Vet Tutorial | How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

Vet Tutorial | How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

I’m Dr. Clayton Greenway with and what we’re going to show you today is how to brush your cat’s teeth. I really encourage you to watch our other videos about dental care and about how to introduce toothbrushing to a pet. So you’re going to want to start off very slowly. The first thing is is you really just want your cat to get used to you feeling around its mouth. Always keep in mind that you want to be as safe as possible. Even though your cat is friendly to you in most circumstances when you start doing this it could stress them out and you don’t want to get bitten. If there’s fear of that then I don’t want you to incorporate this into your routine with your pet. So first we just want to massage the lips a little bit. When you do this, you’ll figure out how your cat reacts. The way I’m holding Kiwi is very important. When you come at them face-first it tends to scare them so I actually come over top of the head and as she just did there she’s trying to backup. So if I stand behind her then she’s only backing up into me and I have a little better control over. First you want to start just by placing some toothpaste on your finger and putting it in front of her just to see if she has an interest in the taste of the toothpaste and whether she’ll lick it or eat it and you can try this many times before you actually advance to the next stage. Next you’ll want to actually try rubbing her teeth with your finger. Now It’s important to know that the Tartar accumulates on the outside of the teeth so you have to take your pet and try to open its mouth. When you do that they do get quite frustrated so what we’re going to do is we’re just gonna rub the outside of the teeth by keeping the mouth closed. So if we actually hold her head like this we can hold her lower jaw and the top of her head we have a pretty good control over her and also her mouth is properly positioned for this for me to slip my finger past her lips and just rub along the side of her teeth like this. So this is the first time I’m trying this with Kiwi and you can see she’s already fairly accepting of it. Once you’ve spent many days doing that and getting to the point that your cat is accepting of that you can then move onto a tooth brush. You can put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and you can do the same motion. This is the first time again that I’m doing this with Kiwi and she’s already accepting of it but the more you do it and the slower you go she’ll accept it better and you’ll get better at it. I recommend that clients brush their pet’s teeth every day and I know that we all have busy schedules so what’s most important to me is that I make it easy because I know if it’s difficult, clients won’t be consistent with it. So make it as easy as possible and then you’ll do it more consistently. If you can’t brush your pet’s teeth as much as four or five times a week really the value of it goes way down. If you’re going to a groomer once a month and they’re actually brushing the teeth I don’t see a lot of value to that. We have to think of it in terms of our teeth. We brush our teeth everyday, two or three times a day and it’s no different for pets. We want to try to do the same thing but doing it once a day is going to be fantastic and it’s really going to improve their dental healthcare overtime and limit your need for dental cleanings or getting into tooth decay and expensive tooth extractions. So try to put it into your routine on a daily basis, try to get them to accept it by going very very slowly and rewarding them with lots of love and treats all the way along. If you’re able to do this you’re going to be providing fantastic care for your pet and cutting down on your veterinary bills so good luck and you can read more and watch our videos here at

Author: Kevin Mason

94 thoughts on “Vet Tutorial | How to Brush a Cat’s Teeth

  1. my cat is nowhere near as patient as the cat in this video. he won't allow it. its often not as easy as it looks

  2. Omg, this video helped me conquer brushing my cats teeths!  I never thought it was possible. You rule! Thanks!

  3. It would be helpful to see what is it that we are actually removing? I know it is called tartar, but what does it look like? The toothbrush on kiwi looks brown after you brush her teeth. That's why I am asking.

  4. I really love that you showed a successful way to brush a cat's teeth with a first timer cat. Other videos make it seem like old hat or on the flip side show how the cat is resistant the first time. Appreciate your sharing your expertise. Definitely helped me with mine and we are on a nightly routine now. Thank you!

  5. Can you provide a link or a name for the toothbrush used. The ones I find look way to big and bulky for a cats mouth.

  6. My cat has been a huge pain about this. Excited to try and see how this works. Had to give her a bath today because she had some litter box issues… So she's still kinda peeved at me. Going to start with this tonight or tomorrow. I know it still won't be as easy as cute little Kiwi, but I know this will decrease the pains a lot. Thanks for the great tips!

  7. I've been consistent brushing my cats teeth from the side and front, but neglected the way back teeth and the inside portion of her teeth. I let my cat chew on a rubbery brush with her toothpaste on it. Is this good enough to reach the inside and back teeth? She will not let me pay her mouth open and bats my hand away from every angle. I'm not afraid of her biting or scratching but she it persistent.

  8. Kiwi is a much better recipient of dental care than my Lili Marleen is (Bengal). Does NOT like my fingers near her mouth. ha.

  9. Great helpful video! I will be using a cat toothpaste, but would it be okay to use a soft human toothbrush?

  10. my cats been chewing on my toothbrushes her entire life. she's old now and I'm brushing her teeth with a kitty toothbrush. But I don't want to use tuna flavored toothpaste. Isn't coconut oil great for their teeth? I've heard it is

  11. Honestly, my Max was a nightmare with this at first, and with my busy schedule, I don't have the time or life-organization to introduce him to it over the course of many weeks, so I sort of dove right in an expedited way from day 1: introduce the paste, day 2: introduce the brush, day 3: brush with paste.

    Thankfully, he was never a biter, and when he "play-nibbles," as I call it, it doesn't even kill the little bugs he likes to play with around the house (was rejected by mother, so he didn't even get the few weeks of rough play with his littermates that lots of kittens get even though they get adopted out at ~2 months).

    He is an escape artist, though, and no matter how firmly I held him, he managed to wriggle out of my arms (pretty amazing, as I'm a relatively strong and healthy 30 year old man). But I can say, if you commit to regular brushing ,somehow cats seem to become aware that not only is it going to be a regular part of their lives but also that it is somehow something that might be good for them (who knows, it surely seems that way with Max now, as he now seems to welcome and, dare I say, even look forward to the free, gentle, TLC).

    I believe if you one sticks with it, one's cat will start to become MUCH easier to brush over a time period that is a lot shorter than you'd expect. Either that or Max is just a special case and it might take a tad longer.

  12. Great video. Unfortunately, I did not know you could do this for your cat as my Vet never told me to do this with her until much later in my cat's life and by that point in time, it was too difficult for me to try this with her as she was always fiesty and so, her teeth ended up having a lot tarter. Getting her teeth cleaned earlier was not an option as it was very expensive. So I had to leave it. Still, my cat lived a long life to 18 years, and just recently had to be put to sleep as her health had deteriorated significantly. It was very hard to let her go but had to do it to end her suffering.

  13. Thumbs up on the video and thanks to Zancat19 on the toothpaste. I'd suggest everyone do some searches about the bacteria in a cats mouth. I did, after a minor bite on my arm became infected. After that antibiotic experience, there's no way I'd try to brush my cat's teeth. In fact, I believe my vet puts the cat to sleep for a little while.

  14. Kiwi hates him. He must not have to live with Kiwi. Kiwi is just going along until her escape plan has been mapped in her furry head.

    My cat would SHRED ME if I only gave her a BS human toothbrush without treats.

  15. The cat in the video looks like a twin to mine. I only wish mine was as calm when it comes to this stuff. I'm usually the one bleeding at some point

  16. Good thing I touch my kittens everywhere so they got use to me doing things to them. I'm going to start brushing in a week. It shouldn't be too hard. I hope they make brushes for kittens. I think ones for cats will be too big for their tinny mouths.

  17. I gave my kitten a smudge of cat toothpaste to sample because she wouldn't take it herself and she licked and licked and licked at her mouth (like as if she had a wad of peanut butter in there) until she was drooling. I don't think she likes the paste lol.

  18. To be honest, I've never done this to my 6 year old cat and I am kinda afraid how he might react. Are there many cons that I've never brushed his teeth for his health? Maybe I should do it… better now than never. :/

  19. Can you recommend a toothpaste? I've heard specific ones with enzymes are great for felines who dislike having their back teeth brushes. Sometimes it's as simple as just feeding them a pea size of the toothpaste and no brush?

  20. I have never in my entire life ever heard of ANYONE brushing their cat’s teeth every day. Who has time for that?

  21. This man should not be a vet because toothpaste for people should never be given to cats because it has toxic ingredients that is not supposed to be consumed that's why people spit it out there are special toothpaste made only for cats and dogs which is safe for cats and dogs to swallow and you can buy it from your vet please pass my message around and keep our cats and dogs safe

  22. I am about to start cleaning my cats teeth, my cat won't be as docile as Kiwi, i think my cat will rip my arm off Puma like, he is a bit scary, i am a big man but my petrifies me as i have seen what he can do to our local Magpie population, ah well, here goes nothing.

  23. Truth be told, I didn't even know brushing a cat's teeth was a thing. No cat owner I know does this. I have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old and our vet has never recommended this at all to either of them, even after we took the 1 yr old in for bad breath. Can I get more info on where to get the supplies to brush my cats' teeth, and whether or not we should be brushing their back teeth too?

  24. I just squat behind mine and have her trapped her and then I started with finger toothbrush then third day on toothbrush – she got used to it on third day – always speak nicely while doing it –

  25. My cat is 5 years old and today I found out she had a nasty plaque built up and now she will lose 3 teeth :(. So yeah, indoor cats need brushing. And also don't give wet food daily as I did, but once a week. This was my biggest mistake and now she has to pay for it ;(

  26. Just noticed my cat's gums are very red. In spite of paying close attention to their diet and keeping them uber healthy in other ways, sadly I've not thought to practice daily gum & tooth care. Have just placed an order for toothbrush & toothpaste for cats, which arrives tomorrow. Will start the finger application for several days before attempting the toothbrush. Thank you for this video. I now have the confidence to start her treatments asap.

  27. Tooth paste is poisoness to cats and dogs. Xylotol is VERY VERY TOXIC to animals, you didn't even specify the type of tooth paste. DO NOT BRUSH YOUR PETS TEETH WITH TOOTHPASTE. USE a rag with luke warm water and just rub it. It will get the tarter off of your pets teeth.

  28. I laughed and laughed and laughed. My cat laughed and laughed with me. I enjoy having ten fingers and two hands, he enjoys me not putting my hands in his mouth. I tried giving him his meds once. ONCE. The next seven days the vet did it. 😉

  29. Okay if I brushed his teeth with a cat toothpaste do I leave it and the cat just eat it or should i wet my finger and try to clean the toothpaste with water? Plzz anyone help 😟💔

  30. I have a Maine Coon kitten (18-weeks old), and he did just “ok” with his teeth brushing. He’s teething, so his gums are very swollen and look sore (he can be very bitey!), which is why we got appropriate toys. What’s your opinion on Tempatations Dental Oral Care treats (and the furr ball control treats – since it’s a Maine Coon!). Anyway, I try to massage his gums when I can. Sometimes he’s okay with it, sometimes he’s not in the mood. Do you think 18-weeks is too old to start? Maine Coons can only go to their Forever Home after 12-weeks old as you know). How often should I brush his teeth? I used a human toothbrush (Extra Sensitive), applying very little pressure (if any at all! Not many teeth to speak of just yet!). How do I get to and brush the inside the top and inside the bottom teeth? Btw, I’m NOT using toothpaste! What type and brand should I use? I’ve never seen any at the Per Store.

  31. Question; how effective are dental snacks? can they replace brushing? should I brush my cat's teeth and use snacks once a day? maybe alternate? I am curious if there is a benefit of combining them or just using one or the other and thats it, thanks for the video ! :))

  32. Thank you for this video!! I just successfully rubbed cat toothpaste and begin to brush my 16 year old cats for the first time on the first try!! Didn't get to brush his molars very much but I rubbed them with the toothpaste super well!! Thank you Dr. Greenway!

  33. This is an excellent tutorial. I try to brush my cat Lola's teeth (I use only special cat toothpaste) but I should have started slower just like Dr. Greenway suggested. I understand that the position matters as far as his being behind the cat and gently getting the cat to get accustomed to you rubbing gently and gradually getting to the brush. This cat is unbelievable in that he/she lets him use the brush the same day. I got a lot out of this and I hope others will too. Good luck to all you loving cat owners!

  34. What should I do if he really just will not let me brush his teeth? He's 5 now and unfortunately we didn't realise how important dental care for cats was until he unfortunately got orofacial pain syndrome and needed some teeth taken out. We had him when I was 16 so back then I also just didn't really know the importance. Due to him being 5 its even more difficult to brush his teeth. If I'm lucky I can get his 2 fangs but I can't get anywhere near all the rest such as his back teeth and rest of his top and bottom row. I'm really at a loss at what to do now and I'm scared he'll get more dental issues 🙁

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