What if you gave your own oral care the “brush off” for years on end? Your gums would be red and puffy, your teeth would be a mess (if you still had them), and people would be able to smell your breath from a mile away.
Well, guess what? Our furry feline friends are no different.
Cats need at-home dental care to ensure that their 9 lives are happy, healthy ones.
Don’t let your cat’s suspicious stare fool you. With practice and patience, cat tooth brushing can be an easy and enjoyable experience … for both of you!
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the best way to avoid periodontal disease.
It’s estimated that 85% of cats have this preventable disease of the gums by age 6.
Periodontal disease starts with plaque, the sticky film that forms on your cat’s teeth after every meal. When the plaque isn’t removed, it eventually hardens into tartar.
Tartar is packed with bacteria, which gets under the gum line, causing inflammation, bone loss and damage to the soft tissue. Eventually, it leads to tooth loss.
As you can imagine, periodontal disease is quite painful. But unlike us mere humans, a cat’s instinct is to hide their pain. That makes it important as the owner to be proactive in your cat’s dental care.
1. Prep. Before you start down the path of cat tooth brushing, get your cat used to having your fingers in his mouth. For 2-3 days leading up to your first tooth brushing session, dip your finger into something your cat likes, such as tuna water. Let your cat lick your finger, and as he does, gently rub your finger against the sides of the teeth and gums. This session should be brief and repeated twice a day.
2. Gather your supplies. You’ll need treats and a pet toothpaste. What about the toothbrush? Pet toothbrushes can be too big for a cat’s mouth. Many cat owners find that a piece of clean gauze wrapped around the finger works great. Or, purchase a finger brush that, as the name suggests, slips on right over the finger.
3. Ready to brush? Pick a time of day when your cat is worn out … like after a nice long play session.
4. Let your cat sniff or lick the supplies. That way the texture is not totally unfamiliar when they go into your cat’s mouth.
5. Get in Position. Cradle your cat from behind, cup his chin, and lift up his lips to clean the teeth.
6. Put some toothpaste on the gauze or finger brush. Maintain your position from step 5. With your free hand, brush a few teeth in a circular motion at a 45-degree angle. Your cat can keep his jaws closed. Just focus on cleaning the outer surfaces of the teeth and gums. After 2-3 seconds, stop and release. Reward with a treat.
7. Repeat step 6 twice daily for 1-2 weeks. Gradually up the time you spend brushing during each session and increase the number of teeth you brush. (Remember to get the gum line too!)
8. Once you have the hang of it, try gently opening your cat’s jaws to brush the back teeth. Don't worry if it's too hard to brush the inside of the teeth; periodontal disease is more common on the outside.
9. Always end each brush session with a reward that your cat finds irresistible. It’s important that your cat always associates tooth brushing with good things!
Do Talk to Your Cat
Talk to your cat throughout the tooth brushing process, pouring on the praise. Hearing your voice will help your cat feel reassured and safe.
Don’t Use Your Own Toothpaste
Cats are amazing at acrobatics. But one trick your cat can’t master is spitting out toothpaste. That’s why using human toothpaste on pets is a big no-no. Fluoride can upset a cat’s stomach and foaming agents can cause liver damage if ingested.
When it comes to pet toothpastes, there’s every flavor of the sun. The problem with chicken or liver-flavored toothpaste? It can be a big distraction for your cat. You want your cat to be as still as possible during tooth brushing, not trying to attack the toothbrush.
Oxyfresh Pet Gel is a USA-made, vet-recommended cat toothpaste that’s uniquely unflavored for hassle-free feline tooth brushing. It’s powered by a gentle and effective blend of Oxygene® and Aloe vera to fight plaque and promote gum health … and get rid of kitty’s stinky breath.
Safe and non-toxic with no harsh chemicals, Oxyfresh Pet Gel can be applied to the gauze or finger brush, or rubbed directly on your cat’s gum line. More information...
What’s our secret ingredient for giving cats pawsitively fresh breath?
This is our exclusive ingredient that quickly neutralizes Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSCs). These are the compounds formed by bacteria that can harm the gums and bring on that nasty cat breath. More information...
How it works: When Oxygene® comes in contact with VSCs (odor-causing) molecules, it oxidizes them and converts them into sulfite ions (odor-free).
Oxygene® is non-toxic and completely safe for all members of the family, furry and otherwise. Plus, it’s tasteless and odorless so you can outsmart your cunning cat.
Start a tooth brushing routine now and help your cat live a longer, happier life! You can do it ... and your cat will thank you!
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