Why and How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth and How to Save Money on Cat Toothpaste
A cat’s health relies on its owner’s care. Good care includes nutritious food, clean water, plenty of love, regular vet visits, and grooming. Some pet parents may not know it but grooming includes brushing their cat’s teeth. It is important to know the basics of providing this care safely and using the right brush and the right cat toothpaste.
Is toothpaste safe for cats?
Yes, toothpaste is safe for cats after the age of 6 months for their safety. Just making sure you’re specifically using cat toothpastes.
Human toothpaste is not considered to be safe for cats for a number of reasons.
- Human toothpaste can cause an upset stomach if swallowed.
- Most cats do not like the taste or smell of mint.
- Human toothpaste may be too rough for cat teeth and gums.
Why is brushing your cat’s teeth important?
A cat’s dental health is an important part of his overall health. Tooth loss and other signs of dental disease can often indicate more serious health problems or can cause them to happen.
If a cat has loose teeth or other dental problems he may stop eating properly until the pain is resolved.
Other signs of problems with your cat’s oral health:
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
- Periodontal disease
- Refusing to eat more than small amounts of wet food
- Broken, discolored or missing teeth
- Obvious tartar buildup
While you do want to take this important step for caring for your furry friend, you want to be sure that you are using the safest option for him while also protecting yourself as well. Remember, a cat has very sharp teeth and may resist all of your attempts at caring for his teeth and gums. Your groomer or vet may have tips for teeth brushing.
Is it too late to start brushing my cat’s teeth?
It is never too late to start a good cat teeth cleaning routine for your cat even if he is an older cat or a new rescue with a limited history. The best time to get started though is when your cat is very young so that he is used to the process and accepts it as part of his daily routine. Ask your vet to show you a good way to do this so that it is not stressful for the cat.
- You may find it easier to do the daily brushing when your cat is at his most relaxed such as after a meal
- Know the limits of your cat and back off when he starts getting agitated
- Only use your fingers in a cat’s mouth when you know he is not likely to try to bite you.
Exercise caution – cats’ teeth are sharp! And again, you can always consult your vet or groomer for advice on how to care for your cat’s teeth.
What toothpaste is best for cats?
Between the professional cleanings, you should be using an approved cat toothpaste applied with a cat toothbrush with soft bristles, a finger toothbrush, or sterile gauze. Do not use human toothpaste to clean your cat’s teeth.
The best toothpaste will be one that does the job of teeth cleaning and keeping the gums healthy while also keeping your cat happy. A good suggestion is this dental care kit from Petco. The kit comes with a cat toothbrush plus cat toothpaste with chicken flavor.
Other brands of cat toothpaste that you might like include:
- Zymox Oratene Oral Gel Safe for both cats and dogs. Enzymatic, brushless oral care in a 1-ounce tube. Currently $10.99. Get 35% off your first repeat order and 2% cash back rebates on your Petco purchase.
- Pet Dent Dental Kit for Cats and Dogs Brush, oral rinse, and toothpaste kit. Available in a single pack for $27.54 or as a two-pack for $43.11 Plus you can get 3% cash back on your purchase at Pet Care Supplies through Swagbucks and a free $10 gift card with your purchase of $25+.
- Tropiclean Cat Oral Care Gel for Cats is only $9.99 for a 2-ounce tube at PetSupermarket. Save 30% on your first auto-ship order and then 5% on future orders. Plus get 4% cash back rebates from Swagbucks, and get a free $10 gift card with your first purchase of $25+.
What can I brush my cat’s teeth with?
You buy a specific toothbrush for your cat’s teeth, or use a gentle human tooth brush that is designed for babies. As long as the head of the brush is small enough to fit comfortably into your cat’s mouth and the bristles are soft, it should be fine.
A finger toothbrush may be a good option. A finger toothbrush is a small silicone or soft rubber cap that has very soft bristles on it. As the name suggests you wear it on your finger and then use it to gently rub food debris from the cat’s teeth. The advantage of the finger brush is that you can brush more gently while also checking for signs of gum inflammation and periodontal disease at the same time.
- Do not apply a lot of toothpaste. Only use the correct amount. Cat toothpastes having dosing information on the tube.
- Be sure to remain calm and relaxed so that your cat stays relaxed as well. Tense pet parents make for tense kitties.
- Start and end your daily brushing routine with lots of praise and cuddles so that your cat associates it with something good.
Can I use a human toothbrush on my cat?
Depending on the size of the tooth brush, you can sometimes use a human toothbrush for cats’ teeth.
An adult brush may be too large and too firm for a cat’s smaller mouth and delicate gums. A baby or toddler brush may be okay for a larger cat.
For a younger kitten or for a senior cat, finger toothbrushes or dental wipes are a better option. Wipes may be the perfect solution for some cats.
- They are faster and easier, cutting the regular brushing time in half.
- May give you more control over which teeth are getting cleaned
- May help your cat have a healthy mouth without needing to be restrained.
Look for a brand that addresses oral health as well as giving your cat fresher breath. Other pet dental products include:
- Dental sprays
- Dental treats
- Special cat food that removes and/or prevents plaque buildup
How can I clean my cat’s teeth naturally?
If you just cannot manage to get your cat to sit still for brushing, you can still maintain good dental health between recommended cleaning times. Always follow the recommendations of your vet and use only products that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
- Dental cat treats as part of the regular diet can help.
- Ask for and then follow a good dental diet specific to your cat’s needs.
- Use a sterile cloth dipped in tuna juice.
- Use an enzyme that is added to your cat’s water.
- Use chew toys especially those that are designed to loosen tartar.
Do greenies really help cat’s teeth?
Anything that encourages your cat to chew can help him have healthier teeth and gums. Chewing will loosen debris from the surface of the teeth. The greenies chews for cats are designed to help remove plaque and tartar but are not a substitute for regular vet exams and dental care. Greenies come in a variety of flavors and sizes including Greenies Cat Nip Flavor and Greenies Savory Salmon Flavor. You can purchase either of these flavors at PetSupermarket.com and earn cash rebates.
Can cats get sick from greenies?
Some cats have stomach or other digestive issues that can make it harder for them to be introduced to new things. Sometimes the cat may be allergic to certain foods or treats and this can make him more sensitive to the ingredients in the greenies.
Why do I need to clean my cat’s teeth?
You should clean your cat’s teeth for the same reasons that you clean your own teeth. Poor oral health can lead to additional health problems including malnutrition, liver, kidney, or heart disease, and even death. A sore mouth is no fun for anyone, including a cat, and most pet owners only want the very best for their fluffy friend.
Your cat’s teeth can become loose, broken, or fall out if not properly cared for. Just like with humans, preventative care is far less stressful and less expensive than the alternative.
What is the cost of a cat’s tooth extraction?
According to Veterinary Practice News, the cost of having your cat’s tooth extracted can be as high as $1300, not counting the follow-up visits and care. There may be the additional costs of antibiotics and pain medications, boarding if the cat is in poor health and products that will be added to the daily care routine. Every vet has different rates and the actual cost will depend on a large number of factors.
How often should a cat’s teeth be professionally cleaned?
For a cat in average to good health, most vets will say every year or every other year until they are over the age of 3. After that, it becomes even more important as the majority of cats in the 3 and older age group have some form of dental issues. Once the dental disease begins, the need for professional cleaning and exams may increase to help improve the problem and save the cat’s teeth.
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