Dental Care for Cats
Keeping your cat’s teeth and gums in good condition makes for a happier, healthier pet.
Every year, when I get a new daybook, I diarize February as pet dental month to ensure I remember to book dental appointments for my fur kids Fudge and Ziggy, and take full advantage of the discounts offered by my veterinarian for a professional dental cleaning. And, when I book professional cleanings, I am not shy about asking for an additional discount for multiple pets; and I have never been refused.
While good dental hygiene has always been important for both cats and dogs, it is finally—and thankfully—getting more attention as the benefits that go way beyond fighting tuna breath become more widely known.
Proper cat dental care prevents plaque and tartar build-up in the same way it does for humans. It also helps prevent cats from developing FORLS—feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, where cavities and decay begin inside the tooth and work outwards; it can be very painful. Cats are such stoic creatures that they often don’t exhibit signs of pain and continue eating—and behaving—as if everything was fine.
Dental issue indicators to look for in your cat include noticeable bad breath, dropping food or chewing only on one side of the mouth, facial swellings or draining wounds, bleeding or discharge from the mouth or nose, sneezing, pawing at the mouth, tooth grinding or discolored teeth.
Another good reason (as if you needed one) to take good care of your cat’s teeth is to prevent mouth bacteria from being ingested, which could lead to serious internal medical issues.
It goes without saying that it’s difficult to brush cats’ teeth; most are simply not cooperative. Fudge and Ziggy are typical of most felines; they squirm and make it nearly impossible to complete the task. Fortunately, I recently learned about water additives that promote good dental hygiene. You can add the additives to water fountains as long as you remove the charcoal filters first. Giving your cats kibble or crunchy dental treats also helps to keep the teeth clean.
I am happy to report that for the past two years, despite booking appointments, Fudge and Ziggy have not had to have their teeth cleaned because their mouths were pronounced to be in excellent condition. I am hoping for a repeat performance again this year.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy and Catster, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats