Brush Up on Your Feline Dental Basics and Save 15% on Cleanings at Nob Hill Cat Clinic during the Month of September!
Addressing a cat’s oral hygiene and health contributes to their overall wellness. There are many ways to do so, but one of the most important is scheduling dental cleanings and procedures when advised to do so by your veterinarian. Make sure to take advantage of our dental special this coming month and save 15% on your cat’s anesthetic dental cleaning!
You may wonder how your veterinarian determines your pet is in need of a dental procedure and what you can do at home to promote your feline friend’s dental health on a daily basis. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we hear from cat parents at Nob Hill Cat Clinic.
What can I do to address my cat’s oral hygiene at home?
There are several ways to help your cat maintain a healthy smile. One of the most effective is tooth brushing. The idea of brushing your cat’s teeth may seem intimidating, but most cats can adapt to regular tooth brushing if it is introduced in a slow and gentle manner. Regular brushing can help extend the time between professional cleanings and reduce buildup of bacteria in your cat’s mouth.
First, ensure that you are using cat-appropriate toothpaste and brushes. You can purchase feline tooth brushing kits at Nob Hill Cat Clinic, online, or at many local pet stores. Choosing a small brush and enzymatic, feline toothpaste is important for your pet’s oral health and safety.
Try introducing the toothpaste in a non-invasive or intimidating manner. Most are flavored, and your pet may actually enjoy the taste. Place a very small amount of the toothpaste on your cat’s teeth or gums or allow them to lick it off of your finger. Start by touching your pet’s mouth, gums, and teeth more frequently. Reward tolerance with treats or high praise.
When your cat is more comfortable with the taste of the toothpaste and having their mouth handled, you can try introducing their toothbrush. Some cat parent’s prefer a finger toothbrush, one that fits over an index finger and allows more precise access to their cat’s teeth. Others may prefer a long, small brush; this variety can provide distance between your hand and your cat’s teeth if they enjoy chewing on the brush or are more sensitive to having their teeth touched.
Start with short, gentle brushing sessions followed by treats or other positive reinforcement. As your cat becomes more comfortable, steadily increase how thorough your brushing sessions are. Make sure to brush canines and back molars, as these teeth often fall prey to bacteria and tartar buildup. Ideally, you should brush your cat’s teeth once a day, but three times a week is often more realistic. Tooth brushing is only effective if done thoroughly and regularly. Do your best not to force brushing sessions. This may make your cat less compliant to sessions in the future.
There are several dental treats that can help break down bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Enzymatic treats can attack bacteria and help scrape light buildup off of their teeth. However, treats are often ineffective at treating progressed dental disease and are not nearly as helpful as an anesthetic dental cleaning or regular teeth brushing.
When is it time for an anesthetic dental cleaning?
Your veterinarian will let you know if they deem an anesthetic dental cleaning necessary for your cat. Some of the most common reasons your veterinarian may recommend a cleaning are: progressed dental disease, stomatitis, tooth resorption, the need for tooth extraction, and excessive tartar, calculus, or gingivitis. At a certain point, your cat’s dental disease will most likely require an anesthetic dental cleaning and x-rays. About 90% of cats develop a dental issue requiring professional care during their lifetime, and this is not a reflection on their owner. Cats often simply develop health problems requiring veterinary intervention, and this includes dental disease.
What oral symptoms should I look out for at home?
The best way to keep an eye on your cat’s dental health at home is to develop a regular oral care routine. This will help you notice and address changes to your cat’s gums or teeth and determine whether a visit to Nob Hill Cat Clinic is necessary outside of regular checkups. Foul breath, persistent drooling, difficulty eating, or apparent pain around the mouth or jaw could be signs that your cat’s teeth may need to be assessed by a veterinarian.
If you can, attempt to observe any small changes to your cat’s teeth or gums as well. Does your cat have redness or bleeding around the gums? Does she appear to have tartar or calculus buildup? Do you notice any small, red lesions or holes in your pet’s teeth? Dental disease can progress quickly. Regular checkups, at-home oral care, and monitoring your cat’s mouth can help our veterinary team at Nob Hill Cat Clinic keep your cat’s mouth in tip-top shape.
My veterinarian said my cat needs a dental cleaning or procedure. Is there anything I can do at home instead?
Unfortunately, feline dental disease often progresses past the point of being addressed at home. Regular brushing can help prevent bacteria buildup, but most cats still require professional dental care. If our veterinarians are recommending a dental, it is likely because your pet’s teeth have reached this point. He or she may suspect necessary extractions. An anesthetic dental cleaning also allows your veterinarian a closer look at your cat’s dental health through x-rays.
Make sure to take advantage of our regular dental specials! Nob Hill Cat Clinic is offering 15% anesthetic dental cleanings during the month of September this Fall!
Dental disease can be painful and affect your cat’s overall health and well-being. Scheduling an anesthetic dental cleaning or procedure when recommended by a veterinarian is an important part of their regular care.