Advice for preventing tartar buildup?

juliet mc

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My 10 yo cat recently had to go in and have her teeth cleaned. Besides being expensive, it took her a while to get back to normal following the anesthesia. I’m wondering if there are effective ways to prevent the tartar buildup so she won’t have to go through that again? I’m not too sure that she’ll tolerate having her teeth brushed as she’s 10 years old and I haven’t ever done it before, but tips on that are welcome as well!
 

banana queen

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I brush my cats' teeth. The oldest cat who I taught to tolerate it was 6 when I started. I use a finger toothbrush instead of a normal one as I find it easier to use.

How to Brush Your Cat's Teeth | Cat Friendly Homes

They also do silvervine dental sticks, but my cats never took to them. There's also dental treats, but there are lots of brands and I dont know which are genuinely helpful and which are just a marketing thing.
 
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juliet mc

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I have started giving them Purina dental treats, but my older cat kind of just swallows them, which pretty much defeats the purpose 😂
 

Azazel

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Dental treats are pretty much a scam. As others said, brushing teeth is better. I use raw meat and bones to keep my cats' teeth clean. If your cats will chew raw meat, you can use chicken or turkey gizzards. They are tough and chewy so they are good for cleaning teeth, but any small chunked raw meat is also good. Raw meat contains natural enzymes that cleans teeth (the same enzymes they put into toothpaste). Raw bones such as chicken necks or wing tips are also good if your cat will chew them. Make sure to supervise and never feed bones cooked.
 

EmersonandEvie

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This is a hard food that has really large pieces, forcing the cats to chew them vs swallowing them whole. My mom has an old cat who isn't a candidate for a teeth cleaning because she has heart issues and probably would not survive the anesthesia. She readily eats the food and mom thinks it's starting to make a difference. It's a prescription food and it's pricey, but if you give a few pieces as a treat, the bag should last a while.

Hill's® Prescription Diet® t/d® Feline
 

Azazel

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This is a hard food that has really large pieces, forcing the cats to chew them vs swallowing them whole. My mom has an old cat who isn't a candidate for a teeth cleaning because she has heart issues and probably would not survive the anesthesia. She readily eats the food and mom thinks it's starting to make a difference. It's a prescription food and it's pricey, but if you give a few pieces as a treat, the bag should last a while.

Hill's® Prescription Diet® t/d® Feline
I have a hard time believing that food covered in starch and animal digest cleans teeth. Ever see a cat tear a raw piece of bone or flesh? It looks much different than chewing a big piece of kibble. Primarily because cats don't chew, they tear.
 

EmersonandEvie

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I have a hard time believing that food covered in starch and animal digest cleans teeth. Ever see a cat tear a raw piece of bone or flesh? It looks much different than chewing a big piece of kibble. Primarily because cats don't chew, they tear.
When I've given mine raw chunks of chicken, they move it to one side of their mouth and gnaw. I've never noticed what I would consider tearing. If OP isn't comfortable offering raw bones or chunks of meat, this may be an option for them to explore.
 

Azazel

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When I've given mine raw chunks of chicken, they move it to one side of their mouth and gnaw. I've never noticed what I would consider tearing. If OP isn't comfortable offering raw bones or chunks of meat, this may be an option for them to explore.
That's because you are giving them already cut small chunks of meat. If you give larger pieces of whole raw meat or whole prey you will see tearing. Their jaw structure is such that they actually cannot chew food the way that humans or even dogs do, so I just don't see how having pieces of hard starch brush against their teeth will clean it.
 

SpecterOhPossum

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Brush em; not easy no but it helps. I use C.E.T, brag her and scrub scrub scrub till she stops me, we take a second break, I do it again. repeat repeat, I don't personally give "treats" for this as she likes the paste itself enough for that to be treated as a treat; I just offer some on my pinkie.
 

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The CET dental chews are the only ones I would suggest.


The CET poultry toothpaste is popular with cats. If your vet doesn't sell CET products, you can buy them online. Pet stores do not sell CET products.

You'll want the CET mini cat toothbrush kit to start. The mini toothbrush is not sold on it's own. Here's the listing on Chewy but you can buy it on Amazon and other places:


 

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Recently I've just been scraping my cat's teeth once in a while using a dental kit I purchased off Amazon for about $10. It's fairly easy to remove tartar on my tamer cats, a bit more difficult on the others:) The bottom teeth are harder to scrape but the top teeth are the ones that build up the most tartar. I would say I do almost as good of a job as the vet but it takes me a lot longer.

I've been thinking of trying a sonic scraper but I'm not sure how my cats would react to the sound and vibration.

Here's a video I posted before -

 
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juliet mc

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Enzymatic toothpaste, such as Logic, claim it works without brushing. Try putting a small amount on a Q tip and gently rub it on her teeth. If she wont tolerate that, put a blob on her paw for her to lick off or on her lip.
Thanks, I’ll try that. She’s kind of picky, but maybe she’ll like it. Definitely worth a try!
 
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juliet mc

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Dental treats are pretty much a scam. As others said, brushing teeth is better. I use raw meat and bones to keep my cats' teeth clean. If your cats will chew raw meat, you can use chicken or turkey gizzards. They are tough and chewy so they are good for cleaning teeth, but any small chunked raw meat is also good. Raw meat contains natural enzymes that cleans teeth (the same enzymes they put into toothpaste). Raw bones such as chicken necks or wing tips are also good if your cat will chew them. Make sure to supervise and never feed bones cooked.
I’ve tried offering raw venison and beef before, but she’s not into it. She does like wet food, but maybe she doesn’t like raw meat? I have never offered chicken, as I wasn’t sure if it was safe with salmonella and all that
 

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I’ve tried offering raw venison and beef before, but she’s not into it. She does like wet food, but maybe she doesn’t like raw meat? I have never offered chicken, as I wasn’t sure if it was safe with salmonella and all that
Cats can handle bacteria from raw meat. I feed my cats almost exclusively raw poultry (sourced from reputable local butchers).

Gizzards are pretty cheap - you might try it.
 

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Our cats also love CET toothpaste -- one prefers poultry, the other prefers seafood -- and brushing their teeth has really helped keep the tartar down. As SpecterOhPossum SpecterOhPossum says, if the cat likes the toothpaste, it's a treat in and of itself!
 

LTS3

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Many cats who have eaten nothing but commercial cat food don't recognize raw meat as food. Wile raw meat and such are great for dental health purposes, getting a cat to try them can be difficult. Just use other pet dental hygiene options like tooth brushing instead.
 

Paris Pluto

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I also use C.E.T. enzymatic toothpaste with a baby or cat toothbrush everyday on my cats. My oldest cat took the longest to get used to it. I started off by letting her lick the paste off my fingers, then slowly brushed her teeth with my finger for a few seconds everyday for a week before introducing a toothbrush. It has been 3 months and now she is starting to get used to having her teeth brushed. I have found this is the only thing that prevents tartar buildup effectively.
 
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