Did you know that over two-thirds of all cats past the age of three have dental problems? Failure to maintain oral hygiene will lead to plaque and bacterial growth. This, when left unchecked, may lead to very serious diseases like periodontal disease, which is an infection of the teeth. Periodontal disease can have severe consequences when left untreated, and treatments may cost hundreds of dollars.
To prevent all this, brushing your cat’s teeth remains the most effective way of removing the bacteria & plaque that are responsible for tooth decay and cavities. But did you know there is another secret weapon that specialists recommend for keeping your pet’s teeth healthy? In this post, we looked at the best vet-recommended water additives for healthy cat teeth.
Top 3 best water additives for cats
What is a water additive?
Dental water additives are sold as bottles filled with a liquid that is safe for daily consumption and should be added to your cat’s drinking bowl. Water additives are the human equivalent to mouthwash; these products contain chemicals like Xylitol or natural substances (depending on the brand and product) that are designed to fight bacteria and break down plaque on the teeth and gums.
Studies have found that water additives can reduce plaque formation up to 50% in cats. Besides the effect on teeth, there is another important benefit; drinking bowls are often riddled with bacteria. By introducing a water additive, you are effectively reducing the number of bacteria in the bowl, which also helps to keep your cat’s water fresh.
How do I use a water additive?
Each product has slightly different instructions, so be sure to check with your veterinarian for advice prior to beginning, in order to make sure that the product won’t interfere with other possible medications and/or conditions.
Usually, you will have to add a certain amount of the additive into a specified amount of water and then pour the mixture into your cat’s drinking bowl. As an example, the product might have to be mixed at a ratio of 1 teaspoon for every 30 ounces of water.
Always follow the instructions on the package to a tee, and be careful when you drop it in; water additives are highly concentrated, so you should always take great care not to exceed the amount advised on the packaging.
The secret to a healthy mouth
Keeping a pet’s gums and teeth in great shape is something most owners do not actively pursue. But as your cat ages, gum and tooth problems can start to show up that cost tremendous amounts of money to get fixed. You can prevent a lot of possible suffering and expenses by purchasing a few key items and building them into a routine:
- pet toothbrush
- plauque whipes
- water additives
Your cat may initially feel resistant to getting their teeth scrubbed, but using these products in conjunction will massively decrease the number of harmful bacteria living in their mouth. You will effectively prevent gingivitis and many other oral diseases.
Brushing with a pet toothbrush
Without a doubt, brushing is the most effective tool in your arsenal. Make sure to buy a toothbrush designed specifically for cats (tip: get a fish-flavoured one to make it more interesting).
Most cats are major drama-queens: they run at the first sight of a brush. That’s why it’s important not to just jam it in, as that could traumatize your pet. A better approach is to slowly ease them into it, while providing plenty of comfort and reassurance during unpleasant chores.
Wipes are less invasive than a toothbrush, which makes them more likely to be accepted by anxious cats.
Symptoms of oral diseases
We started this article by mentioning that over two-thirds of all cats have dental problems by the time they reach the age of three. Since cats are often awfully quiet about their pain and suffering, you should be extra aware of the signs of oral disease:
- Sore & inflamed gums (deep red)
- Yellow/brown sediments on the teeth
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Problems with chewing
- Frequent chomping
- Touching the mouth with paws
Vet recommended water additives are a great way to boost your cat’s oral hygiene. Since most adult cats suffer from oral problems to a certain degree, adding a water additive to combat bacterial growth is another layer of defense that could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands in medical bills.