A critical part of a dental care program for cats is routine at-home examination of his teeth and gums. Here are tips for making it easy on both of you.
Time Required: 1-2 minutes 2-3 times monthly
- Smell your cat's breath. An unpleasant odor can indicate infection of the gums and/or bone. After eliminating dental problems, check with your vet for other causes.
- While quietly talking to your cat, from his back side, tip his head back slightly.
- Using your thumb and index finger, spread the side of his mouth open. Make sure you have a good light.
- Look at his back teeth for yellowing (plaque) or darker material (tartar). Check for cracked or broken teeth. Observe the color of the gums - they should be a healthy pink, not an angry red or a pale pink.
- Repeat step 4 with the front teeth, then move to the other side of the mouth.
- Look into the back of the cat's throat for redness, especially "cobblestone" in appearance. This is a sign of stomatitis, a serious and painful condition usually found in older cats. An angled dental mirror will help here.
- If at any time your cat fights your attention, give it up and try another day.
- Reward your cat with a treat. A dental chew would be an excellent choice.
- Once you and your cat are comfortable with this procedure, make it a regular practice (at least once a month.)
- Follow up with a veterinary exam once a year, or twice a year if your cat has previous dental problems.
- It may be easier to have a partner hold the cat's mouth open while you examine the oral cavity.
- Choose a comfortable spot with good lighting. A small penlight would be an asset.
What You Need
- Small penlight (optional)
- Angled Dental Mirror
- Dental Chew Reward