Dental treats for cats are replacing dentals done by vets. But are they really good for your cat’s teeth?
Here’s something to chew on: Dental treats for cats are taking a bite out of vets’ pocketbooks as more and more people opt for home dental care for their cats instead of expensive dentistry at the vet’s office.
Just eight percent of the people who responded to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey said their cats saw a veterinarian for dental care in the past year. Meanwhile, Packaged Facts found that dental treats for cats and dogs account for 25 percent of all treat sales. Dental chews also took a sizable bite out of vets’ pocketbooks.
But Do Dental Treats For Cats Clean Their Teeth?
Theoretically, cats sink their teeth into the porous surface of dental treats, and the abrasive action scrapes off tartar and plaque. But veterinary dentist Mary Buelow says while this may clean the cusp areas of the teeth, treats are less effective at the gum line, where periodontal disease is most likely to occur.
Still, she says, they can “play a part in oral health maintenance.” And in its State of Pet Health 2016 Report, Banfield Pet Hospitals says cat dental treats and chews can help prevent tartar buildup.
Buelow recommends C.E.T. Oral Hygiene treats for cats because they provide antibacterial effects in the cat’s mouth. Other veterinarians suggest treats accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Those include the ubiquitous Greenies and DentalLife Daily Oral Care Cat Treats.
Brush We Must
Other ways to keep your cats’ teeth clean include giving them pieces of raw meat to gnaw on or freeze-dried raw meat chunks. The ground bones and enzymes in raw food help keep the teeth clean.
But veterinarians agree nothing beats brushing your cat’s teeth. Do it daily if you can, or at least once a week. And if your cat will absolutely not accept a toothbrush, try using dental wipes instead.