It has become a norm among homeowners to have pets around the house to keep them company and to scare away strangers and unwanted pets. While dogs are popularly regarded as “man’s best pets”, cats on their part, are already fighting to take the position from them. Regardless of this fact, homeowners that choose to have cats in their homes need to maintain good hygienic conditions to keep the health of their pets in good shape. One of the best ways to do this is brushing your cat’s teeth.
You may be wondering about the importance of doing this but it’s important to note that cat’s teeth are also prone to dirt. Hence, brushing it at intervals using recommended approaches would go the extra mile to enhance the oral health of the pet. Now, the problem faced by many pet owners borders on the number of times they should brush their cat’ teeth. If you’re in this state of a quagmire, you may want to read further to discover how often you should brush your cat’s teeth.
The Importance of Oral Health for Your Cat
You may recall your parents’ advice when you were a kid, telling you to brush your teeth at least twice in a day. Although you (and many other kids at that stage) may not fully understand the implication of that step, it is worth mentioning that brushing the teeth helps to enhance oral health. In the same regard, brushing your cat’s teeth with the same process helps it to attain overall stability in the health. Besides, poor dental care can trigger many dental problems that could culminate into tooth loss or swollen gum.
- Preventing Bacteria and Plague
One of the first impacts the brushing has for your cat is reducing occurrences of bacteria and plague. This is important because plague builds up over time, thereby, facilitating the occurrence of bacteria.
- Improved Oral Hygiene
Second, your pet would have good oral hygiene that keeps its teeth strong. This way, your cat wouldn’t have a hard time chewing food or playing with favorite toys.
- Teeth Loss and Discoloration
Third and most important, brushing your cat’s teeth would help in preventing tooth loss and discoloration. Just like humans, regular brushing of your cat’s teeth would prevent the chances of discoloring and help in strengthening the gums.
Before you set about the task, you need to understand that holding down your cat may prove a bit difficult. This is because the pet is good at making escapes when it senses intrusion into its private life. Therefore, you may need to devise a means to keep it down or invite a veterinarian to help you with the brushing.
When should I Brush my Cat’s Teeth?
We’re now getting into the main part, and you may be wondering about the consistency of brushing your cat’s teeth. It’s worth noting that many opinions about this. While some pet owners are of the view that brushing at intervals would be good, others suggest daily brushing as an efficient method. The latter carries the day because your cat’s teeth are susceptible to developing plagues almost on a daily basis. Therefore, daily cleaning is a viable option to maintain good oral hygiene. In addition, you may need to take your pet for professional dental cleaning once a year.
Now that you’ve discovered the recommended interval for brushing your cat’s teeth, you may want to find out the equipment and other important factors that help in improve your pet’s teeth. Read further to discover these!
Tips for Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth
It is now time to get to work! In this section, you would discover the sequential approaches to brushing your cat’s teeth. Ensure that you follow them to the later.
- Get the Right Equipment
The rule of the thumb is to get the right set of equipment strictly recommended for improving the oral hygiene of pets. The notion that human toothpaste and brush would be better for a cat is wrong. You may need to seek the advice of a veterinarian about the best toothbrush and toothpaste for your cat. If you’re not given to using a brush, you may want to go for a pad or sponge that would be comfortable for your pet. Nevertheless, having a rubber toothbrush would aid the brushing faster than expected.
Ideally, the preference of specially-formulated toothbrush and toothpaste for cats is because of the harmful effects posed by that of humans. For instance, human brushes have hard bristles and are bigger. The same applies to human toothpaste because it can upset your cat’s stomach in the course of brushing. Therefore, it is important to go for dedicated brushes and toothpaste formulated for cats.
- Get Your Cat Used to the Toothpaste
It is not advisable to start brushing immediately after getting the equipment. Remember that cats are good escape artists and wouldn’t hesitate to plot an escape when you make an immediate move to brush their teeth. The rule of the thumb is to give your pet a taste of the specially formulated toothpaste.
The idea is to offer your pet a taste of the toothpaste and watch its reaction. Press a little amount of the paste into your finger and place it in your pet’s mouth. If it doesn’t back off but instead licks more of it, then it is an indication that it is comfortable with the toothpaste. However, if it desists from further licks, you may need to change the toothpaste to another flavor. Some of the options you may want to try are poultry and fish-flavored cat kinds of toothpaste because these have consonance to the regular meals consumed by your pet.
Another aspect of getting your cat used to the toothpaste is the possibility of brushing its teeth without hassles. By placing your finger towards it for a few days ahead of the brushing, the pet would get used to having your hands close to its gums and teeth. With this in place, it won’t shy away when the actual brushing commences because the pet is already looking forward to the daily application of paste to its gums.
- Touch the Gums
Ahead of the brushing, it is important that you attempt to touch your cat’s gums while getting it acquainted with the flavored toothpaste. This is important because you would get to see the gums on a close range and determine the pattern to use when brushing. In addition, the pet would get comfortable with such contacts, thereby, making it less difficult to introduce the toothbrush.
- Pet Your Cat
You may think that the next step is to introduce the toothbrush. No! Rather, you need to “earn its trust” or brace yourself for its escape when the brush comes into view. It is ideal to take your time when making your pet comfortable. Avoid forcing it to blend with your moves but make use of reassuring tones to simulate its interest. You may want to situate your pet in a comfortable position while petting it. Avoid crouching over them because this could trigger a red flag in your pet’s mind. Rather, cuddle and sit with it often until it gets used to your presence.
When this has been achieved, you can then proceed to the initial stimulation of brushing by massaging your pet’s gums, lips, and teeth. The rule here is to massage the lips in slow, circular motion on a daily basis with intervals of a minute for each procedure. Afterward, proceed to massage the gums and teeth with the same motion. You may want to apply a pea-sized amount of cat toothpaste to your finger when doing this, as a way of fully simulating your cat ahead of the actual brushing.
- Introduce the Toothbrush
The coast is literally clear and you can proceed to introduce the toothbrush. The first step is to apply a pea-sized amount of the cat toothpaste you plan to use on the brush. After that, proceed to place the brush in your pet’s mouth and allow it to lick the paste from the toothbrush. When it gets accustomed to this, you can then brush your cat’s teeth in slow, circular motions. You can also allow it to smell and play with the brush. You can be sure that the earlier stimuli of getting away would give way to calm.
- Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Now that everything is in place, you can then proceed to brush your pet’s teeth. But before that, it is important to exercise some precautions. There’s still a possibility that your pet may still want to escape. To assure it, you may need to position it in your lap or get someone else to hold it in a wrapped towel while you set to work in the exposed head.
It is ideal to start brushing the large canine teeth in slow, circular motions. After this, you can proceed to scrub the upper and lower teeth along the gum line. Ensure that you brush slowly because doing otherwise might harm the gums of your pet. In the end, allow the cat to drink from its water bowl.
- Reward Your Cat
We all know the thrills that come with winning something after performing a particular task. It is important to note that your cat needs a treat after brushing its teeth. This is a way of encouraging it to be calm when next you intend to brush the teeth. The treat can come in many ways, such as preparing its favorite meal or taking it for a walk. Additionally, you may want to play with your cat to express gratitude for its cooperation. Interestingly, these rewarding acts go the extra mile to help your cat realize that having its teeth cleaned is good for the health.
As funny as it may sound, your cat might not bulge even after implementing the tips above. Such a situation can be frustrating and may leave you wondering about the next step to take. If you’re in this state of a quagmire, there isn’t much to bother about because alternate approaches can help you clean your cat’s teeth.
One of such alternatives is the use of a food and water additive. With special formulations, they help in cleaning your pet’s teeth while eating or drinking. There’s no doubt that this would serve as a better idea when the cat proves adamant to regular brushing. On the other hand, you may need to try cat dental chews. These have been proven efficient in the removal of plagues.
Above all, don’t hesitate to consult your pet’s veterinarian if you’re at a loss on the best ways to clean your cat’s teeth.
- How Often Should I Brush my Cats Teeth?
The answer to this question varies among pet owners. While some suggest once a week or month, others opine that daily brushing is the way to go.
Daily brushing is more effective because you would be able to remove the plagues that build up in your cat’s teeth. When brushing, ensure that you do not go beyond 30 seconds. This is because your pet may get restive. Above all, try to stick to a specific time frame. It could be in the morning or later in the day. The idea is to have a schedule, which would also serve as a reminder to brush your cat’s teeth.
Brush Your Cat’s Teeth Often
Maintaining good oral health for your pet shouldn’t come off as a herculean task. Contrary to popular opinion, brushing your cat’s teeth could be as easy as making a cup of coffee. All there to do is getting the pet relaxed and using the right tools for brushing.
As a rule of thumb, it is important to desist from a traditional (human) toothbrush and toothpaste. Rather, go for dedicated and subtle cat toothpaste and toothbrush. If you want it differently, cat chews and food additives are there to facilitate the mouthwash of your pet.
Finally, daily brushing is important because plagues build up even faster than you can think. With consistent brushing (on a daily basis), it will be easier to remove them and prevent further spreading. Aside from the home-based approach to brushing, ensure that your cat gets a professional mouthwash, at least once in a year. With these in place, you’ll be on the way to having a lively cat with good oral hygiene.