In support of this, behaviorists advise that it’s important to begin getting a kitten used to having his mouth handled early on because doing so will ultimately help in the long term with regard to dental care. However, this is not always the case if your kitten chooses to be uncooperative. Fortunately, manufacturers understand the feline psyche and have consequently manufactured a variety of dental products “disguised” as toys and treats to complement the usual basic items that are used to keep teeth clean.
Toothpastes and Water Additives
“Yes,” said Susan Weiss, owner and president of Ark Naturals. “Cats have way more opinions than dogs. A cat may like something on Monday and Tuesday but by Wednesday she’s changed her mind. We market our Brushless Toothpaste and our Plaque Zapper to both dogs and cats and there are a growing number of cats that accept the products as part of their dental care.”
“The Brushless Toothpaste is bone shaped, highly digestible and wheat-product freem” she said. “Because typically cats are not interested in such products, we work actively to send the message to both retailers and cat owners that it is safe for cats and to give them an opportunity to try [them]. You just never know!”
Apart from promoting fresh breath, the ingredients are formulated to help prevent bacteria from forming in the pet’s mouth.
The Plaque Zapper is an enzymatic formula that is added to the water bowl.
“In drinking, the pet automatically gets the product into the mouth and, in particular, in contact with the gums,” explained Weiss. “It’s designed to prevent the growth of plaque and tartar build-up and can also be sprinkled onto wet food.”
Another feline-centric water additive comes from SynergyLabs.
“Our Dental Fresh Original Formula for Cats is designed to kill bacteria that cause bad breath, reduce plaque and tartar, prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease and it also whitens teeth,” said Christina Twomey, the company’s director of training and regional sales manager. “It’s easy to use. Adding a teaspoon of the formula to every 8 ounces of drinking water daily is all that is required to manage a cat’s oral care.
Twomey also pointed out that Dental Fresh can be used in pet drinking fountains that circulate water.
“However, if there is a carbon filter in the fountain, remove it, as such products are not designed to work in conjunction with carbon filters,” she said.
“Awareness and overall sales of dental/oral care products have shown us that this is a fast-growing category,” added Twomey. “Consumers are definitely becoming aware of solutions to take care of their pet’s teeth and gums. Consequently, we’re seeing sales continue to rise exponentially.”
Using a feline teeth-cleaning gel is yet another option. Brian Collier, advertising manager for Tropiclean, describes the company’s product.
“It has a gel applicator but in fact relies on ‘nature’s toothbrush,’ namely, the cat’s tongue, to get the gel into all areas of the cat’s mouth,” he said.
Dental Treats and Toys
Apart from specific oral care products, the feline health category also includes functional dental treats such as Sentry Petrodex Dental Twists for cats manufactured by Sergeants Pet Care, which was acquired by Perrigo Animal Health and now operates under their umbrella.
Virbac Animal Health makes feline dental chews called C.E.T Chews. This product has what the company refers to as a dual-enzyme system that offers a natural antiseptic action as well as an abrasive texture from freeze-dried fish or poultry.
For very mellow cats or cat owners who are prepared to tackle feline teeth cleaning, Virbac Animal Health manufactures special dental kits to establish a good oral hygiene routine in between professional veterinary cleanings. They consist of either a conventional-shaped toothbrush or an easy-to-use finger brush, along with a flavored toothpaste.
Petstages manufactures toys that specifically target dental care. They are made of durable nontoxic rubber and serve a dual purpose because they can be frozen and used to soothe gums during teething. Additionally the company’s website highlights the fact that chewing on such toys for lengthy periods helps to massage gums and jaws and can also help to loosen baby teeth so that they fall out to make room for the permanent teeth to grow.
Staying informed of this fast-growing category and stocking appropriately is sure to expand your customer base and increase sales while ensuring the best possible care for your customers’ feline friends.