By far when it comes to diets for cats, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether feeding a cat crunchy food improves its oral health.
While some owners already think they have this figured out, most vets continue to underline that when it comes to the ideal pet food, there are several aspects to account for. What is more, these factors can vary from cat to cat based on the personality and lifestyle of the pet.
Crunchy food and your cat’s teeth
The notion that feeding your cat crisp food will improve its oral health originates from the belief that crusty meals add the friction factor and hence, the chances for developing plaque are reduced. Take note that there were several studies done in this sense that supported this hypothesis. In reality, certain types of crisp food do next to nothing for the teeth, while others are specifically formulated to help combat plaque in felines.
While you might be tempted to go purchase quality crunchy food for your cat right now, this is not how things actually work. One factor that these studies omitted is the particular chewing pattern specific to each feline. In fact, some cats are gulpers and will bypass the mastication process altogether. Therefore, if your fuzzy friend is a non-chewer, then not even the best anti-plaque food on the market can do anything regarding its teeth or oral health in general.
Tartar in felines
Tartar build-ups are one of the most common dental problems in cats. Sometimes, because the cat’s teeth present a bulge at the area where the teeth meet the gums, this issue can be overlooked by vets with less experience. An experienced veterinarian knows that when he/she notices that the gums are straight along the line of the tooth, there’s a fair chance that the cat is suffering from gingivitis, gingival recession or inflammation of the gums.
So, I shouldn’t even bother with a gulper?
In case you didn’t know, research shows that a cat’s longevity is correlated to its oral health. While cat owners are only beginning to realize the importance of caring for their cat’s teeth, nutrition researchers and food companies have long been on the case. This is why you can find a wide variety of anti-tartar cat food in almost every store. Moreover, let’s not forget that even if the clinical studies suggest that a cat can benefit from this type of food, who’s to say these results relevant and applicable in practice?
In addition, it’s worth noting that at times certain felines need to switch to a wet food diet. Even though there is no long-term research conducted in this sense, some owners are so resistant in their beliefs that they’re willing to jeopardize their pet’s health on the grounds that this way to reduce the risk of feline periodontal disease.
While there’s nothing wrong with ensuring your cat will not suffer any oral problems, keep in mind that vets are professionals with years of experience who know how to diagnose and treat various cat specific conditions. In short, it’s wise not to ignore your vet’s recommendations, regardless of what you read!