Dental, Pet Care Basics, Vet Minute
How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
August 11, 2022
Vet Minute: How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Last updated: Nov 04, 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. If you have more questions on cat dental care or need help, call a Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.
About Dr. Hanson: 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).
Dr. Hanson: Hi, I’m Dr. Amy Hanson and I along with my friend Willow here are going to show you how to go about brushing your cat’s teeth at home. And the main thing to remember whether you are starting with a kitten or with an adult cat is that you want to work slowly and consistently and that you want to make it a positive experience. So the first thing you should do when you’re starting out getting ready to brush your cat’s teeth is to just get them use to you feeling around their mouth area. Just with gentle strokes and kind of feel around and again make it a really positive experience. Find a yummy treat they may like. And after you’ve done that for a little while and they are very comfortable with that, then actually go in, just using your finger and getting in on the surface of the teeth and rubbing along that gum line so they get use to that sensation. And after you’ve done this for about a week you can actually move to using a toothbrush. You want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can get specialized ones. There are many of them out there on the market, but just a child’s soft toothbrush will work as well. We also have these little finger brushes, it fits over your finger and it has soft little nubs on it. Those work well for cats as well. The main thing you want to be sure is you are using a pet safe toothpaste. Human toothpastes are actually toxic to dogs and cats so you want to make sure you’re using a pet safe toothpaste and they come in a variety of flavors, this one happens to be poultry so cats hopefully would like it. And so you’re just going to put a little bit of toothpaste on that toothbrush and you’re only going to have to work these outside teeth, the outside surfaces of the teeth on your cat. You don’t have to worry about getting on the inside near the tongue. But you just use gentle strokes, and they will probably chew on the toothbrush a little bit but that’s perfectly fine. And just brush in there and get it good. And I know some cats are not a cooperative as Willow is so there are a lot of alternatives. There are dental treats available as well as water additives and sprays and all sorts of different things you can use to help keep your cats teeth healthy. But brushing is really the best, even if you can only do it maybe once or twice a week. Doing it consistently will help keep your cat’s teeth in really good shape.