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How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Gum Diseas in CatsDoes your cat have fish breath? If you cat’s breath is not as fresh as it could be it can be a sign of periodontitis, dental disease, or tooth rot. The smell is caused by bacteria in their mouth. This bacteria can also travel from their mouth throughout their whole body leading to lung, heart or kidney problems.

How to keep your cat’s teeth clean?

  1. Get regular annual dental checkups.  If your vet finds a problem, they will either take care of it during the appointment or schedule an appointment to address any larger issues, like extraction.
  2. Brush their teeth. Just like in people, brushing your cat’s teeth with greatly increase their dental health,
  3. Give them hard food. Hard food helps clean the plaque and tartar off your cat’s teeth which promotes dental health. Make sure to speak to your Albuquerque veterinarian at Vetco on Menaul to discuss the best food options for good dental health.


How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

First, you will need a cat-sized toothbrush. You can pick one up at a pet supply store or at your Albuquerque veterinary clinic.  These toothbrushes are usually smaller and more flexible than dog toothbrushes. You can also get a rubber brush that fits over your finger like a finger cot.

Second, you need to buy cat toothpaste. Unlike your mint flavor, they like fish or chicken flavor. Never use human toothpaste on your pet, it can contain chemicals and additives that may be harmful for your pet.

How to Brush (step-by-step)

  1. Put your cat in your lap and let her get comfortable.
  2. Raise her lip on one side of her mouth and brush the outer portion of her teeth.
  3. Brush away from the gumline. This way if you loosen any debris you are pushing it out of their mouth instead of into their gums.
  4. Most cats will open their mouth once they taste the toothpaste. In case they don’t, you can gently pinch her cheeks between your fingers to open her mouth.
  5. Continue doing this until you have brushed all her teeth.
  6. You don’t need to rinse her mouth, but you should give her access to a water bowl when you are done.

How often should I brush?

Ideally, you should brush 2 times a week. This will help cut down on the build-up of bacteria and keep your cat healthy.  If you have a new kitten, try brushing more often just to get her use to it.

What if my cat fights me?

If your cat resists, you can wrap them in a towel like a burrito. If it is an older cat, you may not want to do that as they can be more fragile and you don’t want to over-stress her. You can also do small sections at a time. Do a few teeth, like 2 or 3, then come and do 2 or 3 more the next day.

If your cat still refuses to allow you to brush her teeth, you can bring her to your veterinarian for help and they can show you the best way to do it.