For cats, the key words in choosing their food are PROTEIN and MOISTURE.
A cat’s digestive system is very different from a dog’s. So do not assume that what’s good for your dog is also good for your cat.
While having a good protein-based diet is important for dogs, it’s especially important for cats. Cats have higher requirements for proteins – and the amino acids found in proteins — than dogs. A diet deficient in proteins can cause a wide range of health issues. (Please note: Cats that have been diagnosed with kidney disease may be put on a protein restricted diet by their veterinarian.)
Do NOT reduce the protein in your cat’s diet on your own; always consult with your vet!
In addition to protein, cats need LIQUID. Sources include wet or canned food as well as water. Cats are notoriously poor drinkers so a quality dry food diet should be supplemented with canned or wet food. Without adequate moisture, cats can be prone to urinary infections and are at increased risk of kidney disease later in life. (Also look for foods that contain cranberry which promotes good urinary tract health.) It is also helpful to add additional drinking areas. I have two locations in my house with one of them being a drinking fountain.
The dry food provides the ability to “graze” throughout the day and also helps reduce dental tarter and plaque buildup. Hard treats are also good (in moderation of course).
AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
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And just like I’ve pointed out for dogs, these products do NOT replace the need for regular veterinary exams. Cats, like dogs, can get:
Broken and loose teeth
Oral and facial cancers
Root problems (why your pet needs dental x-rays!)
In addition, cats can get a SEVERELY PAINFUL dental problem called RESORPTIVE LESIONS. These lesions often appear as red dots on the tooth and they can eat away at the rest of the tooth and root. Teeth with the lesions are often very weak and prone to break. Cats with resorptive lesions often have a difficult time eating and will drool or their mouth will “chatter” due to the pain.
So regular dental care for your cat is particularly important. To me, the best thing about oral care products is that they get pet owners to be more observant and take a better look at your pet’s mouth.
So while you are brushing your cat’s teeth – or wiping on that gel, be sure you to take a look at your cat’s mouth. If you spot redness or something that doesn’t look right, contact your vet.
We are hoping that you can join us on February 18 for our next Pawsitively Healthy workshop, Preventing Canine & Feline Dental Disease. Click here to register. Our speaker is Andrea Putt, DVM, of Commerce Village Veterinary Hospital.
Elsewhere in this blog, I talk about some signs of dental disease in your dog or cat. Take a few moments to see if your dog or cat will allow you to look at his/her teeth and gums. A friend of mine routinely rubs her hand around and puts the tip of her finger into her cats’ mouths to get them used to this.
If you are able to take a look at your dog’s or cat’s mouth, try to take note of what you see. Are gums read? Do teeth look yellow or brown? Does your pet flinch in pain when you do this?
If possible, see if you can take a picture of what you see. Do NOT force it. But if your pet will let you, you will have something to show Dr. Putt at the seminar. While she cannot diagnose dental disease from a photo, it will provide a starting point to see if your pet should be seen by a veterinarian.
Below is a photo that my friend took of her cat’s mouth. Again, my friend gets her cats used to having their teeth checked by routinely touching and playing with their mouths. So this was an easy picture for her to take!
The facts about dental disease might surprise you. I am not a veterinarian, but I do know that dental disease in pets:
Is easily preventable
Is prevalent even in young pets
Can lead to more serious health issues
Some pet owners might think that dental exams and cleanings are only to reduce “doggy or kitty breath.” They are actually one of the most important things that you can do for your pet to reduce the natural build up of tartar and plaque that lead to dental disease.
First and foremost, dental disease in your dog or cat can be EXTREMELY painful and affect appetite and activity levels. If left untreated, dental disease can also lead to serious illnesses including:
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Celebrate it by coming to our workshop, Preventing Canine & Feline Dental Disease on February 18, 2016. The speaker will be Dr. Andrea Putt of Commerce Village Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Putt will talk about how you can spot the signs of dental disease in your dog and cats – and what you can do about it.