Friday, February 19, 2016

Cat Teeth Matter! A #CatDentalHealth Roundup

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of the day we had to leave my beloved cat Patch at the vet to have several teeth extracted. I still remember my mother crying in the car when she picked me up from school as she told me how he had climbed up her jacket, practically pleading with her not to leave him there. As she explained the surgery he would be undergoing I couldn't help but wonder if my best friend would be coming home.

Thankfully Patch made a full recovery, and as a result I learned the importance of caring for my cat's teeth at a very young age.

February is Dental Health Month, serving as a reminder of how important it is to make your pet’s dental care a priority. If left untreated poor dental hygiene can be associated with more dangerous medical conditions such as kidney, liver, heart complications and diabetes. Unfortunately, most dogs and cats develop periodontal disease by age three showing symptoms such as swollen gums, increased drooling, whining while eating, loss of appetite, weight loss, bleeding, and loose or discolored teeth. Periodontal disease in pets is a chronic, irreversible condition, which is why taking care of your pet's mouth before there's a problem is so important. 

Trupanion sent us some great tips for keeping your pet’s teeth as healthy as possible:

·  Check Monthly: A monthly examination of the mouth can stop dental problems in their tracks. Things to look for include bad breath, cysts or tumors, missing or loose teeth, redness, inflammation and too much moisture or drool.
·    Visit the Veterinarian: Your doctor should examine your pet’s mouth at each visit. Many offices even offer tooth and gum cleanings and mouth care services. Many vets are offering these services at a discount during the month of February so this is a great time to make an appointment!
·    Brush Their Teeth: When looking for the best dog or cat toothpaste, look for pet specific toothpaste since human toothpaste can upset their stomach. As for brushing, you can use a toothbrush or simply wrap some gauze around your finger. Be sure to brush in a circular motion, and do it at least twice a week. Make sure to brush your dog or cat's teeth at the same time every day — a daily routine will make training much easier.
·    Diet: Like humans, a pet’s diet can affect their overall health. There are many dog and cat treats and foods on the market made specifically to help reduce tartar and plaque build-up. Keeping table scraps at a minimum can also help keep your pet’s mouth in good shape.

We've been reading some great blog posts over the past few weeks about various aspects of feline dental health and thought we'd share them so you can read them too!

* Pawesome Cats' blog post The Importance of Good Dental Health for Your Cat is, well, pawesome!

* Cat Wisdom 101 takes readers on a trip to a Veterinary Dental Specialist.

* Our friends Allie, Maxwell and Faraday over at A Tonk's Tail went through a month of pure misery a couple years back following dental cleanings that revealed tooth resorption. You can read all about it in their mom's fabulous article for Catster, Cats Don’t Get Cavities? Get the Facts on Tooth Resorption.

* Let's face it, dental care isn't cheap, for us or our pets! While I doubt anyone would debate that their regular cleanings are worth the cost, many disagree when it comes to their cat or dog. Via JaneA Kelley at Catster, here are 5 Reasons Having Your Cat’s Teeth Cleaned Is Worth the Cost.

* The Conscious Cat advises us of 13 Questions to Ask Before You Schedule Your Cat’s Dental Procedure.

* Ruby and Allegra's mom also has great tips for brushing your cat's teeth.

* The word "stomatitis" would lead you to think it's a form of tummy trouble, right? It's actually inflammation of the mouth, and you can read all about it at Playful Kitty.


At Mudpie's wellness visit in September the vet said her teeth looked great, but at her age we didn't really expect to hear otherwise. Her dental health is definitely something I plan to stay on top of though!

What steps are you taking to care for your cat's pearly whites?


Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

This such an important and yet overlooked topic. Thanks for including a link to our veterinary dental specialist post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post!!

Ingrid King said...

Thank you for including our links!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the useful information, Melissa.

The Florida Furkids said...

Super information! Thanks for sharing.

The Florida Furkids

The Menagerie Mom said...

My furbabies are all still young and, like Mudpie, have so far always gotten clean bills of dental health. But, that may not always be the case, and I know that, although it sounds scary, some of them may need to go under dental cleanings in the future.

My angel Rosie underwent a dental to remove some severe tartar at the age of 19. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck that day. But, she did great! She lived two more years after that, and I'm so glad she didn't have to live those two years with the discomfort of that tartar in her mouth.

Thanks for all of this great dental info, Mupdie and Melissa! Purrs!

wildcatwoods said...

Our vet offers a big discount in Feb for dentals - we got some done last year.

Cats of wildcat woods

Two French Bulldogs said...

That's tight. Very important to have pearly whites
Lily & Edward

The Swiss Cats said...

Very important information ! Thank you for the links. Purrs

Colehaus Cats said...

Our Mom says she would love to brush all of our teefs but we have definite other thoughts on that issue. That said, Miss Newton and Quint have to go in for teef cleaning this year. Ugh.

Fur Everywhere said...

Due to my vision, I can't see inside my cats' mouths, so I make extra sure that the vet always looks at their teeth whenever we visit! Lita is due for a dental cleaning soon. These are really great tips, and I will share them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks so much for sharing them with us!

The Island Cats said...

We won't let the mom brush our teefs, but she makes sure the vet checks them every time we're there.

pilch92 said...

Great post. I need to put more effort into my cats' teeth. They have dental treats but I should try to brush them. I bring a few in a year for dentals- they rotate.


Very well done and such an important posting!

Mariodacat said...

Very good post. After losing my toothies to stomatitis, I usually post once a year too about dental health.

Cathy Keisha said...

Chomping down on the peeps every day keep my teeth in shape. You know I'd read that dental treats aren't the answer since they can splinter in a cat's mouth and get stuck. Love that pic, MP.

Donnell Nash said...

excellent overview, I am so glad to hear a vet recommend pres screening labs before anesthesia and other steps to prevent renal failure. Thank you for this dental health series, it is great!