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The best cat food for older cats with teeth problems is a very common concern among pet parents. Sadly, this is probably an inevitable question for most cat owners. It seems that when we domesticated the cat, we also domesticated her diet.
You want to provide your senior cat with an optimal diet in order to 1) ensure proper hydration and 2) stimulate and clean gums and teeth. Read more below to find out how to do just that!
In this article:
- The Importance of Healthy Teeth in Cats
- Why Do Cats Have Teeth Problems?
- Table: Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Teeth Problems
- How to Help Prevent Teeth Problems in Your Cat
- Which Food to Choose for Older Cats with Teeth Issues
- Final Thoughts
Importance of Healthy Teeth in Cats
The condition of your cat’s teeth has an enormous impact on its overall health. Yep. Other ailments will develop when Kitty’s teeth and gums are not getting the proper care they need.
She may not be able to eat without discomfort, and when nutrition suffers, so does your kitty. Taking steps to protect your cat’s dental health is an important part of being a good pet parent.
When an infection develops from unhealthy gums and teeth, it can travel through the bloodstream to compromise your pet’s vital organs.
Why Do Cats Have Teeth Problems?
When plaque – the same stuff you fight in your own mouth – develops along Kitty’s gum line, painful inflammation often follows.
Plaque attacks cat’s teeth just like plaque attacks ours.
Cats with poor diets tend to have worse teeth than cats with healthy diets that comprise a mix of dry/wet and raw cat food.
Obviously, the responsibility for our four-legged kids includes regular trips to the vet for dental checkups and teeth cleaning.
Our Recommendation to Feed Older Cats with Teeth Problems
|BLUE Freedom||Soft Wet Food, (5.5-oz x 24 cans)||$$|
|Stella & Chewy's||Freeze-dried Raw Cat Food, (8-oz or 18-oz)||$$$|
|Go! Fit and Free||Hard Dry Food (8-lb or 16-lb bag)||$$$$|
|Hill's Prescription Dental Care||Prescription Dry Cat Food for Dental Health, (8.5-lb bag)||$$$|
Preventing Teeth Trouble in Your Cat
First, preventing teeth problems in your cat starts with a good dental hygiene routine. Either at home or at the vet, make sure to schedule your cat in for teeth cleaning at least once or twice a year (more appointments might be necessary for stuck-on plaque).
Second, you need to feed crunchy kibble bits, raw freeze-dried food, or chews so that plaque can be removed during the chewing process.
Wet cat food is better for senior cats who cannot chew at all, but providing only wet food won’t help remove plaque as much as chewing does. Dental chews are a good solution for cats who cannot eat dry cat food but need gum stimulation.
Third, provide fresh water daily. Fresh, clean water is vital for a healthy cat mouth!
Fortunately, there is a new commitment among pet food manufacturers to the overall health and well-being of your pet. Oftentimes, a change in diet can help cats in preventing tooth problems.
If in doubt, your first best source for information on cat health and nutrition is, of course, your veterinarian. Foods promoting to have a special formula for older cats don’t always meet their needs, so make sure to consider your cat’s specific needs first.
Choosing Cat Food for Older Cats With Teeth Problems
If your cat has other health issues apart from arthritis she’s bound to have as time passes, your vet will suggest an appropriate food to fortify your friend.
Like their wild cousins, domestic cats don’t necessarily chew their food. In the wild, they mostly need their teeth for ripping and shredding. That’s a good thing because it means that they do not need teeth to eat foods as long as they are not too hard and tiny enough to be swallowed without too much discomfort. That means that domestic cats get by just fine with toothless munching.
Your kitty isn’t vegan.
Cats are carnivores. In order to thrive, they must have nutrients such as taurine and arachidonic acid, found only in animal sources. Look for real meat among the first ingredients.
(Tip: The word “meal” in pet food simply means that the natural meat undergoes dehydration during processing. In order to eliminate the word meal in the labeling, the meat would have to be complete with its water.
Watch those carbs! Essentially, things like grains, corn, gluten meal included in your cat’s food are more to produce a sense of fullness or satiety. They are non-essential to your cat’s health, so why buy them?
Senior cats benefit from Omega 3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA in their diets.
These can come in the form of supplement pills or liquid sprays, or they can be included in Kitty’s daily meal plan.
Royal Canin and Natural Balance dry and wet foods contain these essential supplements as does Go! Fit and Free . Like other Omega 3 supplements, these derive from cold-water fish like salmon and supply a boost to Kitty’s overall health.
Support your older cat’s teeth with dental powder!
The Scruffy Paws Scrub and Shine Dental Powder can help take care of your cat’s teeth. It works by fighting bad cat breath while supporting dental health. The best part? All you have to do is sprinkle this tasty powder over your pet’s normal food.
- Active ingredients in the powder help fight bad breath causing bacteria
- Takes the hassle out of teeth cleaning
- Helps fight plaque formation, dental disease, and gum issues
A raw diet is probably best for your kitty but freeze-dried foods arrive in second place.
Manufacturers like Stella and Chewy produce freeze-dried cat foods to be re-hydrated at mealtime (see above table). A raw freeze-dried diet is the best of both worlds, offering your cat optimal nutrition and dental stimulation.
Another interesting offering is ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Cat Cuisine. This New Zealand company features choices like Beef, Lamb, Venison, or Mackerel with Lamb.
Be wary of an all-dry diet. Dehydration can quickly overcome a senior cat.
If she’s not drinking enough, a diet of strictly kibbles won’t provide the liquid she would be getting if she were in the wild. Also if your cat swallows hard kibble without crunching them a tiny bit, they may face gastrointestinal problems.
In that case, there are a few things you can do :
- Mix his/her usual kibble in warm water or gravy to soften it up
- Mix his/her kibble with wet food and let it soak for a while
- Transition completely to soft food (but do choose quality even if it’s pricier! Cheap wet cat food is the worst for your cat).
Final Thoughts: Cat Food for Older Cats with Teeth Problems
Our investigation reveals that the best food you can offer your older cat is the rawest and natural a diet you can find and afford. Good quality, high protein wet or dehydrated food (that you can rehydrate) comes in second.
We happily report that there are various and sundry products on the market today that produce excellent, quality nutrition for older cats.
Unfortunately, medical issues often afflict older cats. Conditions like arthritis, obesity, hyperthyroidism, or troubles with her heart and/or kidneys can develop as cats – and people – age. These ailments will alter Kitty’s dietary requirements in her Golden years, making it nearly impossible to find a ‘silver bullet’ cat food that can take care of everything she needs.
Therefore, our research on this subject leads us to recommend that you consult with a veterinarian you trust about the best diet for your older cat.