Certainly you’ve heard that dogs need to maintain good dental hygiene in order to be in overall good health, but did you know that cats, too, need our help keeping their teeth sparkly and white? Yes, our feline friends are just as susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease, which can later lead to complications with their heart and lungs. In celebration of Pet Dental Hygiene Month, we’ve compiled a list of tips you may follow to keep up that pretty kitty smile!

  • If brushing is a new practice to an adult cat, he may balk at the whole idea. It is highly recommended to start brushing and inspecting teeth and gums in young kittens so that they grow up accustomed to it. But if you haven’t been brushing your older kitty’s teeth, don’t worry! With a little time and patience (and perhaps a little bribery), we’re sure you can warm him up to the idea!
  • Special toothbrushes and toothpaste are available at most pet stores, but you can also make your own toothpaste by following this recipe, and in lieu of a toothbrush you can also try simply wrapping your finger in gauze. Remember, never use human toothpaste on your cat or dog–it contains fluoride and other components that are harmful when ingested.
  • Daily brushing is ideal, but if your cat will only tolerate it occasionally, any is better than none at all!
  • In the wild, cats would keep their teeth clean by chewing raw meat from the bones of their prey. Raw bones still remain the most natural way for cats and dogs to scrape away plaque and tartar. Providing one for your cat (under close supervision, of course!) would be a wonderful treat, but remember that cooked bones, especially chicken and fish, are dangerous because they can splinter. Check our freezers here at Dog Day Afternoon for raw bones that are safe for pets to chew, or check with the butcher at your local grocer.
  • Simply massaging your cat’s gums with your fingertip can help strengthen them!
  • Healthy feline gums should be pink; redness and irritation is caused by inflammation.
  • Bad breath and/or drooling can mean bad news for kitty. If your cat is experiencing either of these things, he may have a rotting tooth, an abscess, or sick, damaged gums, and will need to be seen by a veterinarian.
  • Make sure to have your vet check your kitty’s teeth and gums at every routine vet visit!