The thought of brushing your cat’s teeth probably hasn’t even crossed your mind, but just like us humans, cats also require dental care to stay healthy. If possible, start this as early in your pet’s life as you can to make them accustom to the process. If you take things slowly, give them lots of praise and try and make it a positive experience, with time brushing your cat’s teeth will become easier. *Purrlease take your cat/s for a check up and consult your vet before starting any dental care routine!
What types of items should I use to brush my cats teeth?
- Infant or Cat specific toothbrush – We use soft bristle varieties OR finger toothbrushes for pets.
- Cat toothpaste – NEVER use human toothpaste!
- Treats – So you can earn their love back as quickly as possible. =) You can find specific dental treats and food that help eliminate tarter buildup.
Other great options or alternatives to add to your feline dental routine:
What is the best method to begin?
- First, you will want to get your cat used to you touching their lips and exposing their teeth. Start doing this for small periods of time, gradually getting them used to it.
- Find a comfortable spot or position for your brushing routine. As you can see in the video, we chose a position that allows us to control the boys, but gives them the freedom to claw into the carpet instead of our bodies without backing out of our gentle hold.
- Once your feline is comfortable with your finger around their mouth, you can begin to introduce a small amount of toothpaste and brush with your finger before using a toothbrush. Here is where some people like to use a finger-toothbrush in the process.
- If you now feel the toothbrush is a preferred option, slightly moisten it and use the feline toothpaste to brush. Make sure you are getting the back teeth as well and if your cat decides they want to chew on the bristles, sometimes that is a bonus and can eliminate some of your work!
- You do NOT need to brush for 2 minutes like with humans, but try to ensure you are getting all teeth brushed; usually 30 seconds is ideal if they will allow it.
- Be sure to give them LOTS of praise for a job well done throughout the process!
- We tend to remove their food for about 30 minutes BEFORE and AFTER the brushing to allow for the toothpaste/gel to work effectively but as soon as we can, we give lots of treats/praise again to associate the cleaning with positive moments. There are dental treats or our favorite freeze dried treats that can help remove the tarter buildup as well.
Some cats, like humans, are predisposed to have more dental issues than others. For example, Marmalade being FIV+ is more prone to Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), Stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth and dental disease so keeping on top of his dental care is imperative.
Even if you can integrate brushing into your cats daily routine, it is recommended that you STILL get annual vet visits to evaluate your cats oral health and the need for dental cleanings. This can ensure there are no serious issues that can occur underneath the gum line that can be VERY costly, stressful and painful for your furbabies (and you) later in life.
You may be reading this and thinking “my cat would never let me do this!” But like we say, anything is better than nothing and with time & patience you can make it routine. GOOD LUCK 😀