If your cat's teeth aren't in great shape, then you may be wondering whether you should start to clean its teeth yourself. Some people think that this is possible.
However, teaching a cat to let you clean its teeth isn't easy. This is best done when cats are very young and accepting of new experiences.
Older cats may take one look at your fingers and the brush you want to put in their mouths and simply work out which one to bite first. After a couple of goes, your cat is likely to do a runner as soon as they see the toothbrush.
However, if your cat needs some general dental help, you should find ways to help them keep their teeth in better nick. What are your options?
Give Your Cat Tooth-Friendly Food
Cats' teeth can get plaque on them, like human teeth. If this plaque isn't removed, then it can turn into a harder substance called tartar. Eating hard foods removes plaque and makes tartar development less likely.
If your cat's diet is primarily made up of wet or soft foods, then their teeth aren't getting all the benefits they could. Even if you feed them some harder dry foods, this may not be enough to keep their teeth free from plaque and tartar deposits.
You can, however, buy specialist dental food that may be more effective. Typically, you mix this with their regular food. These products are harder to chew and give your cat's teeth more of a workout. This keeps the teeth cleaner.
Dental treats and chews work on the same principle. If your cat spends a happy time chewing on a hard dental treat, they'll clean their teeth more as they break the treat down.
Have Your Cat's Teeth Checked Regularly
Your cat should have regular dental check-ups with your vet. The frequency here depends on the condition of your cat's teeth. Some vets may just want an annual check-up; others may want to see your cat more regularly if it has dental problems.
If your cat has or develops problems with their teeth, like a stubborn tartar build-up, then your vet may want to remove this build-up and give your cat's teeth a deep clean under anaesthetic. This also applies if your cat has decay problems or needs to have teeth removed.
To find out more about how to keep your cat's teeth healthy, ask your vet for advice. They can check your pet's teeth and recommend veterinary dentistry methods to keep them in good condition.