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Cat Dental Care: When Toothbrushes Aren’t Enough

Cat dental care should be an important part of your cat's weekly routine.

Does your cat get a skittish look in its eye when you mention brushing his or her teeth?

Silver Tabby cat on a tan couch peaking out from under a brown rug

You’re not alone.

Maintaining optimal dental care for our pets can often be a struggle and not for lack of trying.

One of the best things that you can do for your cat is to establish a dental cleaning regimen. Ideally, the cleanings should start at an early age (ask your vet what’s right for your cat), but that’s not always the case. It’s never too late to try, though! Gently ease your cat into dental cleanings at any age by taking it “one tooth at a time” or gently massaging their gums with your fingers.

Reducing the rate at which plaque and tartar build-up can decrease your cat’s chances of developing a serious (and potentially life-threatening) disease that can affect not only your cat’s teeth but their heart or kidneys too.

While veterinarians recommend daily cleaning, that is not always a possibility. On average, it is more difficult to clean a cat’s teeth than their canine counterparts. It’s a genetic fact of life.

Thankfully, if you feel that toothbrushes are not enough or are having a difficult time brushing your cat’s teeth, there are other options to help maintain your cat’s dental care including finger brushes, water additives, dental treats, and more. Continue reading for cat dental care product recommendations and how they help.

Periodontal disease has been recognized as one of the most prevalent diseases in cats, affecting around 70% of the domestic cats two years of age and over 85% of those aged over 5 years.

Brushless Cat Dental Care Items Include:

How can you keep your cat’s teeth clean without brushing? Consider these highly effective and easy-to-use products.

Finger Brushes

Does your cat respond well to gum massages but not tooth brushing? Meet in the middle with finger brushes. Generally, finger brushes come in two different styles (full glove or pointer finger cover) with scrubber pads/bristles near the fingertip.

Petrodex Finger Gloves are a hygienic and effective alternative to standard tooth brushing. Equipped with scrubber pads at the fingertips, this product is a great option for cats who enjoy (or at least tolerate) gum massages.

Brushless Toothpaste Gels

Designed to make the cat’s saliva do all the work, brushless gels are applied directly to the gumline.

ProCare Dental Solution Specially formulated to quickly and conveniently freshen pet’s breath, whiten teeth, and reduce dental plaque and tartar build up.

Vetality Brush Free Oral Gel for Cats is a once-a-week treatment with a sustained release formula that works longer to help keep your cat’s mouth clean and healthy. This brushless gel helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up while freshening breath and whitening and brightening teeth.

Dental Rinses

What separates dental rinses from dental sprays? Dental rinses should be given following your cat’s meal in an effort to prevent food from sticking or getting caught between teeth.

V.P.S Oral Dental Rinse is a dental rinse that will help reduce plaque and freshen breath. With anti-microbial, anti-plaque, and anti-calculus properties, V.P.S aids in the prevention of tooth and gum disease.

Water Additives

Have a cat that’s absolutely against any form of brushing? Consider a water additive. While not as effective as regular weekly cleanings, water additives can help loosen and reduce tartar and plaque from teeth while freshening your cat’s breath.

HomeoPet Feline Purr Dental helps maintain your cat’s dental health naturally. This fast-acting liquid helps remove plaque and tartar while reducing bad breath and swollen gums. It also helps combat discolored teeth and can be easily added to clean water or given directly to your cat’s mouth.

Oratene Brushless Oral Care Water Additive is part of a three-product system designed to improve your cat’s dental health. It freshens breath, kills germs, and removes plaque, all without the use of a toothbrush! All Oratene products can also help reduce dry mouth linked with medical diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Dental Care Wipes

For quick, relatively painless hands-on cleaning, try dental wipes. Wipes such as Davis’ Dental Wipes which help to remove residue while freshening breath.

Dental Care Sprays

Dental sprays are a great option for cats that suffer from medical conditions, such as diabetes, which can make bad breath worse.

Davis’ DentaMED Spray helps fight odor-causing bacteria and reduce plaque. For more than a quick fix, look no further than Oratene Brushless Oral Care Breath Freshener. This daily spray helps remove plaque, kill germs, and freshen breath.

Dental Chews and Treats

Products such as Feline Greenies are touted as the #1 veterinary recommended dental treat for cats. Designed to clean teeth and freshen breath, Feline Greenies are one of three edible treats that meet the standards set by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for controlling tartar. Treats alone won’t help get rid of all the plaque and tartar from your cat’s mouth, but they can help remove and loosen already existing bacteria and food.

Dental Care Cat Toys

Who says that dental care can’t be fun? Any toy that your cat finds chew-worthy can help loosen and remove tartar and plaque from their teeth.

View Jeffers’ selection of cat toys.

Keep your cat smiling with a great cat dental care plan.When All Else Fails

In addition to weekly at-home cleaning and professional cleaning by the vet, a well-balanced diet can help improve your cat’s dental health. Switching between wet and dry foods can help prevent plaque from building up. However, tartar and plaque feed off of sugars, so this isn’t a long-term solution to your cat’s dental care woes. Ultimately, there’s no better option for your cat than a product designed specifically to improve their dental health and remove bacteria and debris that can contribute to disease.

View all of Jeffers’ Cat Dental Care products.

For more cat dental care tips and information, check out Jeffers’ blog Cat Dental Health 101: A Basic Overview.

The information given is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way intended to supersede, challenge, or supplant the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a licensed veterinarian.

Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for Jeffers Pet.