Cat dental health is an important factor of your furry friend’s lifetime health, as well as part of being a responsible pet owner. Whether you have a kitten or a senior cat, it is never too soon to start thinking about your cat’s dental health and ways that you can keep them in optimum condition. Additionally, our cats often don’t let us know if they are experiencing any discomfort. So, it is essential to know when we should seek care for our cats. We sat down with Trupanion’s on-site veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, to discuss what you need to know about cat dental health.
Cat dental health: important for your feline friend
The truth about dental disease
Dental disease is something no pet owner wants their pet to go through. While dental disease is common, finding your pet has it can feel uneasy, not really knowing what to expect, or how you can help your cat. “By the age of two, 70% of cats have dental disease,” states on-site Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold. Likewise, dental disease is one of the more common diseases that are seen in cats. Consider a check-up soon after you bring a new cat home, so you can be aware of any issues and can establish a treatment plan for your pet if needed. Or better yet, prevent it from happening in the first place.
Signs of poor cat dental health
It could be hard to know whether your cat actually needs medical care. “Cats are good at hiding pain, so in addition to a dental examination, at least yearly by your veterinarian, watch for subtle signs of dental disease at home, “points out Nold.
Consider common signs of dental disease in cats:
No longer grooming (dull and/or matted coat fur)
Reluctant to eat or drink
Hiding or acting less interested in human interaction
If you suspect dental disease, your veterinarian will look for the following on exam day: plaque, calculus, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and broken or missing teeth.
Keep in mind, a trip to the dentists for your pet is different from your own. According to Nold, “General anesthesia and dental x-rays are often necessary to perform a proper oral examination.” Naturally, your pet might feel uneasy or have anxiety about this, so by being supportive and providing lots of snuggles may help them feel a bit more comfortable. Likewise, it can be a stressful experience for the pet owner. Consider communicating any concerns with your veterinarian prior to the procedure, to give you peace of mind.
How to improve your cat’s dental health
Proper dental care can be achievable for your kitty. For example, pet care items like dental chews and tooth brushing can be used to maintain a proper dental hygiene in your furry friend. “Tooth brushing is most effective if started when a cat is young, in both preventing dental disease and making them more tolerant in the process,” asserts Nold. Essentially, the earlier you can start the tooth brushing process the more likely they will become accustomed to the activity. Granted, it might not be natural for your furry friend, but at least they can become familiar with it, and it will become less stressful over time. In addition, always make sure you are using appropriate tools and a pet-friendly toothpaste.
Cat dental health: optimum health and wellness for your cat
For optimum health and wellness for your feline friend, preventative and wellness care is absolutely necessary. By maintaining appointments with your veterinarian and creating a treatment plan for any concerns – your cat will be set up for success and enjoy family memories to come.