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Cat Dental Care Products
What cat dental care products do you currently use?
The Importance of Cat Dental Health
Dental problems in cats can be painful, costly and in severe cases, life-threatening. They can range from bad breath and tartar build-up, to gingivitis or infections that can affect a cat’s major organs.
Veterinarians can help keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy with in-office teeth cleanings, but there are many effective cat dental care products you can use at home between cleanings to improve the condition of your cat’s teeth, gums and reduce annoying bad breath.
You may even be able to extend the amount of time between in-office teeth cleanings, which tend to be expensive and are usually performed under anesthesia.
The earlier you start a cat dental care routine at home, the better. Fortunately, there are numerous products available to keep your cat’s teeth in good condition throughout his or her life.
In this article, you’ll find information about the most effective types of cat dental care products and how they can help your cat's teeth.
Toothpaste for Cats
When selecting toothpaste for your cat, be sure to look for one that’s specifically formulated for cats. Never use human toothpaste.
Most cat toothpastes come in cat-friendly flavors like poultry or seafood. Ideally choose one with enzymatic cleaning action which can break down food particles and neutralize odors.
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Kit
This toothbrush kit is the brand many veterinarians sell in their offices and recommend to clients. It comes with a tube of enzymatic toothpaste, a small white toothbrush specially designed for cats, as well as a rubber finger toothbrush. You can also find this kit at some pet stores and online.
I really like this kit because the enzymatic toothpaste (poultry or seafood flavored) cleans the cat’s teeth well and the two included brushes give you options. Some people prefer to use the rubber finger brush, others like the small bristle toothbrush. When you run out of the included toothpaste, you can also buy this brand in individual tubes.
You can try both to see which is easiest for you and most comfortable for your cat.
Key Cat Dental Care Tips:
- Have your cat’s teeth checked at his/her annual exam and ask your vet for advice regarding your specific cat.
- It’s never too early (or late) to start caring for your cat’s teeth.
- Be consistent with home dental care to achieve results. “What really matters is whether or not home oral hygiene was provided over the long haul – considerable effort only applied for a short period or only occasionally will be of no long-term benefit.” –American Veterinary Dental College (1)
- Besides brushing, use at least one other type of cat dental care product. "Combining several methods will achieve the best results.”—American Veterinary Dental College (2)
- Use a water additive in your cat’s drinking water to help prevent plaque & tartar build-up.
- Try brush-less cleansing gels, teeth cleansing wipes, rinses or sprays for cats that refuse to let you brush their teeth.
- Follow your vet’s instructions regarding in-office dental cleanings.
Cat Teeth Cleansing Wipes
Teeth cleansing wipes can be used in addition to or as an alternative to regular brushing. These wipes can help remove plaque from teeth, prevent the build-up of tartar and freshen breath.
If your cat has never had his teeth brushed before or is especially resistant to a toothbrush, wipes might be the best option until your cat becomes accustomed to home dental care.
Cleansing Gels for Cat's Teeth
Gels are another great option for cats that won’t let you brush their teeth. Typically, they can be applied by squeezing the pointed tip of the tube in a strip along your cat’s gum line, or you can apply them with your finger.
Cat::ESSENTIAL healthymouth anti-plaque gel is one that’s made the list of the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of accepted pet dental products.
V-Oratene (formerly called ‘Biotene’) Oral Maintenance Gel is another good gel that uses enzymatic-action to help reduce plaque and kill germs that can cause bad breath. I’m currently using this on my cats and have positive results.
Products for Cats That Don't Like Their Teeth Brushed
Cat dental care chews, treats or toys
Dental sprays or rinses
Cat Dental Sprays
Cat dental sprays vary in type. Some only contain breath-freshening ingredients (like mint) to help mask bad breath and others help combat plaque and tartar in addition to improving breath.
Be sure to read the product description before you buy so you know which type you’re getting.
There are numerous cat dental sprays on the market, so be sure to do your homework and check reviews before choosing one. When in doubt about ingredients or safety, ask your vet.
Cat Dental Rinses
There are quite a few types of dental rinses for cats. Some are available by prescription for a veterinarian; others can be bought in pet stores. Rinses can be squirted from a bottle over the cat’s teeth and gum area.
Putting a water additive in your cat’s drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve your cat’s overall dental health. A few drops can help reduce plaque and tartar by coating your cat’s teeth every time he drinks. Whether you brush cat’s teeth regularly or have a cat that adamantly refuses to let you anywhere near his mouth, using a water additive is good idea. You can get them at your vet’s office, pet stores or online.
Cat::ESSENTIAL healthymouth anti-plaque water additive is on that’s earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s endorsement.
V-Oratene (formerly ‘Biotene’) Water Additive is another good one that many vets suggest.
Dental Care Formula Cat Foods
For cats with lots of plaque and tartar, using a dental formula cat food can be helpful.
When you take your cat to the vet for his annual exam, be sure to ask if a dental formula food would help.
Here are the cat dental health specific foods endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC):
- Prescription Diet Feline t/d (for plaque and tartar) – Available only from a vet
- Royal Canin Feline Dental Diet (for plaque) – Available only from a vet
- Purina Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health brand Feline Formula (for plaque and tartar) – Available only from a vet
- Science Diet Oral Care for Cats (for plaque and tartar) – Available in pet stores or online
What's your cat's biggest dental issue?
Dental Care Cat Treats
Using dental care cat treats is another way to help keep your cat’s teeth clean. Feline Greenies Brand Dental Treats for Cats are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
They come in a variety of flavors and can be bought in most pet stores or at a vet’s office. They’re slightly larger than the average cat treat, so be sure to watch your cat when he or she is eating them. These treats can help reduce tartar and improve breath.
There are quite a few other brands of cat treats that have dental formulas as well. Even if your cat’s teeth are in good shape, feeding dental treats can help keep them that way.
Cat Dental Chews (Treats or Chew Toys)
Dental chews have been a popular product for dog dental care, but now it’s easier to find dental chew treats or toys designed for cats.
Here is a list of a few cat dental chew products:
- N-Bone Cat Chew Treats (Chicken flavor)
- C.E.T. Chews for Cats (Poultry flavor)
- Petstages Fresh Breath Mint Stick Cat Toy (cleans cat’s teeth as he chews)
- Petstages Dental Chew Pack (pack of several assorted chew toys)
The Importance of Home Dental Care for Cats
I adopted one of my cats when he was six months old. Even then, his breath wasn’t great and his gums looked a little irritated. Although he’s otherwise very healthy, keeping his teeth and gums in good shape takes more effort than with my other cat.
He has had annual teeth cleanings at the veterinarian’s office and I brush his teeth regularly. Recently I started using V-Oratene Oral Maintenance Gel (formerly known as Biotene Oral Maintenance Gel) and Science Diet Oral Care Dry Cat Food.
V-Oratene is a clear, brushless gel that you apply a small strip to the sides of the cat’s teeth once or twice a day, or after meals. Science Diet Oral Care Formula Dry Cat food (can be bought in pet stores) is formulated to ‘scrub’ the cat’s teeth as he chews which helps reduce plaque and tartar.
So far, the combination approach of teeth brushing, gel and dental diet cat food seems to have made a difference. His breath is better and his gums look less irritated.
Do you brush your cat’s teeth? Have you tried any of the cat dental care products listed above? How do your cat’s teeth and gums look overall? Is bad breath a problem? Have you discovered a certain cat dental care product that works especially well on your cat? Feel free to share your experiences, tips or questions in the comments section below.
Additional Resources about Cat Dental Care
- Cat Dental Care: Brushing Cat’s Teeth and Unsafe Chew Toys
WebMD discusses dental care for cats, from birth to adulthood, including brushing, checkups, and proper chew toys.
- Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Full List of Accepted Products for Cat and Dog Dental Care
The Veterinary Oral Health Council awards its Seal of Acceptance to oral health products that meet pre-set standards for retarding accumulation of dental plaque and calculus (tartar) in dogs and cats.
© 2013 carolynkaye