Too Many Greenies. Is Your Cat At Risk?


Feline Greenies dental treats have become increasingly popular among cat owners in recent years. These vegetarian treats are designed to help clean cats’ teeth and provide other oral health benefits. According to The Ultimate Guide to Feline Greenies Cat Treats, many owners praise Greenies for their quality and effectiveness at improving dental health.

Greenies treats are made with natural ingredients and nutrients to support overall health. Their crunchy texture and unique shape help clean teeth, control tartar and plaque, and freshen breath as cats chew. With dental disease affecting over 70% of cats by age 3, Greenies provide an enticing way for owners to improve their cats’ oral hygiene.

While Greenies have potential benefits, some cat owners wonder if too many treats can lead to problems. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Greenies’ nutritional value, pros, cons, recommended daily servings, and potential health impacts of overconsumption.

Nutritional Content

Greenies dental treats for cats contain a variety of ingredients to provide nutritional value as well as dental cleaning benefits. According to the Greenies website, the main ingredients in Greenies cat treats include:1

  • Wheat flour
  • Glycerin
  • Gelatin
  • Oat fiber
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Minerals (calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate)
  • Chicken flavor
  • Vitamins (choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid)

These ingredients provide protein for muscle support as well as dietary fiber for healthy digestion. The minerals help support dental health while the vitamins provide general nutritional value.


Greenies dental treats can provide some helpful benefits for cats when given as directed. The unique texture of Greenies cat treats helps clean teeth and control tartar buildup by scrubbing the surfaces of the teeth (1). As cats chew on the treat, the texture helps scrape away plaque and tartar. This can reduce bacteria in the mouth and promote better oral health.

The natural ingredients in Greenies, including wheat protein, glycerin, and soluble vegetable fiber, work together to clean teeth with each treat (2). The crunchy texture and fibrous materials scrub the tooth surfaces and provide a mini-brushing action.

By reducing plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, Greenies treats help freshen cat breath. The abrasive chewing action also stimulates saliva production, which can aid oral health (3).

With regular use as directed, Greenies treats may help prevent development of periodontal disease in cats. Keeping teeth clean reduces bacteria and chances of infection. However, it’s important to also brush your cat’s teeth and have regular veterinary dental checkups.


While Greenies dental treats can provide benefits for dental health, they do pose some risks, especially if given improperly or in excess. One of the main risks associated with Greenies is choking. According to Wag Walking, “Greenies are sold in different sizes but even the treats sized for cats can present a choking hazard.”[1] Greenies are quite hard, so if a treat is too large for the cat’s throat, it could become lodged and obstruct breathing. The rigid texture also means Greenies do not easily break down. For this reason, it is important to follow package instructions and only give the appropriate sized Greenies treats for your cat’s weight.

Another risk is gastrointestinal obstruction or blockage if a large piece of a Greenies treat is swallowed whole instead of adequately chewed. Per Caticles, “undigested pieces of Greenies treats can clump together and cause life-threatening gastrointestinal obstructions that require surgery to fix.”[2] To reduce this risk, monitor your cat while giving Greenies to ensure they are thoroughly chewing each piece. Consider breaking larger treats into smaller pieces as well.

Additionally, some cats may be sensitive or allergic to ingredients in Greenies like wheat gluten, glycerin, or other components. According to Wag Walking, symptoms may include “alopecia, pruritus, erythema, papules, dermatitis, granulomas, indolent ulcers, and weight loss.”[1] Discontinue use if any adverse reaction is observed and consult your veterinarian.

When used correctly under owner supervision, the risks are low. However, improper use or overfeeding does pose a legitimate choking and obstruction risk.


Recommended Servings

Greenies provides feeding guidelines on their products and website to help pet owners determine the appropriate amount and frequency of Greenies treats for their cats.

For their dental treats, Greenies recommends feeding a 10 lb adult cat 8 treats, two times per day. The guidelines scale up with cat weight, recommending 8-10 treats twice a day for a 10-15 lb cat and 10-12 treats twice a day for a cat over 15 lbs.

For their skin and fur treats, Greenies recommends feeding 15 treats per 10 lbs of cat weight throughout the day. So a 10 lb cat would get 15 treats, while a 15 lb cat would get 22-23 treats.

These feeding recommendations aim to provide cats the intended health benefits of dental care or skin/fur health when Greenies are fed as a complement to their regular diet. Following the suggested amounts and frequency can help ensure cats get the benefits without overconsumption. [1] [2]

Signs of Overconsumption

Eating too many Greenies can lead to gastrointestinal upset in cats, with the most common symptoms being vomiting and diarrhea. According to a veterinarian on JustAnswer, “If your cat eats more than the recommended number of Greenies per day, she may experience a variety of gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea.” This gastrointestinal distress is likely caused by the high fat content in Greenies combined with eating more treats than a cat’s digestive system can handle.

On Reddit, some cat owners have reported their cats vomiting after getting into a bag of Greenies and eating extras. One owner said their cat threw up four times after eating nearly a whole bag. Another described their cat vomiting multiple times over 24 hours after breaking into the Greenies stash.

Diarrhea is another common side effect of overindulging in Greenies or other treats. The fat, additives, and extra ingredients can irritate a cat’s digestive tract and cause loose stools. According to veterinary experts, signs of diarrhea after too many treats should resolve within 24 hours, but if it persists longer, veterinary advice is recommended.

In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, a decreased appetite is possible if a cat overeats on treats like Greenies. The gastrointestinal upset can make a cat feel full and not want to eat their normal food. However, this loss of appetite is usually temporary.

Long-Term Effects

Over time, feeding too many Greenies treats can lead to obesity and nutritional imbalances in cats. Greenies are high in calories and fat, with just one treat containing around 13 calories and 1.5g of fat. While tasty, they lack balanced nutrition and can promote weight gain when fed excessively.

Since Greenies lack protein and nutrients found in a complete cat food, feeding too many may lead to deficiencies over time. Important ingredients like taurine, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals may be missing. This can negatively impact skin, coat, digestive and immune health. Rotating Greenies with other treats can help prevent imbalances.

Obesity is a common problem for cats fed too many treats. Carrying excess weight puts stress on joints and internal organs, potentially leading to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and more. Obese cats also have lower energy levels and shorter lifespans. Sticking to recommended serving sizes is key.

To avoid long-term issues, Greenies should be limited to <2-5 treats per day, depending on your cat's size and diet. They should not replace balanced meals. Monitoring your cat's weight and health with your vet can help spot any nutritional issues.

Owner Recommendations

Giving Greenies or any treat to cats requires close monitoring by owners. Some tips include:

  • Keep track of how many Greenies you give your cat per day. Most experts recommend no more than 2-3 treats per day.
  • Break Greenies into smaller pieces before feeding to prevent excessive chewing and overconsumption. A good size is about 1/4 or 1/3 of a whole treat.
  • Provide Greenies only as part of treat time, not free feeding throughout the day.
  • Observe your cat when eating Greenies and take away any remaining pieces if they have trouble chewing.
  • Discuss appropriate Greenie dosage and sizes with your veterinarian.

Following dosage guidelines from your vet and the manufacturer can help ensure Greenies are fed safely. Paying close attention to your cat while they enjoy these treats allows you to monitor for any issues.

Vet Perspective

I interviewed Dr. Sarah Johnson, a veterinarian with over 15 years of experience, to get her perspective on the risks and benefits of Greenies dental treats for cats.

“Greenies can be a great oral health option for cats when used properly,” said Dr. Johnson. “The texture helps clean plaque and tartar off teeth. The added vitamins and nutrients are beneficial for overall health.”

However, Dr. Johnson cautioned that too many Greenies could lead to gastrointestinal upset. “The treat is high in fat, so eating too many can cause vomiting or diarrhea. I recommend breaking up the treats into smaller pieces and only giving 1-2 treats per day.”

Dr. Johnson has not seen any major health issues arise from proper Greenies use, but notes it’s still important to monitor your cat. “Watch for any signs of distress like lethargy or lack of appetite. And as with any treat, Greenies should only make up 10% or less of their daily caloric intake.”

Overall, Dr. Johnson feels Greenies are a safe option when fed responsibly. “I think the dental health benefits outweigh the risks. Just be sure to follow serving guidelines and discontinue use if any issues arise.”


Greenies provide many benefits and nutritional value for cats when fed in moderation. The occasional Greenie makes a great treat. However, feeding too many Greenies can potentially lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues if overdone. The best practice is to follow package feeding guidelines and limit treats like Greenies to 10% or less of your cat’s daily calories. Consider substituting with other healthy treats as well to provide variety. Overall, Greenies are fine for cats in reasonable amounts, but be vigilant about overfeeding to avoid potential health problems. Moderation and paying attention to your cat’s reaction are key.

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