By Kellie McCutcheon
Even though as humans, we might not like going to the dentist, we know it is something we need to do to keep our teeth and gums healthy. The same rules apply to your pets, cats included. Finding out you need dental work isn’t fun, but knowing you could have prevented it is even worse.
What to watch for: Plaque is a tacky, colourless film that builds up on your pets’ teeth and around their gums. If plaque is left on the teeth, plaque hardens and turns into tartar.
The key to dental health is removing the plaque regularly and not letting it turn into tartar.
As more plaque and tartar accumulates on your pets teeth, their gums can become red and swollen, which is widely known as gingivitis. Here are some thoughts and ideas on improving your cat’s oral health and helping avoid plaque, tartar and gingivitis.
A mild odour coming from your cat’s mouth is normal, but if your cat is giving off a strong, offensive odour every time they meow, it’s time to get checked. Bad breath is a great preliminary indicator that something isn’t right in your cat’s mouth.
Never too Young
Getting your cat used to you looking in their mouth and brushing their teeth is key to making this part of pet parenting more enjoyable. The younger you can train your cat to be patient as you brush their teeth, the better. Does your cat hate you brushing their teeth? There are options for you! Products like Teeth Cleaning Gels and water additives involve no brushing and still effectively remove plaque and tartar.
Chew Your Food
Feeding your cat a variety of foods and textures, wet food, dry food, dental treats, or healthy chews is a great way to keep your cat’s teeth strong. The chewing motion helps scrape plaque and tartar off your pet’s teeth.
There are a lot of treats available for your cat that help freshen breath, remove tartar and encourage chewing. We suggest using these treats as part of your daily dental routine as a reward for getting their teeth cleaned. Some dental treats are multi-purpose as well, tackling other common issues such as Hairball Control or Healthy Skin & Fur. Treats, toys, it all sounds fun but gum disease and other oral health issues have been linked to serious illnesses in pets, so you need to take pet dental care seriously. Be sure to ask your vet at your annual checkup to review your pet’s teeth and gums to ensure they are in optimal condition.