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Should you clean your cat’s teeth?

Anyone who’s had a sore tooth knows just how painful it can be.  But they hide their discomfort until it’s too late. A sore tooth can prevent your cat from eating, which can lead to other health problems.  So, what can you do to keep your kitty’s teeth clean?

Kibble, treats, and toys

Certain dry foods, treats, and toys are marketed as being helpful to your cat’s dental health.  The jury is still out on whether or not these products work, but anecdotal and manufacturer information seem to suggest that they can help remove plaque build up from your cat’s teeth. 

Cats especially love to crunch on kibble and small biscuit treats. Therefore, they are good for reaching the teeth in the very back of the mouth that aren’t usually used when you feed your cat wet food alone.

Toothbrushes and mouth rinses

You’d be surprised how much cats like getting their teeth brushed. This is because you can buy special toothpaste that is flavored like chicken! You can also buy a special toothbrush that fits over your finger tip.  Once a week, gently brush your cat’s teeth. You can also use this time to check for any sore spots or abnormalities in your cat’s teeth and gums.

Mouth rinses that come in a squirt bottle can be a little easier if your cat is fussy. Your vet may prescribe one if your cat has a sore tooth, but you don’t want to opt for a professional cleaning.

Professional cleanings

During a professional veterinary cleaning, your cat will be placed under anesthesia while they descale his or her teeth with special tools.  Any time your cat needs to be placed under anesthesia, there are inherent risks. Certain known and unknown risk factors, such as heart disease and genetic illnesses, can mean that your cat could pass away from being anesthetized during or after the procedure.  Even if your cat has been anesthetized in the past, they could have developed a new condition since then that would make recovery difficult or even fatal.  

If your cat has very bad teeth to the point where he or she cannot eat, a veterinary cleaning may be your only option.  Your cat may have to get the damaged tooth extracted. As always, talk to your vet about your cat’s specific health profile before any procedure, especially dental cleanings.  Keep in mind that veterinary cleanings and tooth extractions can be very costly. When it comes to keeping your cat’s teeth clean, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth its pound of cure!

Do you have special treats to give your cat?  Be sure to let your pet sitter know! We love to pamper your pet.  Give us a call today!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Image by Martina Misar-Tummelsthammer from Pixabay

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