Invisible Voices

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Daily Archives: February 19, 2008

Brushing teeth for cats

I’ve known for years that I should be brushing Tempest’s teeth. Despite knowing better, I have rarely brushed her teeth, and thus she now needs a professional cleaning at the vet’s.

I worked at a vet’s office one summer, and she happened to push dentals quite a bit, so I know the process. They go under full anesthesia for the procedure (with few exceptions), and that means a few different things. First of all that it is good to have a full bloodwork done, especially if the cat is 7 years or older, to make sure there’s nothing funky going on that would make the anesthesia more dangerous for them. There is always some danger to anesthesia, and it is my opinion that the less often we or our pets are put under, the better.

Yet dental heath is really important. I need to get in a really good habit of brushing Tempest’s teeth so that we can hopefully avoid the need for a dental like this in the future. There are lots of sites with info on how to brush a cat’s teeth, and I liked the info that The Cat Site provided. Along with details on why and how, were some statistics:

Brushing your cat’s teeth should be an important part of the grooming routine. A recent survey held on this site showed that only twelve percent of cat owners brush their cat’s teeth on a daily basis. Most cat owners prefer to hold an oral hygiene session only once or twice a week. More than twenty percent never brush their cat’s teeth.

Brushing the teeth of an adult cat that is not used to the process can be difficult. Yet, any veterinary dentist will tell you that brushing regularly once a day can make a major difference to your cat’s dental health.

I think I was actually surprised that as many as 12% brush their cats’ teeth on a daily basis – I don’t know a single person who does!

The issue of pet dentals came up in an earlier post, and Mary posted a link in the comments to a group that does dentals without anesthesia. There are arguments for and against the no-anesthesia procedure, but personally I think that once I get Tempest’s teeth professionally cleaned (yes, with anesthesia), if I keep up a daily brushing, the no-anesthesia dentals should be all she needs from that point on, from a maintenance standpoint. Anything more serious – broken tooth, abscess, etc – would obviously be a different situation entirely. Of course I’d have to find a vet that does the no-anesthesia dentals (or learn how to do it myself), but I’m sure there are some out there in my area. Especially as Tempest gets older, anesthesia will be something I’ll want to have done only if absolutely necessary. Brushing her teeth daily makes so much more sense, and is so much less stressful for her!

Now I just have to do it!

tempest and her toes
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