Cats are not always fans of having any kind of grooming done to them. Even brushing of the coat can be a lot for some cats to tolerate. The thought of brushing a cat’s teeth can seem very overwhelming to some owners.
Even though handling your cat’s mouth and brushing its teeth might seem scary, it is essential to do this for your cat. Cat teeth can be prone to plaque, and other kinds of build-up and tartar formation can lead to unhealthy gums and bad breath. If your cat shows signs of tooth decay or has stopped eating, you might need to start brushing its teeth. Many other health conditions can stem from broken, loose, or tartar-covered teeth.
If you are ready to learn more about why you need to brush your cat’s teeth in Zion, IL, you need to read on.
Signs That Your Cat’s Teeth Need to Be Brushed
Brushing your cat’s teeth is always a good idea to prevent issues that can lead to lost teeth or infections and discomfort. That being said, some cats make it tough to do this each day. These are the signs that you need to brush your cat’s teeth even if they don’t like it.
- Bad breath
- Poor appetite
- Red gums
- Tartar on the teeth
- Loose teeth
It is always good to react to these symptoms before your cat starts to feel sick. Tooth and gum infections can lead to more severe heart or systemic problems. These problems are why you will need to pay attention to these kinds of symptoms and see them as early signs of potential issues.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Brush Your Cat’s Teeth?
Brushing your cat’s teeth is just as crucial to their dental health as brushing human teeth. Consider your cat’s dental health to be just as important as yours. Once your cat is used to this daily routine, they will allow you to take care of them in this way with ease.
Plaque and Tartar
If you do not take care of your cat’s teeth, they can end up with thick layers of plaque and tartar on their teeth. This can lead to gum infections, pain, and inability to eat. Tartar is often the main reason for infections in the mouth, and these infections can be a significant factor in much more severe health conditions.
Infections are often the most significant risk associated with poor dental health in cats. Many cats with dental problems are at risk for heart problems, infections, and systemic infections. The health of your cat’s mouth is linked directly to their overall ability to maintain their immune protection as well. Immunocompromised cats can be prone to all kinds of issues stemming from the underlying tooth issue they are dealing with.
Loose or Lost Teeth
Loose or lost teeth can also be linked to poor dental upkeep in cats. Cats with damaged teeth might struggle to eat and lose a lot of weight. Cats that drop food or act like they cannot chew kibble might have loose teeth that hinder their ability to eat. Even worse, cats with painful mouths might not drink enough water.
Cats that do not drink enough water can get early-onset kidney disease or suffer from issues with regulating their temperature and bodily functions. Water intake is a big part of your cat’s overall health, and sore teeth or dental disease can lead to them choosing not to drink enough water as well as turning away from food.
How Can I Teach My Cat to Allow Their Teeth to be Brushed?
We all know that cats can be a little prickly about their mouths being handled, and many cats also resist anything that isn’t simple petting. You might be worried that you will not be able to brush your cat’s teeth at all. Some cats simply will not allow you to brush their teeth, but this is a rare problem. Most cats learn to enjoy having their teeth brushed if you take the time to teach them about the process.
Start When They are Young
The best way to teach your cat to let you brush their teeth is to start brushing them when your cat is a kitten. If your cat is older than this, you will have to progress slowly to teach them to be okay with having their mouths handled. Even if you can only put the small toothbrush in their mouth for a few seconds a day at first, this is progress.
Reward Your Cat
Make sure that you reward your cat with treats and love and praise when they let you handle their mouth. Starting out with positive reinforcement can make a huge difference in your cat’s reaction toward the tooth brushing experience. Many cats will get used to this as part of their routine over time if you are patient and teach them that tooth brushing will not hurt them.
Wrap Your Cat in a Towel
Consider having someone help you with this task at first. Wrapping your cat in a towel can ensure no one gets scratched and your cat does not fight with you as you teach them about the tooth brushing process. When your cat cannot get scared and struggle, they will be less likely to dislike having their teeth brushed.
Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth is Important
If you want your cat’s teeth to be healthy for their entire life and you want to make sure that they are eating and drinking correctly, you need to brush their teeth. Always make sure that you get the right toothpaste and toothbrush for your cat, and this will help make the process much easier for you both.
Teaching your cat about toothbrushing early in their life makes it much more likely that they will allow you to care for them. If you have an older cat who has never brushed their teeth, be patient as you teach them. Caring for your cat’s teeth is an integral part of their overall health, and you should not skip this critical part of caring for your pet’s health.
Talk with your Gray Animal Hospital veterinarian about brushing your cat’s teeth by calling (224) 304-0668 or book an appointment online!