It’s probably safe to say that your pet’s oral health is not at the top of your list of worries. Unfortunately, close to 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they’ve reached the age of 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Making pet dental care a priority for your cat means it is possible for your pet to avoid being included in that large statistic.
Here are just five signs that your cat’s oral health is in jeopardy:
1. Bad breath
Just like humans, if plaque and bacteria build up in your cat’s mouth, his breath will start to stink. Saliva helps keep the mouth refreshed, but this moisture isn’t enough to be considered a cleansing effort. Your cat might enjoy eating fish, but his breath should never actually smell fishy or rotten.
2. Stinky fur
A cat grooms himself with his tongue, and if that tongue is in a mouth that’s riddled with disease or decay, your cat’s fur will start to become malodorous too. If you have a cat that tends to lick people too, and your skin smells afterward, these are signs that dental problems are lurking.
3. Odd eating habits
You know your cat best, and it’s up to you to recognize when his eating habits have changed. Is he dropping his food when he eats, only chewing on one side of his mouth, or not eating even when he’s sitting in front of his food bowl full of his favorite food? These could all be signs that he is experiencing pain in his teeth or gums.
Cats are not like dogs, and they are typically not of the drooling variety. If your cat seems to be salivating more than usual, or if you notice that there is blood in the saliva, these are very likely signs that dental disease is at hand.
5. Rejecting petting
Your cat may have always loved to have her face petted, but if he shies away from this affection or reacts negatively after receiving this kind of love, he may be experiencing serious mouth pain. Mouth pain can also manifest as your cat shaking his head or pawing at his mouth.
Oral health affects your cat’s overall well-being
Chronic inflammatory problems make cats more susceptible to medical issues like heart disease and kidney disease. Neglecting to provide your cat with dental cleanings only compounds these potentially serious health concerns. It’s up to you to prioritize your cat’s oral health and get him the pet dental care he needs.
Of course, it isn’t easy to brush your cat’s teeth at home. But every effort you make to protect your cat’s oral health will also improve the rest of his well-being. You can help prevent dental disease with a good tooth scrubbing every few days using cat-specific toothpaste (though every day is even better if your cat will allow it).
Your vet will certainly have suggestions and tips for properly brushing your cat’s teeth at home. Listen, and brush! Your cat will live a much longer, happier, and comfortable life when he has good oral health and is free of serious oral health problems like cavities and gum disease.
Neglecting your cat’s oral health could lead to broken teeth and severe pain. If your cat’s teeth don’t begin to fall out on their own, your vet may have to pull the most damaged teeth. Save your pet from this kind of invasive treatment and brush regularly and brush well. If you have questions about tending to your cat’s oral health, visit the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.