Oral hygiene is an important aspect of our daily lives, so why should it be any different for our pets? Our furry friends can’t exactly take themselves to the dentist for a bi-annual check up, so it is our responsibility to make sure to cover that base for them. After all, we don’t want our beloved kitty suffering from gum disease! February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and to celebrate and provide awareness, here are a few ways to help keep your cat’s teeth clean:
Brush their teeth. Yes, it sounds strange, but you can actually brush your cat’s teeth. Whatever you do, DO NOT use regular human toothpaste; use toothpaste specifically made for cats. The fluoride in the human paste can make cats very, very sick if they ingest it.
Remember: Treats are not a substitute for cleaning. Tartar control treats exist, but they aren’t sufficient enough to clean your pet’s teeth. Healthy chews are treats, rewards for good behavior that can assist in getting your cat used to having their teeth cleaned.
Get them a yearly dental checkup. Much like how you see the dentist at least 1-2 times a year, your kitty should as well. There’s nothing like a pet professional to make sure your cat is in tip top shape.
Have a cleaning routine. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends getting cats used to the process while they’re young kittens by using a finger cot or gauze, along with cat-friendly toothpaste.
Throw them a bone… literally! Bones are good for cats as they are natural predators and their natural diet consists of hard bones. Be careful – don’t give them fish, chicken or pork bones. They can cause severe internal injuries or splinter them. Also, raw bones are better than cooked because they are not as likely to splinter.