If the thought of brushing your cat’s teeth makes you cringe, it’s time to turn to an easier method. Check out these brush-free dental care options!
Many people don’t think twice – or even once! – about their cats’ dental health. Because felines are fairly self-sufficient when it comes to grooming, it’s easy to overlook this important part of their healthcare routine. But the truth is, domestic cats need help keeping their mouths clean and healthy.
So how can you lend your feline friend a hand? Reaching for a toothbrush isn’t ideal, since your cat’s mouth is tiny and her tolerance is probably low (let’s face it – cats don’t like to be bugged). Instead, consider a brush-free approach to her dental health. Let’s take a look at a few options, so you can create a regimen that works for you.
1. Raw food
By far, the most effective dental care tool you can buy for your cat is a healthy diet. Incorporating a more biologically appropriate food into his meals will work wonders for his general health – and for his teeth and gums! If you’re hesitant to change his food, start with a raw meal topper. Small raw bones like poultry necks are also good if your cat is interested. As he chews them, the bones scrape away bits of food that can lead to tartar. Visit felinewellness.com/raw-feeding-your-cat/ for more information on raw feeding.
2. Water additives
Water additives are similar to human mouthwash, except they’re entirely non-toxic and safe for cats to drink. The active ingredients in these solutions work to break down plaque and tartar and eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath. Look for a tasteless and odorless brand to avoid deterring your cat, or find a flavor she loves.
3. Gels and sprays
Dental gels and sprays, like water additives, are a wonderful preventative measure. They help keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy — but, as with water additives, consistency is key. If you’re using this method, be sure to include it as part of your cat’s weekly dental care routine. If you can make time for it every other day, that’s even better! Using these products is simple – just spritz the spray into your cat’s mouth (making sure to aim it at his teeth, not the back of his throat), or gently massage the gel into his gums.
Along with a healthy diet, certain vitamins and minerals can aid in the maintenance of good dental health in cats. Since many dental problems start with an unhealthy gut, look for supplements that promotes proper digestion. These include digestive enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.
If you notice your cat’s teeth appear dirty despite the above methods, it might be time to do some scrubbing! Simply wrap a small piece of gauze around the top of your pointer or pinky finger, and use this “tool” to gently rub her teeth and gums. Add a dental gel for extra cleaning action. If she resists, try dipping the end of your finger in some tuna juice to make the process more appealing. Do your best to reach every tooth – even the ones at the back. If your cat has inflamed gums, this approach can help strengthen the tissue and accelerate healing. Just be sure you’re not causing him any pain.
6. Dental vet visits
Even if you’re already doing all the above, it’s a good idea for your veterinarian to check your cat’s teeth and gums during regular check-ups.
If you’ve neglected your cat’s dental health in the past, now’s the time to make a change. Poor dental health can lead to other more serious health concerns, so feed her a good diet, use one or more of these easy brush-free options, and don’t ignore the importance of annual vet check-ups. Her health depends on it!