Unlike their feral cousins, not all domestic cats have the same chances to use the natural world around them to help care for their teeth and gums. Felines in the wild chew on bones or grass to eliminate harmful plaque, but those methods of improvised dental care can respectively fracture teeth or cause some cats to vomit.
Neither idea is all that desirable for pet owners, but people still need to help their four-legged friends keep their mouths clean. To get the biggest bang for their buck (and their pets’ health), what types of ingredients should owners look for in their dental supplements for cats? Here are three questions your formulation should be able to answer with an affirmative if you want to make sure that felines are getting the best oral health supplements out there.
Like most health concerns, many of the problems cats can have with oral hygiene starts with keeping bacteria under control. The oral microbiome of cats, much like humans, needs active maintenance to prevent disease-promoting bacteria from multiplying and encouraging gingivitis, periodontitis, and other ailments.
The right ingredients should create a hostile environment for bad bacteria while leaving good microbes alone. One notable example is Ascophyllum nodosum. In studies of formulations containing extracts from this brown seaweed, there was a significant improvement in the oral health index of both cats and dogs after a six-week treatment regimen. Combined with brushing, this type of formulation can help to reduce bacteria forming plaque that causes health problems overall.
Some products may help to curb the population of harmful microbes, but they may contribute to the halitosis that many pet owners complain about. For example, allicin, the compound in garlic that gives people a pungent smell, is fantastic at killing oral bacteria, but can make your pet’s breath redolent of the dumpster behind an Italian restaurant.
This is another instance where seaweed extracts are perfect for oral care products. Ascophyllum nodosum extracts don’t offer an extreme malodorous profile. They simply help to control bacteria that can cause other types of bad breath and allow the other ingredients in a formulation to keep cats coming back for more.
Feeding your cat isn’t always an effortless process. These pint-sized carnivores can be picky if they aren’t receiving the right ratio of protein to fat (1 to 0.4) in their food. Even then, newness of flavors can be a barrier to getting them to accept new ingredients.
For cats that enjoy fishy feasts, seaweed can be an easy transition. The salty taste can be familiar of saltiness but ingredients like brown seaweed can integrate well into many products. Since it’s safe for cats in the ideal amount, you’ll be sure that their taste buds will adapt in time.