The Best Dental Treats for Cats to Maintain Good Oral Health

Here are the best dental treats for cats we’ll be covering:

Affecting 70 percent of cats over the age of two and 85 percent of cats over the age of five, dental disease is one of the most common health problems in cats. Caused by the buildup of food and bacteria on the teeth and gums, dental disease can lead to more serious and life-threatening conditions. Thus, it is important to do whatever you can to keep your cat’s teeth clean.

Dental treats are one possible way to reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth. But how can you be sure that they actually work? This article will provide information about the benefits of cat dental treats, how to use them, and what to look for when choosing the best dental treats for cats.

Do dental treats for cats work?

The concept behind dental treats for cats is fairly straightforward. Formulated with an abrasive texture to mimic brushing, they consist of large-sized biscuits to encourage chewing. They come in a variety of feline-friendly shapes and flavors and include ingredients designed to promote oral health.

While there are no conclusive studies that prove they are beneficial, evidence suggests that dental treats might help keep your cat’s teeth clean. As long as they don’t contain unhealthy ingredients or too many calories, cat dental chews will probably do more good than harm. However, dental treats are not a substitute for brushing and vet care.

Not all dental treats for cats are equal. Low-quality dental chews that claim to freshen breath might be suspect. When choosing the best dental treats for cats, look for products that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), that require chewing, that are grain-free, and that have no artificial flavors or colors.

How many dental treats should I give my cat?

The correct number of dental treats depends on the type of treat and the size of your cat. Each product has a different recommendation, so it is important to follow the directions on the package. The suggested number of treats can be anywhere from 3 to 17 per day. 

In order to prevent weight gain, it is important not to give your cat too many treats. The calorie count of daily meals should be adjusted according to the number of treats given. Generally speaking, it is best to limit treats to less than 10 percent of your cat’s daily calorie intake. 

Of course, dental treats won’t work if your cat won’t eat them. Thus, it is important to find a flavor, shape, and consistency that your cat will find irresistible. Cat dental treats come in a variety of flavors ranging from catnip to salmon, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a treat that your cat will love. 

Do homemade cat dental treats work? 

If you prefer a homemade version of cat dental treats, you might try giving your cat raw soft bones like chicken neck to chew on. Chomping on raw bones can help remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Just be sure that you never give your cat cooked hard bones. These are very dangerous because they splinter and damage a cat’s stomach and intestines.

Our recommendation for the best dental treats for cats

With so many products to choose from, how can you decide which dental treats are best? Some things to consider are taste, vitamin content, quality, morsel size, texture, and ingredients. The most effective dental treats are tasty, textured, and large enough to prevent a cat from swallowing them whole.

Crunchy treats control tartar better than soft treats. Try to avoid treats with unnecessary additives or that are high in calories. Also, keep in mind that treats alone are not sufficient to maintain dental hygiene. Brushing and annual dental checkups are highly recommended. 

To help you get started, here are descriptions of a few popular cat dental treats with pros and cons for each one.

Virbac C.E.T. Intellident Cat Bites 

Considered a top-of-the-line dental treat for cats, Virbac C.E.T. cat bites are a popular choice. Made by Virbac, a well-known and highly respected pet food company, these treats offer 3-in-1 dental support. In addition to cleaning teeth and freshening breath, they also support gum health.

These crunchy cat bites are a healthy and delicious snack that most cats love. Low in fat and with no artificial preservatives, they add less than 8 calories per day to your cat’s diet. Just three treats a day are recommended. They work with your cat’s natural chewing action to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. 

Pros: Only need three chews per day, supports gum health, low in calories

Cons: Not all cats like the taste, new formula is less tasty for some cats

Feline Greenies Dental Care Cat Treats 

The # 1 vet-recommended brand, Greenies are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). The size, shape, and texture of the pieces are designed to keep teeth clean, reduce buildup, and freshen breath. Most cats love these crunchy catnip-flavored dental treats.

You can purchase Greenies in a convenient 9.75 oz. tub. Made from natural ingredients with no artificial flavors or preservatives, these treats are nutritionally balanced for adult cats. They are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein. 

If catnip isn’t enticing for your cat, there are other flavors to choose from. At less than 2 calories per treat, you won’t have to worry too much about weight gain. A 10-lb cat can have eight treats twice a day. Just be sure to adjust your cat’s meals to compensate for the extra calories. 

Pros: Cats love them, freshen breath, variety of flavors, part of complete and balanced diet, natural, unique shape and texture, contain vitamins and minerals

Cons: Expensive, but will save money in the long run, lid pops off, container not airtight

Purina DentaLife Adult Dental Cat Treats 

These dental treats by Purina have a unique porous texture and come in large-sized pieces designed to reduce tartar. Softer than other dental treats, these cat treats can be penetrated by a cat’s teeth. During the chewing process, the treats come into contact with all sides of a cat’s teeth. 

Available in two cat-friendly flavors, salmon and chicken, they contain no artificial colors or flavors. Important nutrients, such as calcium, protein, and taurine, an essential amino acid for cats, are added.

Made in the USA and accepted by the VOHC, Purina DentaLife treats meet high standards for quality and safety. You can give your cat up to 17 treats per day. If you are looking for a dental treat that is backed by science, this might be the best choice.

Pros: Porous texture, made in the USA, backed by science, accepted by VOHC, available in choice of flavors, good tasting, calcium and taurine are included

Cons: Pieces are too big and hard for some cats, some cats don’t like flavors, contains corn and grains, not all-natural, not designed to freshen breath

Emerald Pet Dental Grain Free Cat Treats 

These cat dental treats promise to freshen breath and reduce plaque. Made in the USA from premium ingredients, they are free of grain, allergens, gluten, soy, sugar, and dairy. They come in six different cat-pleasing flavors.

Made by Emerald, a family-owned company, these delicious-tasting treats are natural and healthy for cats. Shaped like fish and large enough to encourage chewing rather than swallowing whole, the pieces are intended to massage the gums and clean the teeth. 

The feeding recommendations for these treats depend on your cat’s weight. A 5-10 pound cat should have 6-9 treats, a 10-15 pound cat should have 10-14 treats, while cats over 15 pounds should have no more than 15 treats per day. They are less than 2 calories per treat. If you prefer grain-free product or your cat has allergies, these treats are a great option.

Pros: Made in the USA, no artificial ingredients, good for sensitive tummies

Cons: Some cats don’t like new formula, pieces are small and can be swallowed whole

Minties Dental Cat Treats 

Made in the USA, these treats are designed to freshen your cat’s breath and to scrape away plaque. They contain sodium hexametaphosphate to clean teeth and catnip to freshen breath. They come in two flavors, salmon and chicken. Many cats love the crunchy texture of these cat treats. 

Cat owners will be pleased that these treats are healthy and free of artificial flavors, grains, wheat, soy, and corn. Even some cats that typically ignore treats seem to love them. They are a perfect choice for cats with allergies or sensitive tummies.

Pros: Freshens breath, high in protein, crunchy texture, made in the USA

Cons: Bag is small, may be too hard for some cats, minty scent deters some cats

Caring for your cat’s oral hygiene and health

Should I brush my cat’s teeth? How can I keep my cat’s teeth clean without brushing?

If your cat will let you do it, brushing her teeth is one of the best ways to improve dental hygiene, prevent bad breath, and keep her teeth and gums clean and healthy. Be sure to use special cat toothpaste and toothbrushes designed for this purpose. Beginning when she is young is a great way to get your cat used to toothbrushing.

For cats that simply won’t put up with having their teeth brushed, there are other things you can try. Supplements that reduce inflammation, cat dental wipes, special diets, chew toys, dental sprays, water additives, and dental treats are a few options.

What can I feed a cat with dental problems?

Choosing the right diet for a cat with dental problems is complicated. Commercial and prescription dental diets consist of large, textured pieces of kibble that are designed to remove plaque during chewing. Wet food with special chunks is meant to increase tooth penetration and provide an abrasive action.

However, dental foods might not work because cats tend to swallow their food whole. Thus, it might be more effective to feed your cat a diet of highly nutritious cat food that is rich in moisture and grain free. Because high-quality diets are better for a cat’s overall health, they might be more beneficial for cats with dental problems than commercial dental diets.

Which is better for a cat’s teeth: Wet or dry food? Does wet food ruin a cat’s teeth?

There is a longstanding debate over which is better for a cat’s teeth, wet or dry food. Many people believe that dry food is better than wet food for dental health because of the abrasive action that it provides. Some fear that feeding wet food will ruin a cat’s teeth. 

While it may be true that dry food provides some teeth-cleaning abrasion, it still might not be the best choice for all cats. Cats with pre-existing dental problems are likely to have a hard time eating dry food. In these cases, it is important to offer your cat canned food.

Also, kibble can sit on teeth for a long time while canned food might help wash away plaque with its moisture. More similar to what cats prey on in the wild, canned food is probably better for keeping cats hydrated and promoting better health overall. At the end of the day, the structure of the food is more important than whether it is wet or dry. 

Using Pet Water Additives

Pet water additives are an easy way to help your cat’s teeth stay clean. These additives, when mixed into a cat’s water, can help reduce plaque and freshen breath. As long as your cat doesn’t mind the taste and continues drinking a sufficient amount of water, these are a safe and convenient way to improve dental health.

Oxyfresh Dental Care Water Additive is one water additive you might want to try if you have a picky cat. This water additive is 100 percent non-toxic, odorless, and tasteless. It is made in the USA and recommended by veterinarians to fight plaque and tartar and to stop bad breath.

As you can see, cat dental treats are one of many things to try if you are looking for ways to improve your cat’s dental health.