Dental, Pet Care Basics, Vet Minute
How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
November 4, 2020
Brushing cats teeth can seem like a scary job, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep your feline friend healthy. In this Vet Minute, contributing veterinarian, Dr. Amy Hanson, shares tips on how to brush your cat’s teeth, what kind of cat toothbrush and toothpaste to use and she shares some alternatives of how to clean your cat’s teeth if your cat just won’t let you brush.
How to Clean Cat Teeth
When brushing a cat’s teeth, whether you are working with a kitten or with an adult cat, you want to work slowly and consistently. Make cat tooth brushing a positive experience.
- Get the cat use to you feeling around their mouth area. With gentle strokes, feel around the outside of the mouth. Find a yummy cat treat they may like.
- After they are comfortable with you feeling around the outside of the mouth, then actually go in. Use your finger and get in on the surface of the cat’s teeth and rub along that gum line so they get use to that sensation.
- After you’ve done step 2 for about a week you can actually move to using a toothbrush. You want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pet safe toothpaste. Human toothpastes are actually toxic to cats and dogs so you want to make sure you’re using a pet safe toothpaste. Put a little bit of toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- You’re only going to have to brush the outside surfaces of the teeth on your cat. Don’t worry about getting on the inside near the tongue. Use gentle strokes. They will probably chew on the toothbrush a little bit and that’s perfectly fine.
How Often Should I Brush My Cat’s Teeth
Brushing your cat’s teeth is the best, even if you can only do it once or twice a week. Consistent feline dental care will help keep your cat’s teeth in really good shape.
What to Do if Your Cat Won’t Let You Brush His Teeth?
Unfortunately, some cats are not cooperative when it comes to cat teeth brushing. Thankfully there are a lot of alternatives. Dental treats, water additives and sprays are other dental care options to help keep your cat’s teeth healthy and help prevent cat dental problems.
If you have more questions on cat dental care or need help, call a Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.
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Written by: Amy Hanson, DVM
Amy Hanson, DVM
Dr. Amy Hanson is an associate veterinarian at the Cat Clinic of Lawrence in Lawrence, Kansas. She is a 2010 graduate of Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her special interests include felines, acupuncture and dentistry. Her hobbies include showing cats and she is a judge for the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA).