“Who cleans their cat’s teeth?”
This was one of my first thoughts as I listened to my sister, Karen, describe her cat Dottie’s recent visit to the dentist – er, vet back in September. Little did I know about a week later I would be answering my own question with “I do.”
(I wrote all about Dottie’s dental visit – you can find it by scrolling a few posts back).
Here’s the thing: just as we all know what consequences await if we neglect our own dental care, Periodontal disease in cats is very real and can result in some very debilitating health issues.
As February is Pet Dental Health Month it creates the perfect opportunity to really start – or improve upon – a plan with your own kittos.
Whether you are new to cat dental hygiene or just looking for a better solution, I have some great links that helped me at the end of this post. There are several options, and usually a vet can guide you but once you read through them usually it is easy to tell what will be the best fit for you and your cat.
If you know what approach to take but struggle with making sure it gets done, here are a few suggestions that may help:
- Don’t overthink it. Of course, when it comes to the health of our kittos we all want the best, but just as important is to keep it simple. My vet gave me some gauze and a little dental paste for cats (never use regular toothpaste!). It was the perfect way for me to get started, easy to manage and didn’t freak out the cats.
- Work it into another routine, like feeding or brushing. It will help with consistency and won’t be as weird for your cats. Follow up with a treat or reward and eventually they may even look forward to it!
- Solicit the help of other family members. Honestly, everyone should be comfortable with most responsibilities in taking care of your cat so the care is consistent and not dependent on only one person. Especially when it comes to dental hygiene, simply reviewing the correct procedure with each family member creates a partnership in making sure Charley’s pearly whites are healthy.
- Keep track with a visual reference. A nice sized dry erase calendar in a place it will be noticed is a great way to keep track. It also helps everyone be individually responsible – if some family members are having trouble with ‘dental duty’ because of busy schedules, another can step in – and vice versa.
- Try incorporating dental treats into your cat’s diet. Keep in mind some of these are probably not as ‘tasty’ as the regular treats so you may have to give a few different brands a try, but every little bit helps!
And maybe I should add that posting a pic or two of a cat’s red, swollen gums when it has dental disease (as I did with Dottie) may also provide motivation to stay on track!
Anyway, I wish you success. Here are those links I mentioned earlier. I’d love to hear about what works / doesn’t as I’m sure there is so much more to this story.