How to Make Homemade Toothpaste for Cats
See files for Cats
Dental hygiene for cats is often overlooked by those entrusted with their care. We might buy chew toys or special treats which claim to help clean their teeth. However, in many cases, this will not be enough to keep their teeth and gums healthy. There are many commercial cat toothpaste brands on the market which will be excellent for brushing your cat's teeth. However, we can also make our own DIY homemade cat toothpaste which can achieve the same effect.
At AnimalWised, we not only show you how to make homemade cat toothpaste, but we show you what it needs to be effective. This is why our recipe is for a DIY enzymatic cat toothpaste.
Feline dental hygiene
When a cat eats a meal, it is logical that their mouth will be affected by the food they eat. This and other general health factors can contribute to various oral and dental diseases. One of the most frequent is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. While cases of feline gingivitis can be mild or serious, over time deterioration of the gums can result in tooth loss.
Initial symptoms of gingivitis in cats include foul odor, bleeding gums and even infections in the gums. These problems can also cause a lot of pain. The cat will eventually stop eating and may even stop grooming their coat. While we may think of dental problems as being minor, they can seriously affect their well-being and even compromise their life.
Good oral hygiene in cats allows us to prevent and manage such dental problems. Brushing the cat's teeth regularly is one of the best tools we have to do so. This is why many caregivers are interested in how to make DIY toothpaste for cats.
Ideally, we should brush a cat's teeth daily. However, this is not always feasible. Depending on the health of the cat, brushing 2-3 times per week is acceptable. You will need to check with your veterinarian before deciding on how often to brush a cats teeth, especially if they have had previous dental problems.
If your cat is having oral problems, you might want to look at our article on why your cat is losing teeth.
How to brush a cat's teeth?
It is not always easy to clean a cat's teeth. It is a process they will likely find invasive and will not understand its purpose. For this reason, we need tostart oral hygiene as soon as possible. Always employ patience, delicate movements, a soft voice and don't force them. Perform it during a moment of tranquility and rewarding the cat afterwards.
The ideal would be to start from the time they start developing as a kitten. During this time, it is easier for them to accept such physical manipulation. If we adopt an adult cat, we can also help them become used to the procedure of brushing a cat's teeth. It may take some time and a process of adaptation, but they should be able to handle it. In addition to brushing their teeth, we can also offer:
- Food recommended for good oral hygiene.
- Snacks to promote dental hygiene.
- Professional oral cleaning at the veterinary clinic.
And don't forget that choosing a toothbrush suitable for cats is just as important as the feline toothpaste we use. There are one similar to those for human use, but you can also have ones you place on your fingertips. These can be more comfortable, since we will only have to insert our finger and gently pass it over the teeth. This will not be suitable for cats with poor bite inhibition.
For more information, read our related AnimalWised article on cleaning your cat's teeth.
What is toothpaste for cats made from?
To help maintain dental and oral hygiene in cats, different products have been created. They are generally safe and effective, but speak to your veterinarian if unsure. Unlike human toothpaste which is usually mint flavored, cat toothpaste is flavored with chicken, malt, seafood or other flavors which cats enjoy. This helps to encourage the cat to accept the teeth cleaning procedure.
We should not allow the cat to swallow the toothpaste. Ingestion in large amounts may be toxic, even if they are using natural flavors. When we brush a cat's teeth, it can create a foam which is unpleasant, so we need to be ready to wash their mouth out quickly. In the next section we will show you how to make homemade toothpaste for cats, but always check with your veterinarian first, especially if they have a dental issue.
On the market, commercial cat toothpaste brands may have the following ingredients:
- Abrasives: such as calcium and silica, which are responsible for cleaning.
- Oxygenating agents: which limit the growth of anaerobic bacteria.
- Chlorhexidine: with antibacterial and antiviral action. Chlorhexidine is a disinfectant that can be used with limited application on its own for dental hygiene. Use is at the veterinarian's discretion. Long-term use could become counterproductive and damage enamel.
- Zinc ascorbate: improves the healing of gum diseases.
- Hydrogen peroxide: to reduce and prevent plaque and tartar.
- Enzymes: enzymatic toothpaste products promote deep cleaning. Enzymes added to the toothpaste help to convert dangerous bacteria into harmless bacteria, which is why they have such antibacterial capacity. Common enzymes used in commercial cat toothpaste include glucose oxidase (GOx) and lactoperoxidase (LPO).
Although calcium is good for cleaning, silica is not generally the best for environmental reasons. Additionally, cat toothpaste should not contain foaming agents so they can be swallowed without problem. Fluoride, xylitol or other toxic agents also need to be avoided. This is one of the reasons cats cannot use human toothpaste.
Bear in mind that if the teeth are already badly damaged or there are visible symptoms of peridontal disease in cats, simply cleaning the teeth will not solve the problem. A veterinary examination and specific treatment will be required. Cat toothpaste will only be part of this treatment.
If you clean your cat's teeth regularly, but they still have symptoms of tooth decay, they will need to see a veterinarian. We explain more in our article on why your cat has red and swollen gums.
Homemade toothpaste recipes for cats
If you wonder how to make toothpaste for cats at home, these are some of the simplest recipes for routine cleaning of healthy cats. We also provide a basic enzymatic toothpaste you can use. However, in any case, you will need to speak to your veterinarian before giving any type of toothpaste to your cat. Recipes for DIY cat toothpaste include:
- Sodium bicarbonate paste: to make it you just have to mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of water.
- Sodium chloride paste: it is based on mixing a tablespoon of this chloride with a teaspoon of water.
- Potassium chloride paste: the same ratio of one tablespoon of chloride to one teaspoon of water is followed.
- DIY enzymatic cat toothpaste: the enzymes mentioned above are not readily available in pharmacies. One of the few enzymes we an create is using hydrogen peroxide. Mix a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide solution with one tablespoon of sodium chloride (salt). This needs to be used immediately as the salt will speed up the hydrogen peroxide's decomposition and will lose its benefits.
In any case, only use a very small amount of any homemade cat tooth paste. Bear in mind that the taste can be very strong and unpleasant, making cleaning difficult. This is why commercial toothpastes are usually made with different flavors, which increase the cat's tolerance. Do not mix sodium bicarbonate with anything but water as it might cause it to foam.
Cleaning a cat's teeth is only one aspect of a cat's general hygiene. In the video below, we explain another by showing how to clean a cat's eyes:
If you want to read similar articles to How to Make Homemade Toothpaste for Cats, we recommend you visit our Dental hygiene category.
- Carlson, D. G., & Giffin, J. M. (2002). Practical manual of canine veterinary medicine. Madrid: Editorial el Drac.