August 27, 2010

Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Filed under: cat dental problems,cat teeth and gums — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:29 am

brushing cats teethDental hygiene is important for all animals, including pet cats.  Many cat owners will choose to brush their cat’s teeth on a regular basis in order to maintain proper dental health.  In some cases, your veterinarian may have alerted you to your cat’s dental problems.  Whether your veterinarian has recommended brushing or you smell an unpleasant odor from your cat’s mouth, it may be time to start brushing your cat’s teeth.  By helping your cat to maintain her teeth you are subsequently helping to ensure that she’ll live a long, healthy, and happy life.

It is best to introduce a brushing routine early in your cat’s life.  While kittens are somewhat easier to control, they are also more likely to adjust to brushing the teeth quickly.  Kittens learn life long behaviors which is why it is important to start brushing your cat’s teeth from a young age.  Older cats may feel threatened if you try to brush their teeth causing them to act out in aggressive ways.  Nevertheless, even older cats can learn to accept routine brushing with few problems.

If you’re ready to start brushing your cat’s teeth, first you’ll need a toothbrush that fits easily into your cat’s mouth.  The local pet store will carry a variety of pet toothbrushes or you may be able to use a children’s toothbrush.  In addition, there is specific toothpaste for cats.  You should never, under any circumstances use regular toothpaste for your cat.  The first few times you brush your cat’s teeth, it is advisable to have two people.  One person should gently, but firmly restrain the cat while the other exposes the gums and teeth and brushes the cat’s teeth.  Finally, if your cat’s mouth has a foul odor, or your cat has painful teeth, tartar, or gingivitis, you should have her teeth cleaned professionally first.

July 29, 2010

Caring for your Cat’s Teeth

Filed under: cat dental problems — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:38 am

Just like humans, cats need their teeth in order to maintain proper nutrition.  We spend hours of our life diligently brushing and flossing our teeth so that they always stay healthy, but caring for your cat’s teeth is equally important.  Tartar is a form of hardened plaque that builds up on teeth and causes tooth decay.  Moreover, for cats, the bacterial growth associated with tartar can cause significant health risks as these bacteria can enter the blood stream and lead to organ damage.

Most commonly, as tartar builds up on teeth it damages the gums allowing bacteria to enter the bone and eat away at the periodontal ligament.  Eventually, this can lead to painful abscesses and ultimately the loss of teeth.  For various reasons, caring for your cat’s teeth is an important part of your responsibility as a pet owner.  So what can you do to prevent tooth decay and ensure the health and happiness of your beloved cat?

First of all, there are plenty of products on the market designed to promote healthy teeth and gums in cats.  There are a range of dry cat foods, for example, that are designed specifically to reduce plaque build up and prevent the development of tartar.  The kibble in this food is larger and therefore needs to be chewed before swallowing.  These cat foods also often contain fiber that effectively removes plaque from your cat’s teeth.

Brushing Cats TeethBelieve it or not, you can even brush your cat’s teeth.  Non-foaming pet toothpastes are available at your local pet store as well as a range of chew toys that are designed to clean your cat’s teeth.  Similarly, you can purchase a pet mouthwash or spray that destroys bacteria in your cat’s mouth.  Finally, ensure that your cat has regular dental checkups with your veterinarian who will also conduct a thorough cleaning.

February 22, 2010

Cat Dental Problems

Filed under: cat dental problems,cat teeth and gums,dental problems for cats — Dr. Amber Reed @ 7:54 am

Somewhat surprisingly, many cat owners are unaware that dental diseases are as common (or more) in cats as humans. In order to maintain your cat’s teeth, a regular program of brushing and veterinary teeth cleaning as well as dietary restrictions is necessary. Proper dental care ensures the health of your cat’s teeth and gums and will prevent future dental problems.

Cat owners are usually very vigilant about health problems in their cats. We’re careful to take our beloved cats to the vet if their behavior changes or they exhibit signs of pain and we even take precautions to prevent future illnesses. However, we often overlook dental care and as a result 85 per cent of adult cats suffer from periodontal disease. A careful dental plan will not only save your cat’s teeth but can also be beneficial for other health processes as well. Bacteria from the mouth can spread to other organs through the blood causing infections in the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver (which may result in feline liver disease).

Some of the dental problems that cats often face include periodontal disease, feline stomatitis, and malocclusion. These are all very painful conditions that can interfere with your cat’s ability to lead a happy, healthy life. A cat suffering from dental problems may not eat properly and this can have a domino effect on its overall health.

Surprisingly, pain when eating is one of the last symptoms to appear when your cat has a dental problem. Halitosis, or bad breath, may also indicate dental problems but it can be extremely difficult to diagnoses dental disease yourself. The best treatment here is prevention. Instead of waiting for dental problems to present, take care of your cat’s teeth by brushing regularly. Also, conduct at home examinations of your cat’s teeth and feed your cat a balanced diet. Through vigilance you can protect your cat from the pain associated with dental problems.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.