Examining Cat Teeth at Home

Cat teeth need a lot of care and attention, but this often gets overlooked. Paying attention to your cat's teeth is just as important as paying attention to other aspects of his health, such as diet and coat. Your cat will have his teeth for life, so their long-term care is crucial.

Why It's Important to Examine Cat Teeth

If your cat's teeth are not properly looked after, the resulting health problems could have serious implications for his quality of life. Dry food is good for his teeth, because it has a cleaning effect. However, it's still possible for your cat to develop cavities. If this occurs, it could cause a large amount of discomfort for your pet and could even lead to more serious health issues, such as an abscess.

Your cat also needs his teeth to be able to eat. If he develops dental problems, this could severely affect his appetite. This in turn could lead to further health problems such as weight loss, malnutrition and, eventually, starvation.

Examining your cat's teeth can be difficult. If it's a practice that you introduce at a young age then it will become much easier over time. Although it might feel like a struggle at first, once your cat gets used to you examining his mouth, the whole process should take no longer than a couple of minutes each time.

The Step-By-Step Process

The best time to check your cat's teeth is when he is in a relaxed, calm mood. If you decide to do it while he is feeling playful, the job is going to be far more difficult.

  • Tip your cat's head back slightly from behind.
  • Using the thumb and index finger of one hand, open the mouth from the side while holding his head with your other hand.
  • Check the front teeth, then the bottom teeth.
  • Also check the back of the throat for any signs of redness.

What to Look for

The first thing to check when examining your cat's teeth is his breath. If your pet has bad breath then this could be a sign of infection, either in the gums or in the jawbone. If your cat has bad-smelling breath then it is best to ask a vet to check the underlying problem.

When examining the teeth, you will be looking for plaque and tarter. Plaque is yellow in colour, while tarter is darker. You should also check for any damage to the teeth, such as cracks or chips.

Your cat's gums are also very important to examine. They should be pink in colour. If they are red or pale this could be a sign of an underlying problem.

How Often to Examine the Cat's Teeth

Ideally, you should examine your cat's teeth twice a month. If he has had dental problems in the past, you might also want your vet to take a look once every two months as well.

Your cat's teeth are very important but, with regular checks and the right care, you can minimize the risk of problems and discomfort in the future.