We’ve all heard the advice, “Take care of your teeth and they’ll take care of you.” And for cat parents, that guidance goes double. Keeping your cat’s teeth and gums in great shape is crucial to your kitty’s overall well-being.
According to Veterinary Centers of America, dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions diagnosed by veterinarians. A study from Cornell Feline Health Center also found that between 50 and 90 percent of cats ages four years and older suffer from dental disease.
Because cats can’t very well brush their teeth all by themselves, it’s up to pet parents to take the lead when it comes to maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits for your cat. That starts with brushing their teeth regularly. But another easy and effective way to promote clean teeth and gums is with delicious feline dental treats and chews.
What Are Cat Dental Treats?
Cat dental treats come in a variety of forms, including special kibble that’s larger than the regular everyday variety, biscuits, chews, and sticks. These treats are designed to reduce harmful tartar, plaque, tooth decay, and bad cat breath. As cats chew on their treats — which are typically crunchy and yummy — their teeth get some extra TLC.
While cat dental treats may look like regular cat treats, the crunch they provide benefits your cat’s entire mouth, not just their palate. Many such treats have a uniquely porous texture that’s specifically designed to surround teeth and scrape off tartar buildup as cats chomp.
If the innovative design of cat dental treats isn’t enough to convince you to give them a shot, consider their nutritional benefits. Many cat dental treats are packed with calcium and other vitamins that can help boost your cat’s oral health and overall well-being, like vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, vitamin E, and biotin.
Best Cat Dental Treats
Ready to treat your cat to better oral health in a yummy, bite-sized package? Here are some choice products that made our list of top-ranked dental treats for cats (and pet parents) who prize their pearly whites.
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Best Overall Cat Dental Treats
A beloved brand with a well-deserved reputation for irresistibly tasty excellence, Greenies tops our list because their Feline Dental Treats check all the boxes. Effective? Check. They’re the #1 vet-recommended feline dental treat. Powerful? They’re specially formulated for a crunch that helps reduce tartar, clean teeth, and freshen breath. Delish? Definitely. Each oven-roasted chicken morsel is packed with natural ingredients, including real chicken and flaxseed, plus added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
- #1 veterinarian-recommended feline dental treat
- No artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers
- Nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats
- Package is resealable to preserve freshness
- Less than 2 calories per treat
Things to Consider
- If the roasted chicken flavor doesn’t thrill your cat, choose from a buffet of other flavors, like tempting tuna, salmon, and even catnip
Best Cat Treats for Bad Breath
Our pick: Minties Dental Treats for Cats
Kitty kisses are sweet…unless your favorite feline has a bad case of tuna-breath. Minties dental treats battle your cat’s bad breath at the source. Each treat features a unique shape and texture that removes odor-causing bacteria in your cat’s mouth. Plus, Minties are made with wholesome, natural ingredients, like real meat, pea protein, and catnip, so they’re tasty, nourishing, and easy to digest, too. Say hello to better oral and overall health for your cat and bye-bye to bad breath!
- Packed with extra protein
- Choose from delicious chicken or salmon flavors
- Free of wheat, soy, corn, and artificial flavors
- For all cat sizes
- A budget-friendly alternative to better-known brands
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers say the fresh, minty aroma was overwhelming and may deter some cats
Best Cat Dental Treats for Plaque
Don’t underestimate the power of these delicious, delightful cat dental treats just because they’re Hello Kitty branded. The adorably packaged Tartar Control Cat Treats are made with a patented formula that has been proven to reduce tartar by 40% when enjoyed daily, according to the package directions. Each tasty, chicken-flavored treat is coated and enhanced for an extra savory crunch that helps remove plaque and tartar buildup for healthier teeth and gums. Best of all, these crowd-pleasing treats averaged 4 ½ stars and scored great reviews from happy customers…and their cats!
- Product uses a patented formula for cleaning teeth and breath
- Efficacy supported by independent studies at the University of Indiana School of Dentistry
- Sourced and made in the USA
- Veterinarian recommended
- Made with wholesome, nutritious ingredients cats love
Things to Consider
- Each bite is 1 calorie
- Recommended serving is 10-15 treats per day
Most Affordable Cat Dental Treats
If you’re looking for an effective dental treat that’s easy on your wallet and great for your cat’s oral health, you’ve hit the jackpot! Hartz Dentist’s Best heart-shaped cat treats feature an innovative DentaShield center that behaves like toothpaste, preventing future plaque buildup and reducing tartar formation up to 80 percent. The crunchy exterior texture acts like a toothbrush, loosening buildup and scrubbing away debris for a cleaner, healthier mouth. Best of all these treats are affordably priced, so you get a lot of great dental benefits for your buck.
- Only treat that features DentaShield to reduce new tartar formation up to 80 percent
- Effective and affordable for every budget
- Veterinarian formulated
- Mouthwatering chicken-flavored formula is also low in calories
- Safe for cats and kittens
Things to Consider
- This product is made of a lot of ingredients.
- For maximum dental benefits, you have to give your cat 5 treats twice daily.
- The treats are somewhat small, so your cats may swallow the treat before chewing (missing out on the cleansing benefits of chewing)
Best Grain-Free Cat Dental Treats
Perfect for cats with food sensitivities, this all-natural product features a limited-ingredient recipe that contains no grains, gluten, soy, or dairy. Made only with natural ingredients like real whitefish, these dental treats are designed to be easy on the tummy and fund to eat. Each bite looks like a fun fish shape, encouraging cats to crunch their way to healthier teeth and gums with every chomp.
- Made with wholesome ocean fish
- No grain, gluten, soy, or dairy—perfect for a cat with food allergies or sensitivities
- Made in the USA with US ingredients
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Things to Consider
- Each bite is less than two calories.
Best Cat Dental Sticks
Our pick: Potaroma Natural Silvervine Sticks
If your kitty is trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, extra calories may be the last thing you want to serve up. Or perhaps your cat has an extra-picky palate or is on a limited-ingredient diet. You can still “treat” your cat to cleaner teeth and fresher breath with these calorie-free cat sticks made from natural silvervine, raffia, sisal rope, and gall fruit. Though not actually edible, these chew sticks can help clean your cat’s teeth, eliminate plaque and tartar, improve oral hygiene, and freshen their breath as they lick and chew on them. Plus, each stick contains the natural attractants actinidine and nepetalactone, commonly found in catnip, so every long-lasting stick feels like a treat.
- Made from durable, long-lasting, natural materials
- Silvervine and gall fruit are known to relieve stress in cats
- Promotes exercise, improves digestion, helps excrete hairballs
- Made from non-toxic materials
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Things to Consider
- These chew sticks are made from non-toxic materials, but they are not edible
- Some cats are more sensitive to attractants and may act funny while using this product — be prepared for rolling, meowing, and drooling
Cat Dental Treats Buying Guide
When it comes to selecting the perfect dental treats for your cat, it pays to be a savvy and informed shopper. Here are some important factors to consider as you’re browsing the aisles at your local pet store or the selection of dental treats available online:
Size – As with any treat, look for dental treats that are appropriate for the size and life stage of your cat. This is especially important for kibble-style dental treats, which are harder than regular kibble and could present a choking hazard for kittens or smaller cats. Pay close attention to the feeding direction on the packaging to ensure the treats are safe for your cat.
Taste – Though you won’t be tasting it, yourself, your cat may need to sample a few treats before finding one they like best. Fortunately, there are plenty of palate-pleasing flavors and treat types to choose from. Look for treats in flavors and textures you know your cat already loves.
Ingredients – Remember, the best dental treats promote good dental and overall health. So look for high-quality ingredients that give your cat a nutritional boost, instead of empty fillers. If you know your cat has a hard time digesting grains or starch, consider natural dental chews, which are often made from a single ingredient.
Seal of Approval – The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) recognizes products that are proven to meet pre-set standards for retarding plaque and tartar in dogs and cats. So be sure to look for the VOHC Seal of Approval on your dental treat packaging, or check the VOHC website before you buy.
Reviews – For good measure, it’s always good to read reviews of other buyers.
Cat Dental Treat Considerations
While cat dental treats aim to help cats, it’s important to know that not all cat dental treats are created equal. Here are some things to keep in mind when giving your cat dental treats:
Avoid unnecessary ingredients. You’ll want to stay away from the varieties that have a lot of sugary ingredients. You may also want to steer clear of ones that are mostly fillers like wheat, rice, and corn gluten. While you may be preventing tooth decay, these empty calories could increase the risk of weight gain for your cat.
Pick the appropriate size and consistency. As mentioned above, make sure the cat dental treat size makes sense for the cat’s age. There are adult dental treats on the market that you won’t want to give to a kitten, for instance. Regardless of age, some treats (not approved by the VOHC) may even fracture pets’ teeth because they’re just too hard or break too easily.
Test different treats to find varieties your cat enjoys. As you know all too well, keep in mind that cats can be fickle. Your cat may not like the way the dental treats taste, feel, or smell right away. Be sure to test out a variety of treats and always monitor your cat’s consumption when introducing new food items.