Brushing your cats teeth might feel similar to sticking your hand within the mouth of an angry lion, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. We’ve all smelled the fishy scent of cat food when our kitty yawns on our lap, but that smell can also be a symptom of conditions like periodontitis, or kitty dental disease, in a cat. Unfortunately, the very same bacteria responsible for issues of dental disease in felines can also travel through the cat’s entire system to cause kidney, heart, and lung problems.
So, how can you care for your furry feline by brushing his or her teeth at home?
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Preparing to Brush your Cat’s Teeth
You should be able to buy a special cat-sized toothbrush at your veterinary clinic or at a local pet store. These brushes are smaller, softer, and more flexible than the brushes you might get for a dog. You can also use a soft rubber brush that can be worn over your index finger if you prefer. You’ll also need some cat-friendly toothpaste. These toothpastes are flavored with fish or chicken to make them more palatable for your cat. You should never use your own toothpaste with a cat, as it can contain chemicals that are harmful to their digestive systems.
The 5-Step Process
- Once you have everything you need in hand to brush your cat’s teeth, hold him or her in your lap and let them get comfortable.
- Stroke your kitty until they are relaxed, and when they no longer struggle, raise the lip on one side of their mouth and begin brushing the outer part of the tooth, brushing down and away from the gum line to loosen any embedded particles of food and push them out of the mouth.
- Brush up from the gum line at the bottom jaw, and remember that you may need to gently open your cat’s mouth by pinching his or her cheeks between your fingers.
- Work your way around the outside of the teeth on the outside until you have finished brushing the entire mouth.
- Don’t rinse the cat’s mouth with anything, as manufacturers make kitty toothpaste so that it’s safe to be eaten. However, you can give him or her access to their water bowl when you are finished.
Remember, brushing daily is the best way to make sure your kitty’s mouth remains disease-free, but even committing to a brushing schedule of a few times a week will be enough to cut down the buildup of bacteria.
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