Preventative Steps to Improve Your Cat’s Dental Health
While it might not seem like the most important facet of your feline friend’s health, it’s good to be aware of your pet’s dental hygiene and what you can do to improve it. Although brushing your cat’s teeth might seem daunting, it’s a preventative step in improving your cat’s overall health in the long term. Here are a few tips to improve your cat’s dental health and make it a regular, enjoyable experience for you and your furry friend.
It’s important to be taking preventative measures for your cat’s oral health, especially for indoor cats. Typically, cats can keep their teeth clean by chewing on bones or plants if they’re in the wild. But for indoor cats that don’t have natural remedies, disease can take root more easily. Working to improve your pet’s dental health won’t only decrease their chances of developing periodontal diseases such as gingivitis, but it will also stop those diseases from affecting other parts of their body, including their vital organs. Since our furry friends can’t tell us when they’re in pain, it’s good to prioritize and understand dental health in your pets.
How Can Dental Disease Affect My Cat’s Overall Health?
Over 700 species of bacteria have been implicated in human periodontal disease, but much less is known about the composition of feline and canine plaque. Even so, veterinarians commonly encounter dental diseases in dogs and cats, such as gingivitis. If gingivitis and other bacterias go untreated, it can turn into unremovable tartar which can lead to pain for your cat and potential teeth removal. In extreme cases, untreated bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause damage to the kidneys or other vital organs.
How Do I Know if My Cat’s Mouth Is in Healthy Condition?
It’s important to routinely check your pet’s mouth for abnormalities. At first, diseases like gingivitis are easy to spot on your pet through redness and swelling in their gums, along with plaque and black-pigmented bacterias that are oftentimes more prominent in a diseased area. But it’s also important to note other signs of disease, such as sores, ulcers, lacerations, bleeding or persistent bad breath. A healthy mouth is pink with no blemishes and unchipped, white teeth. If your pet becomes distressed during an at- home oral examination, veterinarian offices will also perform oral examinations.
How Can I Keep My Cat’s Mouth Clean and Healthy?
First and foremost, do not use human toothpaste on your cat — the fluoride level in human toothpaste can make your cat incredibly ill. Head to your local pet supplies store or vet office to pick up a teeth cleaning kit, and try to brush your cat’s teeth about twice per week. In addition to brushing, a wide variety of preventative dental products are on the market, which includes specially formulated diets, chew treats or edibles, water additives and mouth sprays. If your pet doesn’t prefer any of those options, you can always schedule professional teeth cleaning appointments with your vet to remove build-up and tartar every 1–2 years.
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