4 Easy Alternatives To Brushing Your Cat’s Teeth

Two children hug their pet cat with the boy showering a loving kiss on its head.The importance of brushing your cat’s teeth is huge, and a critical step in cat-care that many cat-owners overlook. Your pet’s dental health is just as important as your own, as neglect can lead to serious health issues. Without proper dental care, your fur baby is at risk for gingivitis, infection, oral cancer, and other health ailments. Not to worry; you’re already taking care of the first step by reading this article!

The reason that many cat-owners neglect to provide adequate oral care for their cats is that they either don’t know that they’re supposed to, or they think it’s too much of a hassle. Regular brushing will save you time and money in the future, so it’s certainly worthwhile to figure out how to add it to your regular routine. Feisty felines may try to make it extremely difficult for you to actually brush their teeth, so we’ve compiled a list of great alternatives to brushing your cat’s teeth. Please note that these are just suggestions, and you should consult your veterinarian before changing anything regarding your cat’s oral health.

A tooth brush from silicon put on a finger for the care of mouth of baby isolated on a white background1. Finger Toothbrush: As opposed to using an actual cat toothbrush, some owners find that a finger toothbrush makes brush time much easier. Finger toothbrushes are typically made of rubber, and slip right over your finger, with a small pad at the end made of rubber bristles. You’ll need to purchase some cat toothpaste and put a pea-sized amount on the bristles. NEVER use human toothpaste on your pet. There are many varieties of pet toothpaste with all kinds of flavors and textures, and you’ll certainly find the brand that your fur baby likes. Some brands offer packages that include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a finger brush, so you can easily try both methods if you haven’t tried before.

Finger toothbrushes come in a variety of sizes, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the appropriate size for the size of your kitty. If you are brushing a kitten’s teeth, you will need a much smaller brush, and might even need to use your pinky to do the job. Finger toothbrushes allow you to get to the hard-to-reach spots that are so necessary to do a good cleaning job, like the back molars and behind the teeth.

This method still requires you to stick your fingers in kitty’s mouth, so make sure that you are only approaching when your pet is already in a calm mood. If you attempt to brush and they get upset and you keep trying, you’ll have a harder time brushing on your next attempt. If your cat gets distressed, you can just put it down, let kitty calm down, and try again another time.

Cost: $2-10

cat on table in room2. Pro-Dental Health Cat Food: This option doesn’t fully replace brushing, but does help cats that are prone to tartar build-up. You will still need to do your best to brush your cat’s teeth, with a real brush or a finger brush, but pro-dental health cat food will help keep plaque at bay. Pro-dental health cat food is strategically made with special textures and sizes designed to change the way that your cat eats in order to encourage contact time with the teeth.

Pro-dental health cat food will be dry food, specifically designed to keep your cat’s teeth clean. Many brands offer this type of food, but you should consult with your veterinarian on the right type for your cat. This will not work for kittens, as the way that this kibble works is by using a larger sized kibble that is more crumble-resistant, forcing your cat to take longer to chew, allowing the kibble to engulf the teeth. You should find a pro-dental health cat food brand that uses grain-free kibble, free of mineral abrasives that cause plaque, and active chemical ingredients that could tarnish the teeth.

The best way to utilize pro-dental health cat food is by using it for one meal a day, or once every few days. You should not entirely replace your cat’s diet with this, as cats need wet food as well. Wet food is so important for cats, as it provides them with the type and texture of food that they would choose to eat in their natural habitat. The combination of pro-dental dry kibble and wet food will lead to one very happy feline.

Cost: $15-40/bag

3. Oral Hygiene Chews: Many people are familiar with dental chews for dogs, but most don’t know that there are dental chew options for cats as well. They are essentially treats that help your cat’s overall dental hygiene through the strategic texture and shape of the treat, as well as the compounds within the treat itself.

You’ll find that oral hygiene chews are geared towards making cats actually want to use them, so they are focused on having a good taste that cats love. The chews typically have pro-dental health enzymes in them that will be naturally introduced to your cat’s teeth and gums. The texture of dental chews is different than that of typical treats, in that they are more abrasive and help break up plaque on kitty’s teeth.

Again, this is not a full alternative to brushing, but is certainly part of a healthy daily dental regimen for your cat. Combine oral hygiene chews with the occasional brushing with a toothbrush or a finger brush, and your cat will have fresh breath, and great oral health.

Cost: $2.99-10.99

Black cat with green eyes looking up not eating from its bowl with food.4. Plaque-Fighting Supplements: Another option for fighting plaque involves an oral supplement that can simply be mixed in with your cat’s wet or dry food. This is one of the easiest solutions to brushing issues. You simply add some of the product to meals, and over a few weeks, the product will begin to prevent bad breath, along with plaque and tartar. Each type will have specific guidelines as to how much to add for the size of your pet, so make sure you read the entire label before introducing a new supplement to your pet.

There are powders, gels, and liquids that all do the job. There are natural options that don’t alter the pH of your pet’s mouth, using all-natural products. One popular brand’s main ingredient is seaweed, for example. There are other supplements that you can use that actually alter the pH of your cat’s mouth, playing around with the contents of their saliva, and coincidentally affecting the plaque build up and smell of their breath.

Cost: $12-94

Your pet’s oral health is of extreme importance, and you’ll want to make sure that you give your kitty every opportunity to be happy, healthy, and wielding fresh breath. All of the options that we’ve listed for you can add to a great oral care routine that will elongate your cat’s life, and save you lots of money and grief in the long run. Before delving into any of the ideas we’ve listed, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to figure out which is the best option for your kitty.