If your cat is one to be giving kisses or yawning in your face, you might notice one or two things. One is the teeth, and the other could be the smell of your cat’s breath. You start to wonder if it is a good idea to wash your cat’s teeth. The answer to this first question is yes, you can, and you should. Additionally, this might lead you to ask yourself, “how can I brush my cat’s teeth without ending up with all sorts of scratches on my face?”
Begin by placing your cat in a comfortable place for both of you. Then, lift its lip gently, use a toothbrush with toothpaste on it, and brush its teeth. Start with just the large canine teeth. As it accepts this action, you should gradually increase the number of teeth until you reach the molars.
It is highly recommended that once you are done with brushing your pet’s teeth, try to give your cat something that it will enjoy, like a treat or toy.
But before getting down to business, there are some points you have to keep in mind. In this post, we discuss the essential topics when giving your cat a teeth clean-up.
What To Consider Before Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
Before you put your hands to work on brushing your cat’s teeth, there are a few things to keep in mind so you are able to do this challenging task smoothly. In the following paragraphs, you will learn the essential facts about brushing the teeth of your cat:
Cats have pretty small mouths and teeth, so you have to look for a tiny brush specially designed for cats. You are able to find these toothbrushes made for cats in a variety of designs, with single heads, double heads, or even one designed to be on the tip of your pinky finger. You could also use a baby toothbrush, some type of washcloth, gauze, or a sponge toothbrush; some people have even used makeup brushes.
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Toothpaste for pets is available in attractive flavors like poultry and fish, which cats find fascinating and helps you ease this task as your cat will love and find this like a treat. Also, particular enzymes in toothpaste help to break down food and bacteria.
Make Your Cat Comfortable With The Concept Of Brushing Its Teeth.
To make your cat feel comfortable with the idea of you intruding into its mouth to brush its teeth, you will have to start by lifting your cat’s lips for brief amounts of time. Try to introduce this activity during a peaceful and quiet moment, like when your cat is cuddling with you.
Be Mindful Of Your And Your Cat’s Body Language
Speak softly and gently while lightly touching their lips. Your cat will catch up on your tone and body language; if you appear stressed or nervous, they will mimic it. Stop touching their lips as soon as they get uncomfortable, even if it’s only for a few seconds in the beginning, so they do not associate the action with an unpleasant experience. Over time your cat might get used to this, and its willingness to get its teeth washed will grow.
Introduce The Toothbrushing Supplies
Cats are not fans of surprises. However, once you have built the trust in your cat of you touching and handling their mouth, you can start to show it the tools or supplies you will be using.
Start by finding a comfortable and peaceful space where you will be introducing the toothbrush and toothpaste. Then, let your cat sniff the brush and play with it; you can even get your cat to have a little taste of toothpaste to get them to get used to the flavor. Once your cat is done, try to give it a treat or a toy. By doing this, your cat will see this as a pleasant experience.
- Once you have introduced the toothbrushing supplies, you can start mimicking the toothbrushing session by dipping a Q-tip into tuna water to introduce this action as something positive.
- Put your cat’s head at a 45° angle and gently lift your cat’s lips; this way, the mouth can remain closed.
- At first, try to mimic the action with just a few teeth and not the whole mouth to reduce your cat thinking of toothbrushing as a traumatic event.
How Often Should I Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?
In a perfect world, you need to brush your cat’s teeth every day or every other day. The reason is that plaque takes around 48 to 72 hours to get hard, calcifies, and transforms into stubborn tartar, which can only be removed by a vet specialized in feline dentistry.
This tartar irritates animals’ gums, just as in humans, causing gingivitis, an inflammatory disease of the gum. Other symptoms are gum reddening and a funky smell. Suppose you do not take care of your cat’s teeth. In that case, this situation might lead to a severe infection that could weaken your cat’s teeth; they might become inflamed, which will ultimately result in soft tissue, tooth loss, and bone deterioration.
A session of just one minute every other day could be a lot of help to avoid this situation. Also, try to get your cat a professional cleaning once per year.
Can I Brush My Cat’s Teeth With Human Toothpaste?
No. Human toothpaste should never be used for your cat since so many varieties include fluoride, chemicals, and artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which are potentially harmful to cats. Also, human toothpaste contains ingredients that are harmful when swallowed, and this might cause an upset stomach and other digestive disturbances.
Can I Use Baking Soda?
Baking soda is high in alkaline content; if your cat ingests this, it could cause a disturbance in the acids of the stomach and digestive system, so it is better not to use it. But anyway, your cat will not be very cooperative with you brushing its teeth with baking soda due to its unpleasant flavor.
How Can I Clean My Cat’s Teeth Naturally?
There are several ways to keep your cat’s teeth clean. Here we give you a few ideas on how to do it:
- Change the diet of your cat to one that provides it with good quality nutrients.
- Try dental food for cats. On the market, you can find brushless oral care products for your cat; some of them can even break down tartar and avoid getting oral and gum disease.
- You could use gels that are applied directly to your pet’s teeth or use water additives, but the latter one is not that effective in the long term.
- The market is full of toys for your cat, but there are ones specially designed to take care of your pet’s oral health; you can find them as dental chews or dental toys.
- Giving your cat uncooked bones – being careful not to provide it with any splinters – could be beneficial to break down plaque and tartar.
After all of this information, you might have concluded that it is crucial to keep an eye on your beloved pet’s oral health and brush its teeth as a preventative action that could help avoid periodontal disease,s gingivitis, plaque, and tartar.
Brushing your cat’s teeth might seem like a hard task to do, but we recommend you try it before any other options like toys, gels, or water additives.
Also, changing your cat’s diet and giving it dental food and treats could help make a better effect when you complement it with tooth brushing sessions, even if it is every other day.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.