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C2008-24

Dear Christopher Cat

I’d like to keep my cats’ teeth as clean as possible, but I don’t have time to brush them. My pet supply store sells cat foods that claim to help clean the teeth. Do they really work?

Christopher Responds

Yes, as long as they’ve been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

This organization of veterinary dentists and dental scientists reviews the results of two well-controlled studies on each product under evaluation.

Dental products can reduce plaque and calculus, also called tartar, in two ways: mechanically or using chemically active ingredients.

Products proven to reduce plaque and/or calculus are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance, which you’ll find on the product packaging.

VOHC-approved feline diets available in pet supply stores include Science Diet Oral Care and Friskies Feline Dental Diet. Through your veterinarian, you can buy Hill’s t/d or Purina DH.

Most dry foods are better for maintaining dental health than canned foods. However, dry kibble that crumbles easily offers less abrasive action – and therefore is less effective – than an approved dental diet.

I eat a dental diet to minimize calculus and plaque buildup. Bacteria in plaque travel through the blood and can infect the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.

I plan to live forever, so it’s important that I prevent such infections.

For more information on VOHC-approved products, visit www.vohc.org.

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