The Best Cat Dental Treats According to Vets


Dental health is extremely important for cats. According to the RSPCA, dental disease affects up to 70% of cats over the age of 3. Poor dental health can lead to a number of serious medical conditions including heart, liver and kidney disease. Establishing a dental care routine for your cat early on can help prevent plaque buildup and tartar formation, allowing your cat to live a long and healthy life.

Providing dental treats is one way to help maintain your cat’s dental health in between professional cleanings. Vet recommended dental treats are specially formulated to reduce tartar buildup and plaque. Unlike regular treats, they are designed to clean your cat’s teeth as they chew. When given regularly, dental treats keep your cat’s teeth clean and breath fresh.

Signs of Dental Disease in Cats

One of the most common signs of dental disease in cats is bad breath or halitosis. This happens when bacteria accumulate in the mouth from plaque and tartar buildup. The bacteria produce sulfur compounds, which cause an unpleasant odor. Red, swollen, and inflamed gums are another frequent symptom. This condition, known as gingivitis, indicates infection and inflammation of the gums. As dental disease progresses, cats may develop loose or lost teeth. The infection can damage the periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets, leading to tooth loss. Excessive drooling is another potential sign of oral discomfort. Cats may drool due to mouth pain or difficulty swallowing. Decreased appetite or refusal to eat may also indicate dental problems. The discomfort makes it painful for cats to pick up and chew food. In severe cases, cats may hide more than usual due to oral pain and discomfort [1].

Preventing Dental Disease

There are several effective ways to help prevent dental disease in cats:

Brushing Teeth

Daily toothbrushing is considered the gold standard for preventing plaque buildup and gingivitis in cats. It removes debris from the teeth and disrupts bacteria formation. Follow a gradual training program over 2-4 weeks to get your cat comfortable with daily brushing. Use a soft-bristled brush and cat-safe toothpaste. Brush along the gumline at a 45 degree angle using gentle circles. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth.[1]

Dental Treats and Chews

There are a variety of veterinarian-approved dental treats and chews that help scrape away plaque and tartar as your cat chews. These can be an effective supplement to brushing for removing debris and massaging the gums.[2]

Dental Diets

There are specialty dental diet foods formulated to reduce tartar buildup. The kibble is designed to scrape teeth during chewing. The formula also limits bacteria growth. This can help slow the progression of dental disease.

Professional Cleanings

Even with good home dental care, most cats need occasional deep cleanings by a vet. Professional cleanings allow complete tartar removal above and below the gumline. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings as needed are key for monitoring dental health.

Types of Cat Dental Treats

There are several different types of dental treats made specifically for cats that veterinarians recommend for reducing plaque and tartar buildup. The main types include:


Chew treats like Greenies Feline Dental Treats are flexible, chewy treats that help scrape away plaque and tartar as cats gnaw on them. They come in a variety of flavors like tuna and are a very popular option.

Gel Treats

Gel treats contain an enzyme that helps fight plaque. For example, Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews combine abrasive action with an enzyme that controls bacteria growth and fights bad breath.


Some treats like Purina Dentalife Daily Oral Care Cat Treats use a crunchy, textured exterior that scrapes away tartar as cats chew. They often contain ingredients like zinc to help promote dental health.

Dental Diet Kibble

Specially formulated kibble like Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care uses a unique shape, texture, and fiber to clean teeth while cats chew. This helps reduce plaque and tartar when fed exclusively.

Benefits of Dental Treats

Cat dental treats provide several benefits that can improve your cat’s oral health and overall well-being.

One of the main benefits is that dental treats help clean teeth. As your cat chews on the treat, the texture helps scrape away tartar and plaque buildup (Lake Cross Veterinary Hospital, 2020). This reduces harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Dental treats also freshen breath by reducing bacteria that causes bad odor. The ingredients in many treats have minty flavors that leave your cat with cleaner smelling breath (Providence Veterinary Clinic, 2020).

Additionally, chewing on treats helps prevent plaque buildup and tartar formation. The mechanical action scrubs the teeth surfaces, removing deposits before they harden into tartar. This promotes better long-term dental health (Madison Animal Care Clinic, n.d.).

Finally, dental treats decrease harmful oral bacteria overall. The antimicrobial properties in many treats reduce bacterial growth. This improves dental health and reduces risk of issues like gingivitis (Providence Veterinary Clinic, 2020).

Vet Recommended Brands

There are several brands of cat dental treats that are recommended by veterinarians. Some top options include:


Greenies Feline Dental Treats are a popular choice. They are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar by 57% when fed daily. The treat’s crunchy texture also helps clean teeth down to the gumline as cats chew. Veterinarians often recommend Greenies as an effective dental treat for cats [1].

CET Chews

CET Chews are another veterinarian-recommended option for cats. They contain an anti-plaque agent clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar. The treats have a fish flavor cats tend to enjoy and are designed to scrub teeth clean as cats chew [2].

Purina Dentalife

Purina Dentalife Daily Oral Cat Treats are formulated to reduce plaque and tartar in cats. They feature a crunchy texture and ridged shape to clean teeth down to the gumline. Many veterinarians recommend these treats as part of a dental care routine for cats [3].

Vet’s Best

Vet’s Best Dental Cat Treats contain baking soda, neem oil, and enzymes clinically proven to reduce plaque. Veterinarians often recommend these vegan and wheat-free treats to help improve dental health in cats.


Iams ProActive Health Dental Cat Treats are another vet-recommended option. They are uniquely shaped to clean teeth and contain sodium tripolyphosphate to reduce tartar buildup. Iams dental treats can be an effective part of dental care for cats.

What to Look for

When choosing dental treats for your cat, look for a few key features:

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal – This non-profit organization conducts testing to verify treats clean teeth and promote oral health. Their seal means the treats have passed rigorous trials and are vet recommended (

Texture that Cleans Teeth – Crunchy or abrasive textures scrub away plaque and tartar as your cat chews. Treats should be hard enough to scrape teeth but not too hard to enjoy (

Palatable Flavor – Cats won’t reap the dental benefits if they don’t like the treats. Look for tasty flavors like fish, chicken, tuna, malt and more that entice your cat to chew.


When giving cat dental treats, it’s important to follow the dosage recommendations on the package. These treats are like medication for cats’ teeth and gums, so giving the right amount is key.

Most dental treats will provide guidelines for how many treats to give based on the cat’s weight. For example, Greenies recommends 1 dental treat per day for cats under 10 lbs, and 2 treats for cats over 10 lbs (source).

If you are unsure about the proper dosage for your cat, consult your veterinarian. They can evaluate your cat’s unique dental health needs and recommend an appropriate daily quantity of dental treats.

Cats with significant dental disease may need more frequent treats to control tartar buildup. Meanwhile, cats with relatively healthy teeth and gums may only require treats every other day. Work with your vet to determine the ideal dosage for your cat’s needs.

Safety Tips

When giving your cat dental treats, it’s important to supervise them while eating to prevent choking. According to veterinarians at Madison Animal Care Center, “Make sure to watch your furry friend while they enjoy the treat. Don’t leave them unattended.”

Also be sure to select the appropriate size treat for your cat. The experts at Lake Cross Veterinary Hospital advise, “Pick treats that are the right size for your cat. Treats that are too large pose a choking hazard.” Treats that are too small may be a choking hazard as well.

Finally, stop giving treats if your cat has any trouble chewing them. As stated by WellPets, “Discontinue use if your pet experiences any difficulty chewing.” Difficulty chewing could be a sign that the treat is too hard for your cat’s teeth and gums.

With proper supervision and appropriate sizing, dental treats can provide benefits for your cat’s oral health. But be prepared to stop if you notice any struggling, as safety should always come first.


Regular dental care is extremely important for your cat’s overall health and wellbeing. Periodontal disease affects over 70% of cats by age 3, and can lead to tooth loss, infections, and other serious medical issues if left untreated.

Providing dental treats specially formulated for cats is an easy way to improve your cat’s dental hygiene at home. Vet recommended dental treats contain ingredients like kibble, enzymatic proteins, and polyphosphates that help clean plaque and tartar off teeth as your cat chews. This reduces bacteria, prevents gum disease, and freshens breath.

When shopping for dental treats, look for brands that contain the VOHC seal, which means the product has been tested and proven clinically effective. Follow dosage instructions carefully, monitor your cat while treating, and check with your vet if you have any concerns.

By making dental treats a regular part of your cat’s diet, you can promote better oral health, reduce the need for professional dental cleanings, and keep your feline friend purring for years to come.

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