Dry kibble cat food

Christie

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
47
Hi,

My husband thinks dry food for our cat helps with plaque or tarter buildup. Is this true? I am aware it is awful for them but cant rebuttal this thought as am trying to ween our adult cat off off it.

Thanks.
Christie
 

Dr. Sara

Veterinarian
HA! Faculty
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
105
Dry cat food does not help with tartar and plaque accumulation. The majority of cats in the conventional practice where I consult eat dry food. They have lots of tartar and plaque on their teeth! A tendency to tartar accumulation is partly inherited, and partly due to diet.

If you watch your cat eat kibble, you will notice that you hear little crunching. That is because most animals eat the dry pieces without significant chewing. In addition, the kibble is 40% starch, so when they do chew, it breaks apart in the mouth (a lot like cookies do in ours), and the resultant bits actually stick to the teeth and gums. There are some kibbles and treats that are formulated to help dental health, as can be seen on the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) site.

Some of the issues with dry kibble are:
Dry food is particularly inappropriate for cats, as they do not drink enough water. Kibble / dry food keeps them in a state of borderline dehydration. Cats are not adapted to a high starch content in their diet, so they are more likely to develop weight problems and diabetes.
Kibble is processed under conditions of high temperature and pressure, which decrease the nutrient content, and increases free radicals in the food.

The best way to promote dental health is to provide the best species appropriate diet possible. For some cats, that may be canned, as cats can be difficult to switch to raw food. It is optimal to feed cats raw, and to provide raw chicken necks and wings to promote optimal dental health. Cats definitely chew on bones, and that certainly helps prevent tartar.
Cheers,
Sara
 

Christie

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
47
Is it even important to brush our pets teeth? Or is it simply unnatural?
 

Dr. Sara

Veterinarian
HA! Faculty
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
105
When possible, it is beneficial to brush pets' teeth, either with a toothbrush or finger brush. There are VOHC approved products available, like Healthymouth and ProDen Plaque Off, that have natural ingredients instead of a lot of chemicals.

One could certainly consider brushing as an unnatural act. However, many pet dogs and cats do not have natural mouth designs, as they have short noses, or crooked teeth. Those with normal mouths rarely are eating a completely natural diet.

A completely natural diet would consist of wild caught, minimally fatty prey, appropriate to the size of the predator, complete with skin and hair / feathers. The act of crunching on many small bones, and tearing into skin and hair helps clean the teeth. However, none of us wants our animals depopulating the local wildlife, and it is difficult to replicate this diet with commercial foods.

Brushing mimics the naturally abrasive action of the bones and hair / feathers when animals chew prey. That is why it is appropriate and helpful for our dogs and cats.
 

Christie

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
47
Thank you. I didn’t know that brushing my teeth upward & rough was contributing to my painful recession. I hope people just know how to do it properly.
 

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