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How to brush your cat's teeth

Hi, my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn. I'm a veterinarian in Vancouver, BC.

And I'd like to welcome you to my series of practical skills for pet owners.

I'm here today with little Clawdia to show you how to brush a cat's teeth.

Now dental healthcare is very, very important.

And I'm gonna start this by saying that you can't brush every cat's teeth.

Some cats' personalities are just not compatible with it,

but I'd say most cats you can.

And the key to success is to start early.

If you get them used to it when they're kittens they'll probably accept it.

If you have an eight-year-old street cat,

you may find it a little bit challenging or you, may find it not worth your while to try to brush their teeth

and then there's other things we can do to take care of their dental health.

But brushing teeth is something you can, if you can do it at home, it is effective, it's cheap, and it can be kind of fun

because the toothpaste, we use is special cat toothpaste. It's chicken or beef flavored.

So it's kind of like a little treat for them. It's quite nice, and..

It's just a nice thing, nice way to bond with your cat, so what I suggest you do

is, when they're kittens, get them used to having your fingers in their mouth.

You can massages their gums with your finger. A lot of cats really like this.

You get right in there, touch their teeth and play with her fangs.

This is a little cat, with beautiful, beautiful fangs there.

And notice that she's quite alright with me putting my finger in her mouth, because

we've been doing this since she was just a little kitten this is actually my personal cat, one of my cats.

And once the cat is comfortable with your fingers in her mouth,

you can sort of take it to the next level, by taking a toothbrush, now this is a special cat toothbrush.

To be honest I often just recommend using a baby— soft baby toothbrush you can get it from your pharmacy.

I think they're quite good for cats.

But these little guys have small bristles so they're quite handy.

And then you start just applying them to the canines just the front of the mouth. You can use your finger to lift the lip a little bit.

And just get her used to the notion of that there's something brushing against her canines.

Clawdia's taking it pretty easy. Some cats may object and high-five you or wriggle away.

That's alright. You just take your time. You do this day after day, and eventually they get used to it.

Then once they're used to having their canines brushed,

you can move on to their molars, and it's pretty hard to get at a cat's molars.

Usually, you just lift that lip up and you're just gonna get in there and do a little brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, just like that.

Just massage that gum. You don't have to go hard. Be quite gentle with it, it'll make it easier for the cat to accept it.

Now the key to success here, you'll notice she's sitting with her butt

kind of up against my body and I can use my elbow to squish her.

A cat's main defense against tooth brushing is to back up.

So if you're standing like this, and the cat can back up,

she might squirm away backwards and then you can end up playing "catch the cat".

If you stand here and gently support her from behind, she's likely to just sit down,

and let you brush her teeth.

So, we have her all cuddled up. Get in there.

Just give those a little, those molars a little brushing

Then same thing on this side, lift your finger.

Just get into the toothbrush, give those molars a little bit of a brushing.

Now here we got Enzymatic toothpaste here, so you don't—

It relies on the enzymes to break up the plaque so you, don't need to brush very hard.

It's quite tasty. So again you just let the cat get used to the taste,

get in there,

and you can work on those molars.

Now it might take you a few weeks or a few months to get to this point with your cat.

But as long as you go slow, and steady,

take your time and try to make it pleasant for them,

they'll let you brush their teeth.

So...

And that's really, you know, just doing that for a minute or two, is pretty much a tooth brushing for a cat.

You don't even need to do any more than that, you know.

If you could do it every day that would be fantastic. I think that'd also be quite extraordinary.

If you're brushing your cat's teeth once a week or twice a week you're probably

already ahead of the curve in terms of dental health.

So I hope you find that video helpful.

Thank you for watching.

Please give us a like or feel free to share.

And remember to always have fun with your cat.