- Dental treats are a combination between a special cat treat and a healthy cat supplement.
- They are dry foods that are designed with a more porous texture in order to achieve better oral health.
- The best dental treats are the Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats and the DentaLife Dental Cat Treats by Purina.
- Reward your cat with these kibbles daily but keep in mind that they should not replace her normal meal.
While regular brushing is the best way to maintain good dental health for your cat, there are also other ways to keep her teeth in good condition and prevent oral disease. What are these ways?
From dental treats to chews and dental diets, the market is over-saturated with products. However, not all of them are created equal, and using them comes with precautions.
Which one makes the biggest difference for your cat’s teeth, gums, and breath? What are the best cat dental treats and chews? Read on to find out what are the best ones and how to choose them.
What are the best cat dental treats in 2017? – Recommendations
When it comes to cat treats, there are a huge number of products with different purposes, types, shapes and flavors. It can definitely be time-consuming and even challenging to go through all of them and choose the one that can keep your cat’s teeth in perfect condition.
For this very reason, I have put this list together with the top 4 feline approved picks. Check out the following treats and select the one that will best suit your cat’s needs.
What are cat dental treats?
Many treats are available on the market and they are more useful than just spoiling our cats. We can use them as a positive reinforcement for training, as a reward for good behavior, as a distraction during grooming or as a trick to find them when they are hiding.
No matter what the cause is, we always find a way to spoil our cats with some tasty treats. On the other hand, there is a wide range of treats on the market nowadays with different types (from freeze dried nuggets to soft chews) and different price ranges (from budget options to positively gourmet).
They can differ in their purpose and their benefits as well. There are formulas for hairballs, urinary tract, skin/coat, hip/joint, stool odor reduction, weight control, digestive upset and finally there is the one that aids in dental health.
What are these dental treats?
Well, they are not just any ordinary treats for training or praising. As the name suggests, these treats are made to achieve better oral health. In fact, they are the perfect combination between a special cat treat and a healthy cat supplement for dental hygiene.
These dental treats are specifically made to scrub cats’ teeth clean and fight mouth bacteria while allowing the cat to enjoy chewing. They are usually dry foods that contain special ingredients and are designed with a more porous texture than traditional treats.
These products can be found in pet supply stores, supermarkets, vet clinics, and online shops in different cat-friendly flavors making this food an easy, tasty way to get a little more dental care into your cat’s everyday life.
Why do you need dental treats and chews?
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that cats do not need dental care as they are independent animals and by nature keep themselves clean. However, it is not true.
While cats in the wild have never required us to take care of their dental hygiene, our pampered domesticated cats do need us to help them keep their teeth clean, strong and healthy. Why? Because of the difference in their eating habits.
While in the wild, tearing through skin and bone removes these deposits from the cats’ teeth, domesticated cats no longer need to use their sharp teeth to hunt down their prey because they are provided with good quality commercial cat food. And, while these may provide them with the right vitamins and nutrients, they have no polishing effect on their teeth as a natural diet would have.
However, nowadays there are good quality dental treats and chews available that can basically achieve the same effect. These kibble products with a slightly abrasive texture are made to clean teeth, control bacteria, and exercise the teeth and jaws.
Due to the ingredients and texture that resists crumbling, chewing on this kind of food creates a brushing action on the teeth. As the food breaks up, the rough particles scrub the teeth’ surface that removes food particles and bacteria from the teeth.
Besides, this is not the only reason why dental treats are necessary for cats. Did you know that just like humans, cats can also have bad breath and experience different dental problems over time? In fact, studies have shown that more than 70% of cats show signs of some form of oral disease by the age of two to three.
Just like us, cats’ teeth can also accumulate bacteria, plaque and tartar which are all responsible for dental disease. So, they can definitely experience problems and can also have bad breath. These conditions are not only painful but the bacteria and infection present in their mouth can get into the bloodstream and spread to other vital organs leading to life-threatening situations.
However, dental treats and kibbles can help avoid these situations as they work by scraping plaque off the cats’ teeth and controlling tartar buildup while strengthening the gums. Some treats even contain vitamins, antiseptics and other useful ingredients that can fight mouth bacteria, get rid of bad breath and keep the mouth fresh and clean.
In consequence, adding some dental treats into your cat’s diet has great benefits, including:
- Cleaning teeth and promoting healthy gums
- Freshening bad breath
- Removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup
- Reducing the risk of infections
- Preventing future dental problems
- Improving oral health
- Keeping harmful bacteria away that could spread to various organs
- Contributing to overall health and well-being
- Ensuring the ability to continue good nutrition throughout life
- Increasing lifespan
- Lengthening the intervals between professional dental cleanings
- Reducing the veterinarian cost
So, while cat treats can be helpful in teaching or redirecting behavior, they can also help with dental disease and other issues. Add them to your cat’s daily oral care routine while making sure you know which ones actually help, which do nothing and which do harm.
GOT A KITTEN? – MUST KNOW
How to choose the right dental treat for your cat?
Pet food manufacturers offer a wide variety of cat treats so the market is saturated with all kinds of brands claiming to be the best in reducing plaque and tartar or improving breath. However, not all are created equal and some are more effective, safe and altogether better, while others are worse.
With so many options, it can be a daunting task to choose the right one that advantageously suits your cat’s needs. So, how do you choose? Before you pick up a bag of one of these oral care formulas, here are a few things to consider:
- Make sure it is formulated for cats and appropriate for your cat’s age. Some treats are made specifically for kittens while others are labeled as “adult cats only”.
- Pick the one that appears to be the right size for your cat. To make sure your cat gets the most benefit of eating, the treat should be big enough to encourage chewing.
- Look for treats with abrasive or fibrous textures to ensure that the treat serves its purpose and scrapes the teeth when chewing.
- Try to select a treat that is appropriately flavored for your cat. Be aware what she likes and pick the one that your cat will enjoy.
- Check the label and choose a treat that includes high-quality (preferably human-grade) ingredients with no cheap fillers, sugar, salt, chemicals or artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives.
- Avoid products that contain extra fat or calories meant to add palatability. Good dental treats should be low in calories to avoid obesity.
- Make sure that the product is designed to help with plaque and/or bad breath (depending on what’s your aim).
While these factors can provide a useful guideline, the choice of what you give to your cat will mostly depend on your cat’s sense of taste. Just make sure to invest in a good quality dental treat.
Preferably pick the one that has VOHC seal of approval so that you can be certain that it is a safe and effective dental health product for your cat.
Note: The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is an organization – created in 1999 – that serves to evaluate and certify the efficiency of dental care products to make sure they have the ability to control plaque and tartar.
All in all, before you decide to purchase a product, be aware and do a little research, read the ingredients and make sure the product is safe and can serve its purpose. And, if – by any chance – you are in doubt, ask your veterinarian for further advice.
What are the best dental treats for your cat?
Since giving the right type of product to your cat can help prevent serious oral health problems from developing, it is important that you pick one of the best ones.
As you start searching, you might find it hard and time-consuming to go through the choices. So, to save you time and make your decision easier, I have compiled the following list of some excellent dental treats available on the market today.
Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats
When it comes to dental care, the Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats are the best treat options. This product is not only recommended by veterinarians but also accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) for plaque and tartar reduction.
These dental treats are made in the form of chewable bites and come in a great variety of flavors – beef, chicken, ocean fish, salmon, tuna, and even catnip – to guarantee to be appealing even to the most finicky felines.
Apart from the tasty flavors, the treats are also filled with vitamins, minerals, taurine, chlorophyll and other natural, essential ingredients (without artificial flavors or preservatives) for optimum cat health.
Thanks to its unique shape and crunchy texture, this amazing product will not only clean your cat’s teeth, scrub away plaque and reduce tartar buildup, but will also get rid of unpleasant breath and will protect the teeth and gums by preventing future dental problems.
Moreover, they are low on calories and are perfectly safe and suitable for daily intake for cats of any size and breed over the age of 1 year. Feed your cat with these as a snack or treat with her regular diet for a balanced nutrition and daily dental care.
Last, but not least, these bites are very affordable and can make daily cat dental care a real, beneficial treat.
Purina DentaLife Dental Cat Treats
The DentaLife Dental Cat Treats product – produced in the USA by Purina (one of the main leading manufacturers of food items) – is just as excellent as the Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats. These treats are also accepted by the VOHC and are perfectly ideal for cats of all ages and breeds.
This Purina dry cat food is made without preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, but contains added calcium, vitamin E and taurine to make sure that our cats get the essential nutrients they need.
Each round kibble treat with its unique soft, crunchy, porous texture is specially designed to surround the cat’s teeth from all sides as she sinks her teeth into it. By this action the treat will add fun to your cat while controlling plaque and tartar buildup, cleaning her teeth effectively, helping to keep her gums healthy and freshening her breath.
In addition, the savory salmon or even the tasty chicken flavor will make your cat’s snack time an exciting adventure for her taste buds with each bite every day. However, while these treats are ideal for daily intake, do not forget that they should only be fed as a treat (and not a meal) in addition to your cat’s daily diet.
Offer these reasonably priced tasty and crunchy treats to your cat in addition to her well-balanced diet to make sure that she is enjoying the delicious flavor while she is getting the oral care she needs.
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats
Virbac is a very popular, trusted brand that offers a highly rated dental food: the Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Cats which combines several benefits in just one treat.
This product is specifically made for cats and come in poultry and fish flavors. Being larger than most dental treats (about an inch long), these chews encourage cats to chew through the fibrous texture and get their maximum benefit.
Each chew has a paper-like digestible coating that helps to scrape off plaque as the cat’s teeth perforates through it. After getting through the coating, the teeth are exposed to the dental enzymes in the center of the chew that help eliminate bacteria.
With this dual enzyme system these chews proved themselves to be very effective in keeping the teeth and gums healthy as well as in combating bad breath.
Although this product is a bit more expensive than other dental treats, it is definitely a great choice for providing overall good dental care on a daily basis.
Emerald Pet Cat Chicken Dental Grain Free Treats
Last but not least, there is the Emerald Pet Cat Chicken Dental Grain Free Treats that is absolutely worth a try as it is highly rated and loved by many cat parents.
This product is an all-natural formula (made in the USA) with less than 2 calories per treat that is grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, and has no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.
These fish shaped treats are big enough to encourage chewing which helps to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, promotes clean teeth, and freshens breath for maximum dental health.
To serve even the most picky felines, the Emerald dental treats come in several different flavors (catnip, salmon, tuna, chicken) for a very cheap price.
Tips for using dental cat treats
A special dental treat – just like any other treat – is a great way to show love and give some affection. However, there are things to consider when offering these treats to our cats:
- Give your cat dental treats often.
While occasional treats can be nice for your cat, they will not have any effect if not fed regularly. You can offer your cat dental treats even daily but keep in mind that they should not replace her daily normal meal.
- Moderation is always key when it comes to treats.
The calorie intake of treats should make up maximum 10% of your cat’s total daily calories, and as a general rule the smaller the cat, the fewer the treats. Since different treats contain between 1 to 20 calories per piece, be sure to read the label and limit how much your cat – especially if she is a smaller cat – eats at one time. For optimal dental care, you can offer around 8 to 10 pieces a day – but again, read the label to avoid obesity.
- Be cautious and supervise.
As with any edible product, watch your cat when giving her new treats to prevent choking and blockage. Monitor her to ensure the treat is adequately chewed and watch for signs of stomach irritation. Be cautious and if you notice anything out of ordinary, contact your veterinarian to ensure your cat’s safety.
- Provide enough water.
Since these treats are typically dry, your cat will need plenty of water. Provide her adequate fresh water in a clean bowl at all times.
- Contact your veterinarian.
Just with any other type of food, it is always wise to ask your veterinarian before adding new type of treats into your cat’s diet.
Other options – What else can you use to keep your cat’s teeth clean and her mouth healthy?
While dental treats are one of the most convenient options to keep your cat’s teeth in good condition, they should only work as a supplement to regular dental care and should not be relied on solely for dental prevention.
To achieve the best results in your cat’s oral hygiene, you need to combine the following methods:
- Provide appropriate nutrition.
Give your cat good quality wet food and include some dry food or kibble in her diet. Give her raw bones (preferably chicken wings, ribs, or necks) and avoid table scraps and sugary food. You can also offer enzymes and probiotics along with fresh cat grass to chew on.
- Brush your cat’s teeth.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent dental and other problems and keep your cat healthy is the gold standard tooth brushing. Brush your cat’s teeth at the same time each day – or at least 3-4 times a week.
- Examine your cat’s mouth.
To keep your cat pain-free and catch dental disease in the early stages, you also need to examine her face and breath, look inside her mouth and inspect her teeth and gums regularly – at least once a week.
- Use special dental products.
Apart from dental treats there are various products available that can help you combat bad breath and reduce plaque and tartar buildup. For instance, you can feed your cat special dental diet or food supplements, you can use oral rinses, mouth sprays or water additives and you can also provide her with dental toys.
- Take your cat to the vet.
Although cats that are allowed to chew on dental treats have been shown to have reduced amounts of plaque and tartar, it should not mean your cat will never need to go to the veterinarian. It can indeed increase the time in between vet visits but a thorough dental checkup – and possibly professional dental cleaning – is the only way to make sure her oral and overall health is in tip top condition.
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Final thoughts on cat dental treats
Cats are reward-driven creatures; thus, they love treats. And, we also like to spoil them with lots of treats for any occasion. So why not choose the ones that can also provide dental health benefits?
Reward your cat’s good behavior with one of the best cat dental treats (like the Greenies, DentaLife by Purina, Virbac chews or Emerald all-natural treats) that also improves oral health.
While these are good in moderation and work very well in pair with regular tooth brushing, they should not be the only way of your cat’s teeth cleaning regime. They are simply supplements to a healthy, balanced and varied diet.
However, do not forget, these dental treats and chews can be absolutely beneficial and are good add-ons to regular oral care. So, combine the use of crunchy dental treats with brushing and other teeth cleaning techniques to give your cat the best dental care that she needs.