HOW TO CLEAN CAT TEETH AT HOME
With a little bit of patience, you can learn how to brush and clean your cat’s teeth at home. Not only does this get rid of bad breath, but establishing a home care regimen also prevents future dental problems that can be costly for you and painful for your cat. Remember when starting a new routine or habit, to never force or yell at your cat. It’s important to stay happy and positive because it could take several weeks or months before your cat fully accepts this new behavior.
Ideally, you will always brush your cat’s teeth in the same place and at the same general time of day, such as after dinner or before bed. Work through the steps below until you’re able to make it all the way through. No matter how much or how little progress you make in any given session, always end it with a nice catnip treat and lots of praise. Sometimes your cat just isn’t in the mood, and that’s ok. Never force your cat to do something he or she doesn’t want to do. Only associate positive feelings with tooth brushing, otherwise your cat could become fearful or angry. Even though it takes time, it will be worth it when your cat enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
How to brush cat teeth:
- Choose a time and place. Pick a quiet place without distractions, and wait for your cat to be in a relaxed state.
- Prepare ahead. Put a small amount of cat toothpaste on your cat toothbrush.
- Initiate. Bring your cat over to the designated tooth brushing spot. Gently lay your cat down on either side of his or her body.
- Praise your cat. Use nice voices and give your cat lots of compliments and pettings.
- Present the loaded toothbrush. Let your cat smell and lick the toothpaste and play around with the toothbrush. Continue praising your cat. When your cat gets bored, take the toothbrush away and reward your cat with catnip. Once your cat is used to this routine (usually within a week), you can move on to step 6.
- Try gentle brushing. With your cat in position, gently pull up the side of his lip and move the toothbrush over the teeth in a controlled manner. Pull back if your cat objects and just let him lick the toothpaste on his own. Always end the session with a reward. Keep trying every day.
- Full brushing. When your cat is used to having her teeth brushed and then rewarded, she will become more patient with you. You will be allowed to gradually increase the length of your tooth brushing sessions until you’re able to do a full brushing.
- Be consistent. Consistency is key. Cats respond to routine and will accept things that happen to them on a regular basis as a normal part of life.
How often should you brush your cat’s teeth?
It’s best to brush your cat’s teeth every day or every other day. At the minimum, you should be brushing your cat’s teeth at least one time per week. Once your cat is used to getting her teeth brushed, you should be able to do it within 2-5 minutes. After your cat’s initial tooth brushing training is complete, 2-5 minutes per day is pretty easy to accomplish. I like to brush my cat’s teeth right after I brush my own teeth, when I’m getting ready for bed. They now get excited when I start my bedtime routine, because they know the catnip is coming.