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Dental Care: Preventive Dental Home Care for Your Cat

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Preventive dental home care is the least expensive and most rewarding form of home care. The goal of any pet dental home care program is to decrease plaque (bacterial film) and prevent calculus (tartar) formation on your cat's teeth. Prevention of periodontal disease (disease of the tooth, including the tooth root structure) involves a multifaceted approach combining the use of daily brushing, diets, chews and treats. Home dental care can make a significant difference in your cat's overall health and comfort. Remember, the more that you can do at home, the less that will need to be done by the veterinarians at Cat Hospital of Chicago.

Daily brushing remains the single most effective way to decrease plaque and tartar. Daily brushing mechanically eliminates the plaque or sticky film that forms on your cat's teeth, thus preventing the development of tartar.

For our patients, we recommend the CET Oral Hygiene Kit. The kit contains a small brush or fingerbrush made specifically for cats and seafood or poultry flavored enzymatic gel to be used in conjunction with the brush. Together they remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Surprisingly, many cats can be taught to accept regular at-home brushing, especially if they are rewarded well with petting, playing, brushing/combing or treats.

Brush ONLY the outside of all of your cat's teeth with the same circular motion that you use on your own teeth. Pay special attention to the gumline where plaque and tartar tend to accumulate. Remember to make it a pleasant experience for everyone. Praise! Praise! Praise! Remain calm while brushing, smile and tell your kitty how lucky he is to have a pet parent who cares so much about his oral health!

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is an organization that provides an objective means of recognizing commercially available products that meet pre-set standards of effectiveness in controlling the accumulation of plaque and calculus (tartar) in dogs and cats. For more information, see www.vohc.org.

The following products have the prestigious VOHC seal, which means that they have been independently shown to control both plaque and tartar formation:

CAT: ESSENTIAL healthymouth anti-plaque water additive (www.healthymouth.com)
CAT: ESSENTIAL healthymouth anti-plaque gel (www.healthymouth.com)
CAT: ESSENTIAL healthymouth anti-plaque spray (www.healthymouth.com)
Hill's Feline Prescription Diet T/D (prescription)
Purina Veterinary DH Dental Health brand Feline Formula Prescription diet
Science Diet Oral Care Diet for Cats

While the following products do not carry the official VOHC seal, we have used these products in our patients for years and feel that they also have a role in preventing tartar formation and plaque in cats:

Aquadent water additive
CET Chews (poultry, seafood)
CET Hextra Premium Chews (new product aTs of 2012)
Feline Greenies (multiple flavors)
Maxiguard Oral Gel
Royal Canin Feline Dental Diet (prescription)

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