Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month?

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January 30, 2014

If you’re anything like me, you might not have even considered the fact that you would have to take care of your kitty’s teeth when you first got her. “It is vital for cat owners to pay close attention to their cat’s dental care, as it is an important part of their overall health and can have an effect on other organs of the cat’s body,” says Dr. Mark Magazu, DVM, Charman of Saint Francis Veterinary Center.

And while it’s important to keep up with maintenance on your cat’s teeth, it’s also important to keep in mind the dangers that may be right in your own home. “When considering the top cat dental hazards, you will need to consider things that can compromise the crown, enamel and root of the tooth in order to avoid harmful tooth diseases, such as gingivitis, endodontic disease and tooth abscess,” says Dr. Magazu.

What follows are the top five dental hazards that you should be aware of for your cat. Take caution to keep any of the following hidden away from where your cat would reach them, if possible.

Natural Hazards

It’s very important we take into consideration a cat’s previous medical history when buying or adopting, because cats that have a history of upper respiratory disease may be more inclined to experience dental problems. These viruses can be shed chronically in the saliva and cause severe conditions that may lead to loss of the teeth.

Chemical Hazards

Chemicals, solutions, acids and other products like simple detergents may be things that cats can ingest by licking their paws, thereby exposing the mouth and gums to harmful chemicals that pose dangers to the teeth.

Physical Hazards

Plants, fiberglass, sharp, plastic objects, needles, pins and thorns are all objects that physically cause dental problems. One of the most common dental problems the vets at Saint Francis Veterinary Center see involve electrical hazards, says Dr. Magazu, because cats will often go after wires to play.

Thermal Hazards

Cat owners sometimes microwave their cat’s food, which Dr. Magazu says he never recommends. “If you do microwave your cat’s food, though, be sure it is only warm,” says the vet. “If the food is microwaved to a hot temperature, it heightens the risk for thermal burns, and also compromises the nutritional value of the food, as well.”

Ornamental Plant Hazards

The Dieffenbachia, more commonly known as the Leopard Lily, is a common ornamental plant found in homes that should be kept away from your cats. If chewed or ingested, the sap on the plant can cause painful irritation to your cat’s mouth.

Keep in mind—it’s important to regularly clean and inspect your cat’s teeth, along with making regular visits to the veterinarian, to avoid harmful dental problems. A good dental routine for cat with maximize its overall health and longevity of life.

by Cheryl Lock