Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health
Your Kitten’s Dental Needs
Taking care of a kitten is a big responsibility. But did you know that kittens also need their teeth taken care of on a daily basis? Or that 70% of cats show signs of oral and dental disease by age 3? But there are things you can do to take care of your kitten’s oral health.
There are more than 300 types of bacteria that naturally take residence inside your little buddy’s mouth. And when your kitten eats, small food particles and saliva combine with the bacteria and your pet gets something that you probably remember hearing about from your own dentist–plaque. Then calcium in your pet’s saliva hardens the plaque, resulting in a hard yellow-brown deposit on his teeth called tartar.
Your kitten lets you know a lot about how she’s feeling through the way she behaves. And where periodontal disease is concerned, it’s no different. So how does your kitten tell you that her teeth hurt? There are quite a few ways:
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Excessive chewing
- Pawing at the mouth
- Reluctance to chew toys
Of course, a lot of these symptoms could mean any number of issues, so it’s always important to let a trained professional diagnose any problems your pet might be having.
Go on the Defense
There are three preventive measures you can take to ensure that your pet’s oral hygiene doesn’t become a problem. They’re often referred to as “the 3Ds.” The first step is daily brushing. When you brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis, you’ll be removing plaque and slowing the development of tartar. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a finger brush, which is available online and at almost any pet store. And don’t forget to reward your pet afterward with some playtime!
Go to the Dentist
The second D is dentistry. Just like you, your pet could benefit from annual or semiannual cleanings. Vets refer to the cleaning as a dental prophylaxis. Besides helping keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy, it’s the only way to remove tartar.
Go to the Store
The third D is diet. Dry food can be especially beneficial for oral health because the mechanical brushing action of dry kibble helps remove plaque and works to scrub teeth clean.
Nobody likes dealing with dental issues–your pet included. And even though your kitten can’t talk, that doesn’t mean he isn’t in pain. But armed with the 3Ds of dental hygiene, your furry friend is sure to be happy and healthy for a long, long time.