When it comes to your cat’s health, you probably already have several topics in mind: feeding a healthy diet, keeping up to date with vaccines and more. But one aspect of cat wellness that can be overlooked – and is very important – is cat dental health. Left untreated, dental problems can cause pain and other diseases – no one wants that!
Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, today we have for you five tips to keep your cat’s mouth healthy, as well as a few stories from our very own rescue cats showcasing the different ways dental issues can show themselves, and what to do about them. Read on!
5 Tips for Keeping Your Cat’s Mouth Healthy
1. Monitor Your Kitty’s Breath
Let’s be real, cat breath is never exactly minty fresh. However, if you notice your cat’s breath is downright foul, it is time to take kitty to the vet to get checked out. Excessively stinky breath usually is caused by gum disease and/or tooth decay, but a trusted vet will be able to tell you exactly what is going on.
2. Get Checkups
It’s important to take your cat to the vet every year for a checkup. As a part of a routine exam, the vet will evaluate your cat’s mouth. Doing this will help make sure any dental issues are caught before they can become worse.
3. Clean Up
That’s right, it’s a good idea to brush your cat’s teeth. You can purchase cat-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste at your local pet store (do NOT use human toothpaste), and for full instructions on how to clean your kitty’s teeth, click here.
4. Stimulate Gums
Often times, tooth decay begins with irritated gums. To keep your cat’s gums healthy, it’s a good idea to regularly give them a little massage. Doing so will strengthen the gums, which will help prevent gum problems and help kitty heal faster. Also, your cat’s gums should be pink, not red and irritated.
5. Provide a Proper Diet
A varied diet is key! Ideally cats should have a mixture of wet and dry food daily, and it’s also a good idea to mix up proteins (they can eat fish, beef, rabbit and more). Treats are a good “sometimes” food for your cat, and can be used in conjunction with training kitty to have his teeth brushed/gums massaged.
Karma Cat Dental Tales
As you can probably tell by now, cat dental health is no joke. It’s super important to stay mindful of your kitty’s mouth and how to keep it clean. Here are some examples of dental situations from our very own rescue cats:
Sweet Cindy was at first misinterpreted as always being scared and on guard. She would swat and scratch at everyone!
However, after a vet check, it was discovered that she needed a dental exam.
After her exam, the difference was amazing. She had a much sweeter personality, and with that came a successful adoption!
Prior to Miss Brooke’s dental appointment, whenever volunteers went to touch the right side of her head, claws would come out swinging, which was strange considering she didn’t mind if you touched the left side of her sweet little noggin.
Fast forward and after her dental procedure of eight extractions (performed by Dr. Slade of Edgebrook Animal Hospital), volunteers could approach both sides of Brooke’s head and pet her! She even nuzzles her head into your hand from both sides of her face now. Our volunteers were overcome with joy seeing how much Brooke changed in such a short time – all thanks to proper dental health.
Samantha, Scout, Jack and Jill
Volunteers began noticing really bad breathe with all of these adorable siblings during Karma Cat’s adoption hours. Soon after, they were brought to Edgebrook Animal Hospital, where it was discovered that their gum lines were inflamed, and they were experiencing a bacterial infection. What was the recommended course of action? To treat them all with antibiotics.
Within two weeks, Scout and Samantha saw great improvements, and their gums are healthy and all clear now!
Jack and Jill started taking their antibiotics when they changed foster homes, and now they’re all finished with their treatments and healthy as can be!
All in all, the most important thing you can do for your cat’s dental health is pay attention. If you notice anything abnormal, take kitty to the vet immediately to be checked out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s so important to catch any issues before they worsen!
Have questions regarding your cat’s dental health? Looking for some more toothy tips, or perhaps a cat to call your own (and a cat whose teeth you want to brush?!) Contact us today or leave a comment below!