When your cat’s breath is getting a little funky, you might think about brushing their teeth for them, and wonder if ordinary toothpaste is something they can have.
You might not think that a cat needs to have its teeth cleaned, because they’re pretty much a self-regulating animal. After all, they clean themselves and use a litter box, so it’s easy to think that their teeth stay clean naturally as well. But this is one area they could use a little help in, even if they try to resist your help, the same way they resist being given a bath.
There are actually specially formulated toothpastes for cats, which you can get from your local pet store. These are made with ingredients that will help clean your cat’s mouth, prevent tartar build up, and keep things fresh, but don’t contain the substances that are in human toothpaste that can be harmful to your cat.
Can I Give My Cat Toothpaste? Answer: Special Cat Toothpaste Only
The reason you can’t give a cat the same toothpaste that we use, is because cat’s don’t know to spit it out when you’re finished, so it’s basically going to be swallowed. Toothpaste isn’t meant to be swallowed, which is why cat toothpaste is formulated to that they can swallow it without getting a stomachache or having it cause vomiting or diarrhea.
Human Toothpaste and Cats
We know the drill when it comes to brushing our teeth, so it’s no big deal to spit it out and rinse our mouths out when we’re finished. But when you brush a cat’s teeth, they don’t know what the heck is going on and the first few times will struggle and try to fight you until they realize that you’re not trying to hurt them, and that the ordeal will be over quickly. But try as you might, they won’t learn to spit out the toothpaste, and of course they don’t know how to rinse their mouth and spit again, so that’s why you’ve got to go get cat toothpaste for this task.
Cat Breath and Oral Care
Cat’s are notorious for having “cat breath” which usually smells like cat food, but can be pretty potent, especially if they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, like a bird or lizard from outside, and it’s now being digested. At times like these you might feel like doing whatever you can to get their breath back to normal, especially if they’re affectionate and like to put their face by your face.
There are special cat treats that you can get that will help keep their breath, as well as ones that are designed to scrape the crud off their teeth. You should still brush their teeth regularly, and your vet will be able to educate you on how often that is, because it varies by breed. If you want them to have healthy teeth and gums for as long as they’re yours, you should schedule a visit as recommended and be sure not to skip any appointments.
How to Brush Your Cats Teeth
You must be very careful, as well as very calm, or your cat will know something is up and will be extra tense. They won’t like the idea of something going in their mouth against their will, but luckily you don’t have to go too far. Start by getting the outer parts of the teeth, because they don’t even need to open their mouth for that part. Then as they soften to the idea, you can try to get the tops and inside of their teeth. You don’t have to use a lot of pressure, just let the brush and the toothpaste do the work.
When to See Your Vet
If you have noticed that your cat’s breath and oral health has been declining, it might be a good time to bring them in for a visit to the vet. If their teeth are looking extra unhealthy, it could be a sign of other problems with your cat, and your vet can analyze the situation when you bring them in. It could just mean that they’re due for a dental cleaning, and your vet can handle it from there.