house care. This is particularly true in case your cat has had any tooth eliminated. After this time, nonetheless, house care ought to be began as quickly as attainable.

Whether it’s a kitten or an aged cat, dental house care ought to be carried out in the identical means. It is useful to determine a day by day routine, selecting a time that’s handy to verify brushing is finished day by day. Having this routine can be useful for the cat.

Although dental house care may ideally be executed after the cat has eaten, many cats eat a number of small meals a day, and you might also desire to offer the cat some meals as a reward after brushing the tooth, so timing isn’t vital.

What to make use of to scrub your cat’s tooth

When planning to brush your cat’s tooth it is very important use the right tools. Never use human dental merchandise on a cat. Specific animal dental merchandise are available – ask your vet. You will want:

  • Toothbrush – an acceptable toothbrush for cats, and a separate toothbrush for every cat as saliva could be a main route for cross-infection.
  • Veterinary/cat toothpaste – cat toothpaste could be very totally different from human toothpaste, and human toothpaste could be unpalatable for cats and should trigger gastric irritation. Cat toothpaste often is available in a number of flavours corresponding to rooster, beef, fish or mint – you may attempt totally different flavours to search out out which one your cat could like greatest.

Cat dental house care ‘starter kits’ are generally accessible. Some of those comprise a ‘finger brush’ (a kind of brush that you simply placed on the top of a finger) quite than an everyday toothbrush. These ought to be used with excessive warning although, and are in all probability greatest prevented typically to scale back the danger of being bitten!

How to brush your cat’s tooth

Performing dental house care will be approached within the following means:

  • For the primary couple of days, construct up your cat’s belief by inserting a small quantity of toothpaste onto your finger and providing it to him/her. Some cats will immediately love the style whereas others could also be a bit reluctant. If reluctant, attempt inserting a tiny quantity onto your cat’s nostril. He/she’s going to hopefully lick it off and often, as soon as they’ve had a style of it they may take it out of your hand.
  • It is beneficial to make use of the primary couple of days to familiarise your self with how you’ll maintain your cat’s head when brushing. To keep away from startling your cat, do this when your cat is sleepy and at a unique time to when you’ll brush. If attainable do this a number of instances a day, as you’ll be extra assured on the subject of brushing the tooth.
    • It is often higher to have your cat with its again in direction of you quite than approaching him/her from the entrance. Not solely is that this much less confrontational for the cat, but when your cat wriggles they may often transfer backwards, in direction of you, and you’ll have higher management.
    • Spread your hand large, as a agency however light grip is required, and place the palm of your hand on high of your cat’s head however in direction of the again, and use your thumb and second finger to grip across the cheekbone beneath the eyes. Your index finger ought to be lifted so to not cowl your cat’s eyes.
    • Gently tilt your cat’s head upwards a bit of and use your thumb to softly elevate your cat’s higher lip
    • Use the thumb or finger in your different hand to softly pull down your cat’s decrease lip – this could offer you a very good view of all of 1 facet of your cat’s tooth.
  • For the following 2-3 days, maintain your cat’s head in the identical means, however as a substitute of utilizing your second hand to carry the decrease lip down, apply some toothpaste to a cotton bud and gently rub the toothpaste onto the tooth in a round movement.
    • Start on the again tooth as these are often those which can be probably the most tough to succeed in however an important to brush. Gradually work your means forwards till reaching the lengthy canine tooth.
    • If your cat tries to hinder you with its ft, ask somebody to carry your cat’s entrance legs or, if you’re by your self, it might be simpler to wrap your cat in a towel or blanket.
    • It is much better to attempt to get your cat used to having its mouth touched by repeating these steps little and infrequently till you’re feeling able to progress to the following stage.
  • Finally, you can begin utilizing the toothbrush. The process is identical; transferring in small round motions and ranging from the again. Start by brushing for about ten seconds all sides however steadily enhance the time to 30-45 seconds all sides. When you first begin to brush the tooth there could also be a small quantity of gum bleeding. This is frequent and you will see that that as you sweep extra usually the bleeding will cease because the gums turn out to be more healthy.
  • If you discover that a few days at every stage is simply too fast to your cat then take as many days as you want to your cat to adapt and really feel comfy with the process. The primary factor is to see house care as one thing nice and never a battle between you and your cat.
  • Sometimes it’s simpler to see someone reveal dental house care in your cat. Most veterinary surgical procedures provide appointments with a veterinary nurse for this to be executed, so in case you’re having issues then contact your veterinary surgical procedure.

Alternative or supplementary house care methods

Some cats won’t tolerate brushing irrespective of how a lot you persist. In these instances, there are nonetheless methods in which you’ll be able to assist stop plaque and tartar formation:

  • If your cat is on tender meals then altering to or including dry meals to your cat’s weight loss program could assist to scale back plaque and tartar accumulation. However, ask your vet first to make sure a change of weight loss program is appropriate to your cat.
  • Cat dental chews are often accessible out of your vet and maybe additionally from a pet store. They come in numerous flavours and will be useful in lowering (however not stopping) plaque and tartar formation – ask your vet what the best dental chews are.
  • If your cat likes the toothpaste you may attempt making use of some toothpaste to dry meals or dental chews to permit the toothpaste to rub in opposition to the tooth
  • Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic that’s helpful in controlling micro organism within the mouth) mouthwashes or gels can be found. These assist cut back bacterial progress within the mouth, though extended use can discolour the tooth enamel.
  • Your vet may additionally recommend a particular ‘dental weight loss program’ to your cat – some diets have been specifically formulated to assist management plaque and tartar, and these could also be significantly useful in cats with dental illness the place house brushing could be very tough.

While it’s possible that your cat will want dental therapy at some stage of their life, common dental house care can dramatically enhance oral well being and cut back the need for dental procedures, which will be of profit to you and your cat.

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sarahicatcare

I’m the feline behaviour specialist at feline charity ‘International Cat Care’. We are about participating, educating and empowering folks all through the world to enhance the well being and welfare of cats by sharing recommendation, coaching and fervour.

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