Last Updated on: November 20, 2020
If you find yourself moving back when your cat snuggles up for a cuddle – then they might have some dental issues which you need to address. It’s more common than you might think – with the dental disease being the number one issue for our beloved pet cats.
Armed with that knowledge, it makes perfect sense to take action and protect your cat’s teeth. The good news is that there’s an easy solution to helping your cat’s teeth stay shiny and healthy. In between regular trips to your veterinarian and brushing your cat’s teeth, dental treats are a great way to maintain and improve their oral hygiene.
We’ve reviewed some of the most popular dental treats on the market today and compiled a list of our 7 absolute favorites. We’ve included something for everyone…or more specifically, every type of cat!
Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2020
|Best Overall||FELINE GREENIES Natural||
|Best Value||Purina DentaLife||
|Premium Choice||Abound Center-Filled||
|Meow Mix Brushing Bites||
|Emerald Pet Feline||
The 7 Best Dental Treats for Cats
1. FELINE GREENIES Natural Dental Cat Treats – Best Overall
As the best dental cat treat overall, we selected the Feline Greenies Natural Dental Cat Treats. The crunchy texture of this treats is designed to help your cat’s teeth stay clean as well as reducing the build-up of tartar. You can choose from 4 different flavors – catnip, chicken, tuna or salmon – so you’re bound to find one that your cat loves.
These treats will also help keep your cat’s breath smelling fresh and clean. Made with all-natural ingredients, there are no fillers in Feline Greenies, nor will you find any artificial preservatives or flavors. Instead, you can rely on these dental treats to be packed full of natural ingredients that your cat will surely love. As a bonus, they also contain a blend of vitamins and minerals designed to help your cat feel great from the inside out. As the # 1 veterinary recommended dental treat for cats, these were an easy pick for our overall winner.
2. Purina DentaLife Cat Treats – Best Value
As the best value dental treats for cats, we selected the Purina DentaLife Cat Treats. Coming in a large 13.5-ounce canister, this is a great choice if you have multiple cats and are looking for the best dental treats for cats for the money. The porous and crunchy texture of these dental treats is scientifically designed to allow your cat’s teeth to travel through the treat. This helps to effectively clean their teeth at the same time.
While the Purina DentaLife Cat Treats are scientifically proven to reduce the build-up of tartar on your cat’s teeth – they were pipped to the post of Best Overall since they’re not veterinary recommended – as far as we can tell anyway! But they’re still a fantastic choice if you’re looking for an effective treat which also offers great value for money.
3. Abound Center-Filled Dental Cat Treats – Premium Choice
As a Premium Choice dental treat for your pampered cat, you can’t do any better than the Abound Center-Filled Dental Cat Treats. While these might cost a little more than some of the other dental treats for cats that we reviewed – your cat may well be able to tell the difference! The flavor-filled center of this tasty treat is full of richly appetizing oven-roasted chicken, while the crunchy outer simultaneously helps to clean your cat’s teeth.
The ingredients are clean too, with no artificial colors or flavors used. As a bonus, you’ll only find good quality meat in these treats, and they’re guaranteed not to contain any animal by-product meal. While these are undoubtedly a fantastic choice, they didn’t make it into our top 2 products due to the fact, unlike the Greenies and Purina treats, they’re not yet approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Committee.
4. Meow Mix Brushing Bites Cat Dental Treats
Next up, we have the Meow Mix Brushing Bites Cat Dental Treats. The cute flower shape of these treats is specially designed to clean your cat’s teeth by reducing the amount of tartar and plaque. These are high in protein, which makes up 33% of each treat. But if your cat is watching your weight these are also a great choice as they only contain 2 calories per treat.
These treats are available in 2 flavors and 3 packet sizes. So you can start with small packets and work out which blend your cat prefers and then invest in a larger size. Perfect! Or, if your cat loves each flavor equally, invest in some more of each!
5. Emerald Pet Feline Dental Treats
If your cat suffers from allergies or is on a limited ingredient diet, it can be a challenge to find a dental treat to suit their needs. Luckily, the Emerald Pet Feline Dental Treats are perfect in this case! These treats are free from grain, gluten, dairy, and soy. As well as this impressive feat, they also don’t contain any artificial colors or flavors.
The crunchy texture helps to clean your cat’s teeth by removing tartar and plaque. They also keep your cat’s breath smelling fresh, which is always a good thing! The fish-shape of this treat might look cute but it also has a purpose. It’s designed to make sure your cat chews this treat to gain maximum benefit, rather than just swallowing it whole and waiting for another!
6. Hartz Dentist’s Best Dental Cat Treats
The Hartz Dentist’s Best Dental Cat Treats combine a cute heart-shaped treat with a veterinarian formulated design. Scientifically proven to reduce tartar build-up by 83% – that’s pretty impressive! This is thanks to the DentaShield – which encourages chewing to promote healthy gums, as well as reducing new tartar by bonding with molecules in your cat’s saliva.
These treats have been designed to be used as part of a three-step oral care system which will help your cat maintain the best dental health possible. Stage 1 is cleansers, Stage 2 is feeding treats such as these, and Stage 3 is the use of tools such as toothbrushes where necessary. The result is that your cat will have cleaner teeth for longer, which is something we’re all looking for.
7. VetIQ Minties Dental Cat Treats
Last but of course not least, we have the VetIQ Minties Dental Cat Treats. The cute fish shape of these treats is designed to help clean tartar and plaque off your cat’s teeth, while the salmon flavor is sure to keep them coming back for another. As if that wasn’t enough, they also contain catnip which will ensure that even the fussiest cat finds these too good to turn down.
Interestingly, the manufacturers claim that these treats are comparative to our Best Overall treat, the Feline Greenies. They do have a fairly similar nutrient profile in terms of protein, fat, and moisture, but contain less than half the fiber of Feline Greenies. While we can confirm that our cats did love these treats, their official verdict was that Feline Greenies are still the tastiest treat around.
If you haven’t bought dental treats for your cat before, the sheer amount of choice can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to help.
As well as knowing that any of the 7 different dental treats we’ve recommended above are a great choice for your feline friend, we’ve also got some advice for buying these kinds of treats in general.
Does my cat need dental treats?
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they’re designed to eat meat and only meat! In the wild, of course, this would mean your cat chowing down on fresh bones and chewy meat. This combination helps keep their teeth clean and gums healthy, but stripping off tartar and plaque as they chew.
Our domestic kitties, on the other hand, are a little more spoiled when it comes to hunting for food. Most cats now enjoy easy feeding by way of dry kibble or wet feed. While this might meet their needs for protein and essential vitamins and minerals, it does leave their teeth more prone to developing a build-up of plaque and tartar.
Dental problems to watch out for
Dental problems are the most common disease in pet cats, so it’s definitely a good idea to consider adding a dental treat to your cat’s routine.
Tartar and plaque can lead to bad breath, but it can also cause sore and inflamed gums. If left untreated, your cat is also at risk of infections spreading into their bloodstream and even their organs.
The good news is that you can use dental treats designed for cats as part of your daily routine to help keep your cat’s teeth sparkly and shiny.
If you haven’t used dental treats for your cat before, we recommend speaking to your veterinarian first. As well as giving your cat’s teeth the once over, they can suggest if you should select a certain type of treat, such as gluten-free or high protein.
Important things to consider
Rather than focus on choosing the treat which sounds the tastiest, or promises to keep your cat’s breath smelling fresh, we recommend instead that the first thing you pay attention to is the shape of the treat.
It’s this shape which really distinguishes a good dental treat from one which really won’t make any difference. So let’s take a look at that next.
What makes a good dental treat?
Dental treats differ from regular cat treats because their shape is specifically designed to help clean tartar and plaque off your cat’s teeth. They do this by being big enough that your cat has to actively bite them into smaller pieces before swallowing.
The best-quality dental treats will be made with a high percentage of real meat. Some dental cat treats include something you’ll see listed as ‘by-product meal’. This is a rendered mixture made from the organs and fatty tissues leftover. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you can read more about that here – it’s something you may choose to avoid.
It’s a good idea to try and avoid artificial colors or flavors – something that many of us lookout for when choosing our cat’s kibble or wet food in any case.
Grain-free formulations are also a good idea. As a carnivore, your cat does not need grain so we can cross that one of the ingredient lists!
One of the best things you can do after checking out the shape and size of any dental treat you’re thinking about buying for your cat is to see if it’s been approved by the VOHC.
This is the Veterinary Oral Health Council, whose seal can be seen on dental treats that have been accepted by them as helping to reduce the build-up of tartar on your cat’s teeth. Looking out for this seal – which will be clearly displayed on the front of the package – is a great way to confidently know that these treats have been safely designed and meet all of the regulatory requirements as set out by the VOHC themselves.
And the good news is that both the #1 and # 2 treats in our lineup of the best dental treats for cats are approved by the VOHC.
Different options available
As with almost any food designed for our pets, there’s a huge range of choices available when it comes to choosing the best dental treats to suit your cat.
If your cat follows a particular diet, such as limited ingredient or grain-free, then you should take the time to find a dental treat which is formulated to meet those same goals.
Once you’ve taken care of choosing the ingredients within your chosen dental treat, some manufacturers offer a variety of flavors. This can be great if you have a fussy cat because you can tempt them with a few different flavors while still sticking to a formulation that suits their diet.
Starting to feed your cat their dental treats
Remember that cats are creatures of habit. As such, they don’t necessarily enjoy it when their routine changes or you – gasp – introduce a new cat food or treat to the scene. So when starting to feed them their new dental treats, allow time for them to get used to a new flavor and texture.
Most dental treats come in at an average of around 2 calories per treat. But bear in mind for these treats to work effectively, you’ll need to feed the amount recommended by the manufacturer. This will vary depending on the weight of your cat. As a rough guide, for the treats included in our review above, it’s recommended that you feed between 10 – 17 treats for an average-sized cat of up to 15 pounds. BUT if you have a large breed cat, you might need to feed up to 35 for them to be effective!
While this is great for your cat’s teeth, it will take up some of their daily calories.
If you’re unsure how to adjust your cat’s rations, talk to your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you how much of your cat’s regular food to feed in combination with their new dental treats.
That’s a wrap!
After reviewing a wide range of dental treats for cats that are available on the market today, we found the Best Overall to be the Feline Greenies Natural Dental Cat Treats. As well as being made from a yummy range of natural ingredients, these treats are nutritionally balanced to suit your cat. What’s more, they’re approved by the VOHC so you can be confident you’re buying a quality product that will help keep your cat’s teeth in the very best of health.
Our award for Best Value goes to the Purina DentaLife Cat Treats. This large pack offers plenty of well-designed and tasty treats to help effectively clean your cat’s teeth. The good news is that these are also VOHC accepted, combining value and quality in the best way.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you find your way through the huge selection of products in this category. We looked at a range of different features from treat size and taste, to their nutrient profile and ingredients.
All to help you find the best option for your cat. And it goes without saying that when compiling these reviews, we had plenty of help from our feline friends!
Featured Image: freestocks on Unsplash
Roland has been an animal lover all his life, with cats holding a special place in his heart. He is owned by three felines: Wheely, KitzKitz, and Nugget (all rescues) who bring all the laughter and mischievousness one can expect from the feline master race. As the creator of ExcitedCats, his mission is to assist in the search for the best gear to help improve the health and wellbeing of cats everywhere.
- Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2020
- The 7 Best Dental Treats for Cats
- 1. FELINE GREENIES Natural Dental Cat Treats – Best Overall
- 2. Purina DentaLife Cat Treats – Best Value
- 3. Abound Center-Filled Dental Cat Treats – Premium Choice
- 4. Meow Mix Brushing Bites Cat Dental Treats
- 5. Emerald Pet Feline Dental Treats
- 6. Hartz Dentist’s Best Dental Cat Treats
- 7. VetIQ Minties Dental Cat Treats
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Verdict