Greenies for Cats. Are They Safe or Dangerous?


Greenies are dental treats that are marketed for cats and dogs. The treats were created by S&M NuTec LLC and come in a variety of flavors, textures, and sizes. Greenies are designed to help clean pets’ teeth and freshen their breath while providing enjoyment from eating a tasty treat.

For cats, Greenies come in a unique fish shape and have a crunchy texture. They are intended to help clean cats’ teeth by reducing tartar buildup as the cat chews on the treat. The abrasive texture helps scrape away plaque and tartar while the treat’s shape reaches the back teeth. Greenies for cats also contain added vitamins, minerals, and taurine. By promoting dental health, Greenies aims to support cats’ overall health and wellbeing.

Greenies Ingredients

Greenies contain the following main ingredients:

  • Wheat flour – Provides texture and structure
  • Glycerin – Binder and humectant
  • Gelatin – Binding agent
  • Oat fiber – Provides texture
  • Sodium caseinate – Binder
  • Soybean oil – Provides fat and texture
  • Natural flavors – Enhances palatability
  • Dicalcium phosphate – Anti-caking agent
  • Stearic acid – Hardens and preserves shape
  • Silicon dioxide – Anti-caking agent

Greenies contain several carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as their main ingredients. These provide structure, texture, moisture, flavor, and preservative properties. The ingredients help form the chewy, toothbrush-like shape.


Benefits of Greenies

One of the main benefits of Greenies dental treats for cats is that they help clean teeth and freshen breath. The unique texture of Greenies works to fight plaque and tartar as cats chew (Greenies, 2022). The treats are made with natural ingredients and are designed to be eaten daily as part of a dental care routine. According to Greenies, the texture and shape of the treats clean down to the gumline and work between teeth to reduce plaque, tartar, and bad breath (Greenies, 2022). Daily chewing action and abrasion from the treats helps scrub away plaque and tartar buildup. In addition to the mechanical cleaning, ingredients like sodium tripolyphosphate are claimed to help break down plaque biofilm and prevent tartar from hardening on the teeth.

Potential Choking Hazard

Some reports indicate that Greenies can present a choking risk for cats. One pet owner reported on an online forum that they gave their 6-year-old cat Holly and 4-month-old kitten Autumn each a Greenies dental treat. The kitten snatched one of the treats from the older cat and began choking on it before the owner intervened (The Cat Site, 2015).

According to veterinarian Dr. Kara on, there have also been some claims that there is a choking hazard associated with Feline Greenies. She notes that if the product is adequately chewed, the hazard should be minimal. However, some cats may try to swallow the treats whole, which could lead to choking (JustAnswer, 2011).

Overall, it’s important for pet owners to closely monitor their cats when giving Greenies treats to watch for signs of choking. Cutting the treats into smaller pieces may also reduce the choking risk.

Gastrointestinal Blockages

There have been some concerning reports of Greenies causing gastrointestinal blockages in cats. In 2006, the FDA began investigating adverse events related to Greenies after receiving reports of dogs experiencing esophageal or intestinal obstructions from the dental chews (

One Amazon reviewer reported their cat became lethargic and vomited after eating Greenies, and the vet informed them Greenies are known to sometimes cause intestinal blockage ( The vet recommended taking the cat to the emergency vet clinic due to the blockage.

According to veterinarians, the ingredients in Greenies can expand in a cat’s stomach and lead to dangerous blockages. It’s important for cat owners to research this risk before feeding Greenies.

Alternatives to Greenies

There are several alternative dental treats for cats that can help clean teeth and freshen breath. Some popular options include:

Purina DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dental Treats – These treats feature a crunchy texture and ridges to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. They contain minerals and ingredients to support oral health (Veterinary Approved Cat Dental Treats).

Royal Canin Oral Care Dental Treats – These small, X-shaped treats are designed to be chewed thoroughly, providing a scrubbing action on the teeth. They contain antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients to support dental health (Best Dental Cat Treats Of 2024).

Purina Dentalife Daily Dental Gel – This treat has a soft texture and comes in easy-to-dispense gel tubes. The gel coating adheres to teeth to help prevent plaque and tartar while providing a chicken flavor cats love.

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews – These chews contain an enzymatic system to help control plaque and tartar. They have a fish flavor and abrasive texture to clean teeth as cats chew.

Whiskas Dentabites – These treats contain polyphosphates and minerals to reduce calculus buildup. They have a tempting chicken flavor and crunchy texture.

Greenies Safety Tips

There are some precautions cat owners can take when feeding Greenies to reduce the risk of choking or gastrointestinal issues:

  • Follow the feeding guidelines on the package based on your cat’s weight. Do not overfeed.
  • Supervise your cat when giving Greenies as treats. Do not leave your cat unattended.
  • Break the treats into smaller pieces if your cat is a fast eater or tends to gulp treats whole.
  • Avoid giving Greenies to cats with known gastrointestinal issues or trouble chewing until consulting a veterinarian.
  • Store Greenies properly in a sealed container to maintain freshness.
  • Check Greenies regularly for signs of mold or spoilage and discard if any found.
  • Give your cat plenty of water to help swallow treats and aid digestion.
  • Stop feeding Greenies if you notice any signs of gastrointestinal distress or changes in stool and contact your veterinarian.

By monitoring consumption, adjusting treat size, and following feeding guidelines, cat owners can safely give their cats Greenies dental treats.

Veterinarian Recommendations

Many veterinarians recommend Greenies cat treats as a part of daily dental care routines for cats. According to the Greenies website, Greenies is the #1 vet-recommended feline dental treat. Vets often suggest giving cats one Greenie per day to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. The texture and shape of the treats are designed to clean teeth and freshen breath as cats chew.

However, some vets advise caution with Greenies or any chew-based treat. Vet Dr. Laci Schaibley states “I recommend all pet owners supervise their pets when giving any chew treats or bones” (Source). She advises monitoring cats while they enjoy Greenies to prevent overconsumption or choking.

Vets typically do not recommend Greenies for kittens under 1 year old, as their teeth and chewing muscles are still developing. For adult cats, vets suggest breaking the treats into smaller pieces if needed for your specific cat. Overall, many vets approve Greenies as part of dental care but recommend proper portion sizes and supervision especially for smaller cats.


According to the research and evidence presented, Greenies dental treats appear to be relatively safe for cats when given in moderation and under proper supervision. The main risks associated with Greenies are choking hazards and gastrointestinal blockages. However, these risks can be minimized by following some basic guidelines:

  • Only give the appropriately sized Greenies treats made specifically for cats.
  • Follow the feeding guidelines and do not exceed the recommended daily amount.
  • Monitor your cat when giving any treat or chew.
  • Stop feeding Greenies if your cat has any difficulty chewing or swallowing them.
  • Consult your veterinarian, especially if your cat has had any dental issues.

While no treat is 100% safe, Greenies do provide dental health benefits for cats when used responsibly under veterinary guidance. Pet owners should weigh the potential risks against the potential benefits. Overall, occasional supervised consumption of Greenies feline dental treats is unlikely to pose significant danger to most cats.


American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Are Greenies Safe For My Cat?” ASPCA Articles. 2023.

Nestle Purina. “Greenies Regular Dental Dog and Cat Treats.” PetSmart. 2023.

Jones, Lucy P. “Are Greenies Safe for Cats?” PetMD. 2022.

Siracusa, Christina. “Are Greenies Dangerous for Dogs and Cats?” American Kennel Club. 2021.

Tufts University Cummings Veterinary Medical Center. “The Dangers of Greenies Dental Chews.” Pet Health Topics. 2019.

Scroll to Top