How does a dental treat differ from other cat treats?

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Everyone loves a treat and cats are no exception. They can be rewards for taking medicine, clicker training—and sometimes, you’ll just want to treat for no particular reason!

There are all kinds of specially formulated ones, whether for hairball control, digestive health or healthy skin and fur.

Oral health issues are the most common health problems diagnosed in adult pets and are often a silent process that progresses without detection. These include broken, decayed or missing teeth, bad breath, inflamed gums, bleeding along the gum line and irritation.

Annual dental exams, professional cleanings and brushing are critical. A visit to the veterinary dentist is the only way to be 100-percent sure of your cat’s oral health.

However, there are also numerous feline dental chews on the market.

Feline dental chews are specially formulated and designed to be part of a home dental program. These treats contain enzymes, antiseptics and various textures, like crunch, to aid in removing plaque and tarter accumulation, which are the two leading contributors of dental health issues. They also freshen breath and always come in tempting flavors, such as ocean fish, salmon, beef and chicken among others.
When selecting dental treats, it’s a good idea to be sure they are approved by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council), an organization comprised of veterinary dentists and scientists. Not all dental chews are created equal, and some manufacturers frankly make claims that cannot be substantiated, but they review submissions and recommend whether to award the VOHC seal to a product.
According to VOHC, approved foods, treats, and chews must reduce plaque or tartar by at least 10 percent to achieve the VOHC seal of approval. If a chemical anti-plaque agent is used, it needs to reduce plaque or tartar by at least 20 percent. Go to http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm to see which products have received the VOHC seal of approval.

There are also some dental cat toys, such as the sisal rope ball. The constant chewing will help reduce tarter and plaque.

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