Protecting Your Cat's Canines: How To Improve Your Pet's Dental Health

Posted on: 16 January 2017

Are you taking proper care of your pet's teeth? Cats actually frequently need more dental care than dogs, for two reasons. Cats can live very long: a well cared for cat can live two decades or more. This leads to tooth issues over time. Additionally, cats tend to hide their pain; if they are having tooth issues, they won't show it until the problem has gotten severe. Because of these two combined issues, it becomes very important for you to be proactive about your cat's dental care.

Don't Rely Upon Dry Cat Food

Many pet owners are under the false belief that dry cat food can help clean their pet's teeth. Though dry cat food is better than wet cat food—it does massage their gums—it doesn't do a lot to clean off tartar and plaque. Just imagine a human being eating crackers, and you'll understand the dilemma. Though dry cat food and wet cat food can both create a healthy diet for a pet, neither will do much for dental cleaning.

Get the Right Treats and Toys

Dogs often get bones to chew on to clean their teeth. Cats have substantially fewer dental toys available—but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. There are toys that are designed to incite cats to chew on them, such as catnip-filled toys. If your cat is responsive to catnip, you may want to purchase soft cloth toys that have catnip in them. You can also buy treats that are specifically designed with dental enzymes included.

Spend Some Time "Brushing and Flossing"

As a human, you need to brush and floss every day in order to keep your teeth healthy. Cats generally need less dental care, but they can still benefit from a weekly cleaning. There are both oral rinses and toothbrushes available that are specifically designed for cats. Make sure that you get the ones that are pet-friendly: human toothpaste and human mouthwash can be very dangerous for cats.

Get an Annual Dental Check

Finally, an annual dental check is usually necessary to assess any issues that could have occurred. A veterinarian will be able to look inside of your cat's mouth to see if there may be any cavities or if any teeth need to be pulled. When a tooth issue does occur, extraction is usually the most expedient solution. Just as with humans, the better a young cat's teeth are taken care of, the better they will fare when they are older.

The good news is that if you do the above, your cat is very likely to have healthy teeth for a long time to come. Cats don't eat refined sugars the way humans do, so they generally don't experience cavities—and indoor cats aren't hunting, so they won't experience tooth trauma. For the most part, the above regular maintenance should be enough to keep their teeth strong and clean. For additional information and advice, contact a cat dentist.