Why start brushing your cat’s teeth?
Brushing your cat’s teeth will reduce plaque and tartar it will help increase gum health and reduce bad breath.
When to start brushing?
You can start from any age but starting when you first take home your kitten will mean the introduction will be quicker as they will still be learning and susceptible to new things. As your cat gets older it will generally take longer to introduce teeth brushing but it’s still achievable so don’t give up.
If your cat has had a dental procedure check with your vets before starting to brush your cats teeth. This is to ensure their gums have healed fully.
What equipment shall I use?
Use cat products only.
Some cat toothbrush sets have a finger brush in, these are not always safe for you to use as they are thin and your cat may inadvertently bite you.
Only use specific animal toothpaste. Human toothpaste has Fluoride in which could cause toxicity if they swallow it. The foaming agents in human toothpaste can cause gastritis.
Choose the toothpaste flavour you think your cat will like they come in chicken, beef, fish or mint.
Step by step approach:
Take your time and let your cat dictate the speed of progress from step to step. It may take days or weeks to get to the final stage but it’s worth it as it will mean your help can improve your cats dental health and reduce the risk of dental disease.
Offer toothpaste on your finger, if not interested after few times then you can place a small amount on their nose. They will then clean it off and get used to the taste and may then start to lick off your finger.
Spread your hand palm over the top of their head, wrap your second finger and thumb around their cheeks and raise your index finger so not to block or cover their eyes. Place their back towards you so they are less able to move away from you.
Once in position gently lift their head up and slowly lift their upper lip with your thumb and the lower lip with your other hands thumb.
Carefully start to hold your cat regularly throughout the day so they get used to being held in that way over the next few days.
Introduce a cotton bud with toothpaste on starting at the back in circles and moving gently forwards, so they get used to the feeling. NOTE: If they lift their paws to stop you keep going with just the holding step so they get used to it more and then move back onto this step.
Slowly introduce the toothbrush to them whilst holding them place the toothpaste onto the brush to increase acceptance.
Then finally start brushing initially for 10 seconds and increase to 30-45 seconds.
Don’t panic if the gums bleed a little initially as the gums improve in health with the brushing this will stop. If you have any concerns ask your Vet practice for help they will be pleased your taking on brushing your cat's teeth.