PetCare Veterinary Clinic Rustington

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You and Your Pet

Brushing a Cat’s Teeth

There is no point pretending that cats are as easy to toothbrush as dogs. They are not. So it is even more important to try and get them used to having their mouths examined and their teeth brushed from an early age - ideally start as young kittens.

A special poultry flavoured, safe to use, toothpaste is available from us here at PetCare.

Holding Your Cat's Head

Accustom your cat to having her head held by regularly doing this and rewarding quiet acceptance with praise and a tasty reward - such as a Royal Canin’s Feline Dental Diet.

Place your hand flat on top of her head, but pull your little finger back so that it lies on top of her neck. The front part of your hand should be just behind her eyes, with your thumb down towards the corner of the mouth. Her neck will then lie between your 4th and 5th fingers. You can then gently rotate her head back on the neck (using your little finger as a lever or hinge). As the head comes back the mouth will naturally open a little.

Examining the Teeth

Using your thumb you can lift the lip and examine the teeth. Your fingers can then lift the lip on the other side and examine that side. Finally you can gently press down on the front teeth of the lower jaw with your other hand and examine the inside of the mouth.

The teeth should be free of calculus and the gums should be nice and pink - not red or bleeding.

The tooth paste MUST be a special pet toothpaste.

Human toothpaste is NOT designed to be swallowed and will often cause problems for our pets - remember how much smaller a cat is than a fully grown person!

Brushing the Teeth

There is a small toothbrush available for use in cats, you can buy this from us.

The toothbrush has small rounded bristles which can help clean plaque and early stage calculus from the tooth and most importantly the sub-gingival area.

You can accustom your cat to the toothpaste by putting a little on your finger and gently putting it onto her lips or gums. Most cats quite like the taste and will readily accept this. Then place some toothpaste onto the brush.

Holding your cat's head, as shown above, gently place the toothbrush and paste onto the side of the teeth. Slowly move the brush in a circular movement. Remember not to try and do too much initially. Over a period of weeks you can gradually increase the length of time you spend and the effectiveness of the cleaning.

Do not try to rush things, or you will upset your pet. Toothbrushing will then become a nightmare for all concerned and it will not be achieved. Far better to try and do a little and gradually increase the effectiveness.

Brushing the teeth is the ideal. However for some cats it will prove impossible - even with lots of patience.

For these cats use of a proper diet designed to help keep the teeth clean is imperative – Royal Canin ‘s Feline Dental Diet.

Even with toothbrushing, a professional dental scale and polish will sometimes be required. Check your cat's oral health with our nurses on a regular basis by attending our ‘Fresh Breath Club’. Ask a member of staff for more details.

Start brushing NOW!