How Many Dental Treats Does Your Cat Need Daily?


Dental treats are an important part of dental care for cats. Cats are prone to periodontal disease, which can lead to bacteria buildup and tooth decay if not properly addressed. Dental treats are snacks that are formulated to clean cats’ teeth, freshen breath, and reduce plaque and tartar as they chew.

Unlike dogs, cats are not as prone to chewing behaviors that help keep their teeth clean. Dental treats provide an easy way to supplement a cat’s dental hygiene routine in between professional cleanings. The abrasive texture and shape of dental treats are designed to scrape away plaque and tartar around the teeth and gums as the cat chews. This helps reduce bacteria, prevent decay, and maintain good oral health.

By introducing dental treats as part of a cat’s daily routine, cat owners can reduce the risk of periodontal disease and associated health complications. Providing proper dental care for cats through treats, brushing, and professional cleanings is an important part of maintaining their quality of life and longevity.

Recommended Frequency

Most veterinarians recommend giving cats 1 dental treat per day to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Dental treats should be part of a regular oral hygiene routine but not used as a replacement for brushing a cat’s teeth. According to Do Cat Dental Treats Actually Help Keep their Teeth Clean?, dental treats absolutely cannot replace regular brushing and veterinary dental checkups.

Vets typically recommend limiting treats to 1 per day to prevent overfeeding and potential weight gain. More than 1 dental treat is generally not needed to help combat plaque and promote oral health. It’s best to follow your vet’s guidance on the ideal number of treats for your specific cat.

Ingredients to Look For

When selecting dental treats for your cat, be sure to look for ingredients that help control plaque and promote oral health. Some key ingredients to look for include:

Enzymes – Enzymes such as glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase help control bacteria growth and plaque formation in your cat’s mouth. Treats containing these ingredients can help reduce tartar buildup and fight bad breath.1

Antioxidants – Ingredients like chlorophyll, vitamin C and vitamin E provide antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation in the gums and help promote a healthy mouth.2

Abrasives – Calcium carbonate acts as a gentle abrasive that scrubs away plaque and tartar as your cat chews. Look for treats containing this ingredient for optimal dental benefits.

In summary, look for treats with enzymes that help control plaque, antioxidants that reduce inflammation, and abrasives that scrub away buildup. These ingredients will promote better oral health and dental hygiene for your cat.

Treat Texture

The texture of dental treats plays an important role in their effectiveness. According to Chewy, crunchy treats like Greenies work by scraping plaque off teeth as cats chew. The hard, crunchy texture helps break up tartar and reduce buildup on the teeth. Chewy states that the unique shape and crunch of Greenies is proven to reduce tartar.

On the other hand, some treats have a chewy texture instead of crunchy. As reviewed by, Purina DentaLife treats are chewy in texture. According to their research, the chewy texture massages the gums as cats bite down. This massage can help stimulate circulation in the gums.

Offering treats with both crunchy and chewy textures can provide complementary dental health benefits for cats. The crunchy treats scrape the plaque while the chewy treats give the gums a gentle massage.

Treat Flavors

When choosing a dental treat for your cat, two of the most appetizing and common flavors are mint and chicken. According to a recent report from Best Dental Cat Treats Of 2024, many cat owners find that their felines love the refreshing taste of mint. Mint provides a cooling sensation that cats find pleasing and may help promote healthy breath. Chicken is another popular flavor that appeals to many cats’ natural cravings for meat and poultry. Chicken flavored dental treats are often made with real chicken, providing a tasty reward.

Opting for treats in flavors that your cat already enjoys can increase the likelihood that they will be interested in the dental chews. Monitor your cat’s preferences and reactions to sample different flavors. However, even if your cat is picky, don’t give up. Introducing dental treats slowly along with their regular food may encourage acceptance over time.

Portion Size

When selecting dental treats for cats, it’s important to choose petite, kibble-sized treats. Large treats can present a choking hazard, especially for kittens and smaller cats. The ASPCA recommends treats be no larger than your cat’s thumbnail.

Look for treats that are about the size of a piece of kibble from your cat’s regular diet. Treats should be easy for your cat to chew and swallow. Avoid any treat that seems too big or dense. Opt for softer, airy treats whenever possible.

Stick to giving just 1-2 treats per day, and break larger treats into smaller pieces if needed. It’s generally best to limit treats to no more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake to prevent weight gain or gastrointestinal issues.

Giving treats in moderation while following suggested portion sizes will maximize dental benefits while minimizing risks.

Supplementing Brushing

While dental treats can help maintain your cat’s dental health, they should not be used as a replacement for daily brushing. According to the VCA, daily brushing is the most beneficial for removing plaque and preventing periodontal disease. They recommend brushing a minimum of three times per week if daily brushing is not possible (source).

Dental treats can provide some extra help in cleaning your cat’s teeth and freshening their breath. But plaque and tartar can still accumulate over time without regular brushing. Therefore, treats should be viewed as a supplement to a dental care routine rather than a substitute for brushing.

For optimal dental health, aim to brush your cat’s teeth daily. In addition, dental treats can provide a little extra plaque fighting power and freshen breath between brushes. But be sure to still brush regularly, as treats alone are not enough to prevent gum disease and dental issues.

Signs of Dental Issues

Some common signs that a cat may have dental issues include:

  • Bad breath – Persistent bad breath or halitosis can indicate gum disease, tooth decay or other oral health problems (VCA Animal Hospitals). The bacteria from plaque and tartar causes the foul odor.
  • Trouble eating – A cat with dental disease may have trouble eating or seem painful when chewing food. They may chew only on one side of their mouth, drop food from their mouth when eating, or avoid hard foods (Cornell Feline Health Center).
  • Loose teeth – Advanced dental disease can lead to loose or lost teeth. The teeth may shift position or fall out if the infection is severe enough to damage the periodontal ligament and bone (VCA).

Cat owners should monitor their pet’s eating habits and breath odor. Schedule a veterinary dental exam if any signs of discomfort or oral health issues arise.

When to See the Vet

It’s important to get regular dental checkups for your cat with your veterinarian, even if you don’t see obvious signs of dental disease. The vet will examine your cat’s teeth and mouth closely to check for early stages of disease that may not yet be apparent.

See your vet right away if you notice any signs of dental problems in your cat, such as bad breath, difficulty eating, drooling, mouth pain, loose teeth, or red and swollen gums. These can all be signs of periodontal disease, tooth decay, or other issues that require veterinary attention and treatment.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, “Signs that a cat is suffering dental problems, says Dr. Carmichael, include bad breath, red and swollen gums, pawing at the mouth and refusal to eat hard food.” (source)

Don’t delay in getting your cat dental care when needed. Dental disease is painful for cats and can lead to more severe health issues if left untreated. Regular veterinary dental cleanings and checkups are important to protect your cat’s oral health.


Dental treats can be a great way to help keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy when given in moderation. The general recommendation is to give cats 1-2 dental treats per day, but always check the package for specific guidelines. Look for treats made with natural ingredients and textures that help scrape plaque off teeth. A variety of flavors and sizes will keep your cat interested. Dental treats should supplement, not replace, daily toothbrushing. Watch for signs of dental disease and see your vet if problems arise. With some thoughtful treat choices and brushing, you can help support your cat’s dental health.

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