How do you feel about putting your fingers in a cat's mouth? I've always said that I'll happily put my hands in a horse's mouth or a dog's, but I prize my fingers too much to attempt putting them in a cat's mouth, even my own beloved felines!
If you happily brush your dog's or cat's mouth regularly, congratulations! You're awesome and your companion's health is better for it! However, if you're like many of us, focusing on teeth cleaning isn't the priority it should be.
February is National Pet Dental Month!
As you know, the right kind of bones are a dog's teeth's best friend. For more on choosing and introducing the safest and best bones to your canine buddy, see my article here.
In some cases, raw meaty bones and raw chicken necks for cats aren't practical or possible for your companion or your lifestyle. I for one don't love the idea of my Flora hiding under the bed chewing on a raw chicken neck. If I had a heated garage, I might give my cats a whole Cornish game hen and let them chew and eat it to their heart's content. But, I don't. So what's a mother to do?
There are some marvelous ways of treating the bacteria that turns to plaque in their mouths.
1) Brushing. Yes, brushing is a great way to get rid of the bacteria and help keep their teeth and gums healthy. Be sure you're not using a toothpaste with lots of additives like sorbitol or maltodextrin. Here's some tips from Dr. Karen Becker about introducing toothbrushes to cats that works for puppies and sensitive dogs as well.
Anitra Fraser, author of the "New Natural Cat" taught me years ago about making a paste of white cheddar and water and letting cats lick it off your fingers. The enzymes in white cheddar break down the bacteria that causes tartar. You can give that a try as most cats will love the cheese. I'm sure dogs would be thrilled with a real cheese toothpaste!
2) Sprays and additives to drinking water. "Leba III" is a spray that's been around since 1994 because it works. Check it out here. Here's another company/product line to check out: Healthy Mouth I like the ingredients for horses and dogs, but I'm concerned about clove in the feline formula. Clove is not a safe oil for felines. Also, with an additive to water, you might not be able to use it with a water filter if you have a water fountain for your cats or dogs. PLEASE read the ingredients of other water additives as many contain ingredients that should be avoided.
Dr. Jeff Feinman of Holistic Actions recommends "New Zealand Deer Velvet" spray with Manuka Honey. I would recommend it for dogs, but not cats as cinnamon and peppermint oils are not easily metabolized by feline livers.
3) Powders. I recently discovered that one of my favorite companies, In Clover (makers of "Optagest") has a lovely "BioBrilliant Dental Health Powder." My cats get a sprinkle morning and night. They like the taste and Flora just had a GREAT check up! No more somatitis! It's goat milk based with coconut, green tea, papain, Aspergillus, inulin and other herbs. Check it out here. See below for a link to another great powder by Vetri-Science.
4) Chews. There are all sorts of dental chews out there. Many have added flavorings, maltodextrin (sugars) and other chemicals. Here are the cleanest ingredient chews and powders I've see to date and they are from Vetri-Science, makers of "Composure," one of my most recommended calming supplements. What makes these so great? Enzymes, probiotics, chlorophyl, herbs, natural minerals, and NO added junk! "Perio Treats, Sticks and Powders." Here.
Remember, none of these are a substitution for deep (below the gum) teeth cleaning that you need to have done for your beloveds. These are suggestions for keeping their mouths clean between vet visits, just as brushing and flossing is for us between visits to the dentist.
Deep teeth cleaning recommendations range from yearly to every three years, This is done under anesthesia and there needs to be blood work and a health check before your companion undergoes any procedures requiring anesthesia. Be aware that some animals are sensitive to anesthetics which can accumulate in their systems. Spread out any deep cleanings/surgeries to be on the safe side and work with a Homeopath/homeopathic remedies to mitigate reactions and side effects.
As usual, an Animal Communication session can help to determine the condition of your companion's dental and immune system health. If you're considering a deep cleaning, let's do a session to check and prepare them as well as plan for important before and after care. Both of you will be more ready and relaxed that way. Click here if you're a returning client, and here if you're new to me.
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,
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