Do Greenies Actually Improve Your Cat’s Dental Health?


Greenies are dental treats marketed to help clean cats’ teeth and control plaque and tartar. They are a popular dental chew supplement designed to be given to cats daily to improve oral health. Greenies contain ingredients like chlorophyll, mint, and parsley to give them their green color and aroma. They are marketed as an appealing treat for cats that also serves a dental health purpose. The textured surface and chewy consistency of Greenies is intended to scrape tartar off teeth and exercise the chewing muscles as the cat eats them. Their intended benefit is to reduce plaque buildup and keep teeth and gums healthy.

Composition of Greenies

Greenies dental treats for cats are made with natural ingredients like wheat protein, glycerin, and chlorophyll. According to the Greenies website, the main ingredients in Feline Greenies are wheat gluten, glycerin, gelatin, oat fiber, water, natural poultry flavor, minerals (dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride), vegetable oil, chlorophyll, and vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement).

While the exact proportions of each ingredient are proprietary, wheat gluten appears to be the primary ingredient. Glycerin acts as a softening agent and humectant. Gelatin and oat fiber provide texture and bulk. The minerals, chlorophyll, vitamins, and natural poultry flavor provide nutritional content and palatability.

Notably, Greenies dental treats do not contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They are designed to be highly soluble and easy to digest. The fibrous texture and active ingredients work mechanically to reduce tartar and plaque buildup as the cat chews.

Vet Recommendations

Many veterinarians recommend Greenies dental treats for cats to help clean teeth and control tartar buildup. According to NBC News, veterinarians suggest Feline Greenies as an effective dental treat for cats [1]. Greenies states on their website that their dental treats are the #1 veterinarian recommended feline dental treat [2]. Vets often recommend Greenies because the treat’s texture helps scrape away tartar and plaques as cats chew. The treats are also formulated to break down easily and not get stuck in a cat’s throat. However, veterinarians typically recommend giving Greenies in moderation as part of a dental regimen that also includes tooth brushing.

While many vets suggest Greenies, others express concerns due to some risks and limited research. Some vets prefer to recommend other dental treats or methods until more studies demonstrate Greenies’ safety and efficacy. However, Greenies remains one of the most commonly vet-recommended feline dental treats available.

Benefits for Dental Health

Greenies are designed to clean teeth and gums as cats chew on them. The unique texture helps scrape away tartar and plaque buildup on the surface of teeth (Greenies, n.d.). As cats chew, the treat reaches all surfaces of the teeth, including between teeth and along the gumline, helping to reduce plaque and freshen breath. The abrasive texture also gently scrapes away existing tartar deposits (Lake Cross Vet Hospital, 2020).

The mechanical chewing action helps stimulate the gums as well. This gum stimulation increases circulation to the gums, promoting gum health. The treat can reach the back teeth to help clean harder to reach spots. Providing dental treats daily helps maintain cleaner teeth and healthier gums over time.

Risks and Concerns

There are some risks and concerns to be aware of with Greenies dental treats for cats:

Choking hazard

Some cats (especially older cats or cats with bad teeth) may be at risk of choking on Greenies treats, as they can be quite hard and may break into sharp pieces ( Cats have died from choking on Greenies in the past, leading to recalls and recipe changes by the company ( It’s important to monitor your cat when giving any dental treat and consider size appropriateness.

Gastrointestinal issues

Some ingredients in Greenies like wheat gluten and glycerin may cause gastrointestinal upset in some cats. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite. Greenies are fairly high in carbohydrates compared to a cat’s natural diet, which can be problematic for some cats’ digestion (

Tooth damage

Though designed to clean teeth, some cats may actually experience tooth chipping or cracking from aggressively chewing on the hard Greenies treats.

Lack of nutrients

Greenies lack the balanced nutritional profile of a high quality cat food. Feeding too many treats can lead to nutritional imbalances.

Alternatives for Dental Care

While Greenies are a popular dental treat option for cats, there are other alternatives pet owners may want to consider. Some other vet-recommended options include:

Whiskas Dentabites – These come in chicken and salmon flavors and are designed to help control plaque and tartar. They are crunchy treats that scrub the surface of teeth. Veterinary Approved Cat Dental Treats

Purina Dentalife Daily Oral Care Cat Treats – These daily dental treats are high in calcium and specifically designed to clean teeth and freshen breath as part of a dental care routine. The 7 Best Cat Dental Treats: According to a Veterinarian

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews – These chews utilize an enzyme system to help control plaque and tartar on teeth. They come in a fish flavor cats love.

Petosan Dental Gel – This gel can be applied directly to the teeth and gums to help prevent plaque buildup. It contains delmopinol hydrochloride as the active ingredient.

Dental diets – There are specialty dental diet foods formulated to help clean teeth and promote oral health. Hills Prescription Diet t/d is a popular veterinarian-recommended option.

Regular toothbrushing – Daily toothbrushing with a pet-safe toothpaste is considered the gold standard for optimal dental care. Pet toothbrushes and finger brushes can make it easier to brush cat teeth.

Case Studies

Many cat owners have shared their experiences and observations after giving their cats Greenies dental treats. Here are some anecdotes from cat owners:

Sarah M. reviewed Greenies on Amazon and said: “I have a 15 year old Siamese cat that started having really bad breath about a year ago. […] After about 2 weeks of Greenies every other day, her breath had improved dramatically.” Source

James P. wrote on “When my Maine Coon turned 7, she started getting some plaque build-up on her back teeth. […] Within a month her teeth looked much cleaner.” Source

Robin K. said on Amazon: “My cats have loved these treats for years. One of my cats has had most of his teeth removed except his fangs due to stomatitis. He crunches on these with his few remaining teeth.” Source

Dosage and Frequency

The recommended dosage for Greenies dental treats for cats is to feed one dental treat per one pound of body weight, twice daily. So for a 10 pound cat, you would give 10 dental treats twice per day, equaling 20 treats total per day. This is the dosage recommended by Greenies to deliver an effective dental health benefit.

Some cat owners find this daily amount of Greenies to be excessive. As noted on Reddit, “Greenies are only like 1.5 calories per treat, so ~24 calories a day isn’t to much. There is info out there for cats size and calorie needs.”

While the calorie content may be low, some cat owners prefer to give a lower quantity of treats. The feeding guidelines are just a recommendation, and giving less may still provide dental health benefits. Monitoring your cat’s dental health at annual vet visits can help determine an appropriate frequency and dosage. Giving too many Greenies can also lead to loose stools or gastrointestinal upset in some cats.

Greenies states that the treats can be given daily, but some owners find that giving Greenies treats 3-5 times per week is sufficient. This lower frequency may provide dental benefits while minimizing any potential risks. Consulting with your veterinarian can help determine the ideal dosage and frequency for your individual cat.


do i really need to feed my cat 16 greenies a day?
byu/alobaby inCatAdvice


In conclusion, Greenies can provide some benefits for dental health in cats, but they should be used cautiously and under the guidance of a veterinarian. The texture and shape of Greenies can help scrape away tartar and plaque as cats chew, acting as a supplement to brushing. However, they do not replace proper dental care from a vet. Greenies are not intended as food, and the ingredients and caloric content may cause issues if cats eat too many. Veterinarians recommend Greenies in moderation as directed on the package. Cats that swallow Greenies whole may be at risk for gastrointestinal blockage. Pet owners should monitor their cats when giving Greenies and consider alternative dental treats or chews if problems arise. While Greenies have some perks for dental hygiene, they should be one part of a comprehensive program of brushing, dental cleanings, and checkups to keep cats’ teeth healthy.


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