Wet Food And Dental Health

rosegold

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I had an interesting conversation with my vet today. I mentioned wanting to try again with changing Chilli’s wet food to a different brand, since the one she currently eats contains mostly tuna and I’ve heard negative things about feeding tuna every day. In this country it can be somewhat difficult and expensive to find a good wet food alternative that DOESN’T contain tuna, so I figured I’d see if he had any recommendations.

To my surprise he suggested switching her to only dry food (he uses Royal Canin for his cats). I asked, isn’t wet food considered much better for their health in terms of moisture and isn’t dry food often full of addictive carbs and unnecessary fillers? He sort of conceded but he was insistent that because of how dirty Chilli’s teeth are, kibble would be the best thing for her along with strict water hygiene to make sure she drinks enough. His anecdotal evidence was his 18 year old cat who’s eaten nothing but kibble his whole life and has sparkling clean teeth, versus his 15 year old who ate only wet food and had most of her teeth removed. I was really surprised as I’ve never heard this before. Surely food is food, bacteria is bacteria, in terms of what makes the teeth dirty or clean??

I love my vet and I know he is generally very knowledgeable and skillful compared to many vets here, especially when it comes to dental health and surgeries, but based on the research I’ve done since getting home I wonder if he is just really misinformed and incorrect about the food/nutrition aspect of things here.

Does anyone have any thoughts to weigh in on this? Of course it’d be easier and much cheaper to just feed her kibble, but right now I still intend to find a high quality wet food, because I’ve been convinced by the arguments for doing so. But if it’s jeopardizing her dental health then I suppose I could reconsider.
 

jen

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A lot of dental issues have to do with genetics, not food. Plus cats usually swallow kibble after a single crunch to break it and aren't sitting there chewing and chewing like we do. Personally I do not agree with this vet that dry food is better because it IS full of carbs and fillers and cats tend to be overfed, overeat, become obese and get sick.

I absolutely think water is extremely important in their diets since they are not naturally looking to drink from a bowl on instinct. They are not going to get the proper water intake on a dry diet alone. Feed canned food, keep up on dental cleanings and don't put it off until the mouth is in bad shape and you should be fine.
 

jen

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Oh I forgot, there is a dental diet by prescription that is made up of very large kibble that the cats DO have to chew more. Maybe that is something to look into as a treat or addition to the canned diet. I don't like it personally due to the carbs and fillers and junk.

ALSO there is one dry food called Dr Elsey's Clean Protein, that is probably one of the best as far as dry diets go. Lower carb and higher protein, but again, I would not make it the majority of my cats diet personally.
 

tabbytom

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To my surprise he suggested switching her to only dry food (he uses Royal Canin for his cats).
Some members ever mentioned before regarding vets recommending dry food is because the vet school they go to are sponsored by dry food companies and they are paid when someone buy the dry food from the clinic and therefore they push very hard that dry food is better than wet food.

Here are some articles for you to read :-

6-reasons-dry-food-clean-cats-teeth

Feeding Your Cat - 4 pages 11-13.pdf

open-wide-the-basics-of-kitty-dentals

answers-what-exactly-is-an-obligate-carnivore

answers-what-dry-food-does-to-your-cat-s-fur
 
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jen

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Some members ever mentioned before regarding vets recommending dry food is because the vet school they go to are sponsored by dry food companies and they are paid when someone buy the dry food from the clinic and therefore they push very hard that dry food is better than wet food.
Most clinics that sell the prescription food sell both canned and dry and every clinic I have worked for got nothing for selling the food (other then staff lunch by the rep who came to talk about new products). My theory as to why they push it so hard is that they know what it is and what is in it and when a pet has an issue it is a simple go to for them to rely on as many vets aren't specifically trained in pet nutrition, nor do they have the time. They are so busy and have so much to focus on that many cannot excel at something so specific. The big name pet food companies (Purina, RC, Hills...) made it simpler by providing foods designed for specific issues with paperwork and pamphlets to back it all up. For many average pet owners, this is fine and great and a huge weight off their shoulders. Pet owners who do a lot of research have a lot more knowledge on specific nutrition for the pet they own can question the vets and the foods available. But general uninformed pet owner (I hesitate to say uncaring, but just unaware or not interested in researching maybe?) has a food specifically for the ailment their pet has right there waiting for them. It is just easier.

I hope that makes sense. I think about this a lot. I always hear people questioning why on earth vets push poor quality food. But imagine if there was no prescription diets. It would be chaos.
 

lisahe

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Our cat specialist vet recommends feeding only wet foods. She also recommends brushing cats' teeth. She also suggests getting cats tested for the Bartonella bacterium if they have bad dental health at a young age (as our cats did -- Siamese cats and mixes are prone to tooth problems) and then treating them with bacteria if they test positive. We feed wet food, brush our cats' teeth, and have treated them for Bartonella. Their teeth are doing much better now, at nearly age six, then they were at about age two, when they needed dental cleanings.

Tooth brushing is less hassle than it sounds like and for many cats -- particularly ours with their glitchy stomachs -- it's far more important to feed them wet foods with lots of protein and very few carbs. And then there's the issue of dry food, water intake, and kidney disease, to which I just want to say a big "no thank you"!

Here's another article about dry food and teeth: Does Dry Food Actually Clean Your Cat's Teeth?
 

Tobermory

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In addition to the great information and resources jen and tabbytom provide, here’s a site by a vet who specializes in feline nutrition: catinfo.org. While she advocates strongly for a homemade diet, you’ll find a lot of information about a number of diet-related issues as well as other common issues in cats. Dr. Pierson’s site is where I first began my education about feline nutrition.

Jen says, and I’ve observed, that dry doesn’t clean teeth. I haven’t fed dry for years, but my cats always swallowed the pieces whole!
 

lisahe

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In addition to the great information and resources jen and tabbytom provide, here’s a site by a vet who specializes in feline nutrition: catinfo.org. While she advocates strongly for a homemade diet, you’ll find a lot of information about a number of diet-related issues as well as other common issues in cats. Dr. Pierson’s site is where I first began my education about feline nutrition.

Jen says, and I’ve observed, that dry doesn’t clean teeth. I haven’t fed dry for years, but my cats always swallowed the pieces whole!
Same here about Dr. Pierson's site -- it's a particularly good start because it's so readable. And she's a vet.

We fed our previous cat mostly dry food (this was before I read Dr. Pierson's site!) and had the same observation as Jen and Tobermorey: Brooksie did not chew her food much. She did crunch sometimes but when the food came back up, it was always whole. (I think the food probably came back up because we fed her pretty substandard stuff that didn't agree with her digestive system!)
 

Sharon2665

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I have had to do a lot of research on cat foods since I had a cat who almost died from stones and another from diabetes. They only thing that worked for my boys was wet food and only pate. What most folks don’t realize is that the ones with cut up food or shredded food and gravy are filled with nothing but carbs in the gravy and aren’t any better for them than dry other than there is more water in them.
Not sure why the vets don’t believe it. I have had ours tell me the same thing. I just tell them hmm my cats sugars are normal with wet food and my cat who had a PU no longer leaks urine from stones all over and they back down. Not sure if they get kick backs or if they are just not educated on it. I have found always research and study any animal issues on your own as vets have to be generaliasuon many animals and diseases and many things they have never heard of. We had three vets that had to research what histoplasmosis was for our one cats dx that almost killed him cause no one was familiar with it. Keep up your good research.
 

Wile

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I have noticed anecdotally that my last cat fed first on a dry diet before switching to wet did get more tartar build up on his teeth on the wet food diet and needed scaling done more often. My guess is that your vet suggested dry food because he's trying to manage your cat's oral health and many pet owners are resistant to teeth brushing (it seems like your vet is also lacking in this area...). If your cat is having issues with his oral health teeth brushing really is the best option and can be very easy to do. Give it a try :)
 
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FeebysOwner

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I've said this before, and will again. Could just be pure coincidence - combined with genetics - but out of the 3 cats I have had the only one who had teeth issues was the one that never ate any dry food. Gracie (and now, also Feeby) got rave reviews from my vet for how well/clean their gums/teeth were/are. I have never brushed their teeth, and if Feeby (14+) continues to have good gums/teeth, I don't expect that I will have to. She ate dry only (don't shoot me) up until a couple-three years ago; now she eats both wet and dry.

Maybe if I had been 'smart' enough to think about brushing Tawny's teeth back then, he might not have lost as many teeth that he did. So, I guess I would say if you only feed wet food, maybe make brushing part of your plan.
 

CatLover49

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Our cat specialist vet recommends feeding only wet foods. She also recommends brushing cats' teeth. She also suggests getting cats tested for the Bartonella bacterium if they have bad dental health at a young age (as our cats did -- Siamese cats and mixes are prone to tooth problems) and then treating them with bacteria if they test positive. We feed wet food, brush our cats' teeth, and have treated them for Bartonella. Their teeth are doing much better now, at nearly age six, then they were at about age two, when they needed dental cleanings.

Tooth brushing is less hassle than it sounds like and for many cats -- particularly ours with their glitchy stomachs -- it's far more important to feed them wet foods with lots of protein and very few carbs. And then there's the issue of dry food, water intake, and kidney disease, to which I just want to say a big "no thank you"!

Here's another article about dry food and teeth: Does Dry Food Actually Clean Your Cat's Teeth?
Do u think if a cat has say digest issues that Hills I/ D for digests issues would work or not??Im really curious.Im learning alot on this site
 

lisahe

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Do u think if a cat has say digest issues that Hills I/ D for digests issues would work or not??Im really curious.Im learning alot on this site
Well... all cats are different, with different causes for their digestive issues. Hills foods do work well for some cats, particularly in the short term, when they're used as a bridge to a more permanent solution to a cat's health problem.

But would I feed this I/D dry food with barley as the second ingredient plus two forms of corn? No, simply because cats just aren't designed to eat that many grains. Would I feed this I/D wet food with rice and potato protein? Absolutely not -- one of our cats had horrible gas and vomited when she ate foods with potato! Edwina isn't the only cat on the site who has trouble with potato. I don't like the rice, either, because it's just a carby filler. The I/D chicken and vegetable stew, though, is worse, with wheat gluten and two forms of rice.

We find for our cats that simple recipes work best: no potato, peas, or other carby vegetables, no grains, no carrageenan. Cats need meat protein, not vegetables! This is what our cat vet always says: Meat! Finding the right combination can be difficult for cats with digestive problems but the simpler the recipe and the fewer ingredients that aren't species-appropriate the better.
 

daftcat75

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We only started feeding cats 100 years ago give or take half a century. Before that, they fed themselves. They used to be employed in granaries where they ate the rodents and spared the grain. So I think it’s bass-ackwards that when we chose to feed them, we skip the wet food and feed them the grain.

In terms of what dry food can do to a cat’s digestion, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and colon, any dental benefit, real or imagined, just isn’t worth it.
 

MargoLane

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I feed a wet/raw diet, and I've just had to start brushing my cats teeth. She's only three, and at her last check-up the vet showed me her back teeth, that are starting to look bad. I can't feed her as many bones as I would like to, as bone has been causing constipation lately. Since we only just started a few days ago, right now it's mostly her front teeth that I'm getting, but she's already getting used to it. I bought a certain kind of treat, and she only gets it after getting her teeth brushed. She sees the bag and starts running towards me, struggles a bit while having her teeth done, then happily scarfs the treats. I want to get a cleaning done on her, but I'd have to wean her off her medication for a few weeks, as it's a blood thinner. So for now...I'm brushing. You can do it too!
 
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