Kitten Basics: Taking Care of Your Kitten’s Oral Health
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Taking care of a kitten is a big responsibility. But in addition to nutritious food, a warm place to sleep and plenty of play time, did you know kittens also need their teeth cleaned on a daily basis? Seventy percent of cats show signs of oral and dental disease by age 3 — but that doesn’t mean your kitten has to be among them. Here’s what you can do to take care of your kitten’s oral health.
Your Kitten’s Dental Needs
There are three preventive measures you can take to ensure your pet’s oral hygiene doesn’t become a problem. They’re often referred to as the three D’s:
The first step in taking care of your kitten’s oral health is daily brushing. When you brush your kitten’s teeth, you remove plaque and slow the development of tartar. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a finger brush, which is available at most pet stores. Don’t forget to reward your kitten afterward with plenty of praise and play time!
Just like you, your kitten could benefit from annual or semiannual teeth cleanings. Vets refer to the cleaning as a dental prophylaxis. Besides helping keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy, it’s the only way to remove tartar.
Dry food can be especially beneficial for oral health because the mechanical brushing action of dry kibble helps remove plaque and works to scrub your kitten’s teeth clean.
How to Tell If Your Kitten Has a Dental Problem
If you’re concerned about the health of your kitten’s teeth and mouth, keep an eye out for these signs of dental disease.
Look for Plaque and Tartar
More than 300 types of bacteria naturally reside inside your kitten’s mouth. And when she eats, small food particles and saliva combine with the bacteria to form plaque. If plaque is left on the teeth, calcium in your pet’s saliva hardens it, resulting in a hard yellow-brown deposit on her teeth called tartar.
Watch Your Kitten’s Behavior
Your kitten lets you know a lot about how she’s feeling through the way she behaves. The following behaviors can indicate an oral health issue or periodontal disease:
- Difficulty eating or chewing
- Excessive chewing
- Pawing at the mouth
- Reluctance to chew toys
Of course, a lot of these symptoms could signify other health issues, so it’s important to let a trained professional diagnose any health problems your pet may be having.
Nobody likes to deal with dental issues, your pet included. And even though your kitten can’t talk, that doesn’t mean she isn’t in pain. But if you’re armed with the three D’s of dental hygiene, your furry friend is sure to be happy and healthy for many years to come.
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- adp_description_block264Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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