How often should my cat's teeth be cleaned by the vet?

How often is it really necessary to clean a cat's teeth at the vet's office? I know it's important but I hate putting my cat through the anesthesia every year. Can I go longer? The cat is 10.

Asked by Member 182396 on Apr 24th 2008 in Dental Care
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First, I must disagree with Lily. The reason you have pearly white teeth is because you are 1 year. Tarter starts to accumulate and can cause severe health problems if left untreated. Cats and dogs need teeth cleanings yearly usually starting around age 3-5. Some animals can go longer than that but it depends on the individual. NOTHING will prevent tarter build-up..NO not even greenies. This is merely a marketing ploy. Just as humans need dentals, so do animals. Dry food as well as canned food leave the teeth equally dirty. Saying that dry food helps to clean the teeth is like saying eating crunchy potato chips will keep a humans mouth tarter free. Professional dentals is the ONLY way to remove the plaque and tarter build-up on the teeth and underneath the gumline. If left untreated periodontal disease, cavities, loose teeth and eventually heart and kidney problems could develop. As long as bloodwork is done before each anesthesia, dentistry is safer than the potential health problems

Hunter answered on Apr 24th.

Other Answers


Izadore (Izzie)

If you go on my page, you'll see I had a cat named "Hope". She died from severe periodontal disease. She was a Hurricane Katrina rescue that I adopted when she was 10. She obviously did not have good dental care during her life in Louisiana and living on her own after the storm didn't help. After spending about $1000 on her, she crashed on me one day and had to go to the vet's for emergency oral surgery. She was so sick she never came out of the anesthesia. It all started with bad teeth. Cats (and dogs) teeth should be cleaned once a year unless your vet recommends otherwise. Make sure they do a blood test on your cat before they anesthetize him/her. The test can show if there are any problems that would cause anesthesia/surgery to be a problem.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 4/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer

Linus (Dreamboat #72a)

There isn't really a "one size fits all" answer to this question. Like people, some cats accumulate alot of tarter very quicky - and others do not. Your vet will be able to help you determine if your cat's teeth need to be professionally cleaned and how frequently. If your cat has red gums, visiable tarter (yellow teeth), and bad breath then a professional cleaning is probably in order. Modern veternary anesthesia is very safe and your vet will do preanesthesia blood work to screen for any potential problems. You can also brush your cat's teeth. I have a CET kit. I also eat Hill Prescription Diet feline t/d for dental health. You may want to talk to your vet about this.

Linus (Dreamboat #72a) answered on 4/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


If you give your cat Greenies dental chews every day, the answer is never. You should talk with the vet about the current condition of your cats teeth. If they need cleaning, the vet will tell you. To avoid vet dental cleaning, there are many dental products on the market that clean cats teeth. Keep in mind, wet food will cause rapid dental decay without intervention of something else to clean the teeth. Dry food slows down tarter build-up, but doesn't really prevent tooth decay. Lily eats both wet and dry food and gets 3 to 4 Greenies each day. She has very white, pearly teeth. I don't think she's ever had bad breath in her life.

Member 540615 answered on 4/24/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer