Looking after a cat is a real pleasure because although they are pretty independent characters by nature, our feline friends do love a cuddle and there's nothing they like more than a game or two with you too. Over recent years there's been lots of information on how important it is to keep a close eye on the condition of a cat's teeth because dental issues are a real concern in the feline world.
However, it can be quite hard to look at a cat's teeth because not many of them are very fond of having their mouths messed about with. Unless a cat has been taught from a very young age to have their teeth cleaned, this can prove quite challenging for the average owner. If you share your home with an older feline and they are not used to having their teeth brushed, there are other solutions to keeping their teeth cleaner which are listed below.
These days there are lots of very good and safe products to use on cats which includes dental gel. For cats that don't let you brush their teeth, this is a great alternative that helps keep their teeth in better condition. The gel contains the right sort of enzymes and these effectively kill off the nasty germs that cause a lot of dental issues.
The gel needs to be applied to your cats teeth and ideally this has to be done on a daily basis, but it is easier than brushing their teeth! It's very important to read the instructions very carefully before applying the gel and to follow them to the letter.
You can buy good quality dental treats and sticks which are specifically formulated to give to cats. By chewing on these, your feline friend will get rid of any damaging plaque that may be building up on their teeth. You should never buy cheaper dental treats for your cat because they may contain ingredients which are not good for them. You should buy brand names because you know the ingredients are okay for cats to eat.
Dental wipes for cats are useful because although you have to wrap the wipes around a finger and then pass this over your pet's teeth, it is easier than trying to brush them. The best time to do this is in the evening when you and your cat are nicely relaxed and having a cuddle on the sofa! It may take a little time for your cat to get used to the routine, but once they are and accept the extra attention, they will accept it as part of their daily schedule.
Again, you have to invest in good quality chewy toys that have been specifically designed for our feline friends to chew on. Not only will they be a lot safer, but they would last that much longer than cheaper ones.
A lot of chewy cat toys are filled with things that most cats love, namely catnip which encourages your pet to nibble and chew on them. They are also great fun toys for cats to play with so they serve a dual purpose which is to keep your cat entertained while taking care of their teeth too!
There are some very effective additives you can put in your cat's water bowl that help keep their teeth in better condition. They work in much the same way as dental gel, but with the added bonus of not having to apply any gel to your pet's teeth.
The problem is that cats are pretty secretive when it comes to their drinking habits, which is especially true of cats that explore the great outdoors. As such, the additive does not work quite as well as the gel. Another problem being that if your cat doesn't like the new “smell” of their water, they might refuse to drink it which could result in them suffering from dehydration which is something to be avoided at all costs!
Pet food manufacturers now understand the importance dental hygiene in dogs, cats and other animals. As such many now produce cat food that specifically targets plaque and tartar build up. Dry cat food is great for keeping tartar under control, but this alone will not prevent it from forming altogether.
Some vets and animal nutritionists recommend feeding cats a raw food diet instead of dry food as a way to keep the tartar build up down. However, it's always worth discussing any change in your cat's diet with your vet first and if they recommend you feed a raw diet, the change over should always be done very gradually to avoid your pet suffering any sort of tummy upset which can happen if their diet is changed too quickly.
Cats need to have their teeth checked on a regular basis to avoid any serious dental issues from going unnoticed. This includes catching dental tumours early which many cats do suffer from as they get older and which often prove fatal. The earlier you teach a cat to have their teeth cleaned, the easier it will be to do without your cat getting stressed out or you being injured. However, if you find it is just too hard to do, the alternatives listed above offer some effective options that help keep a cat's teeth cleaner. You should still take your cat to the vet for regular dental check-ups so if a problem is developing it can be caught and dealt with early.
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