Revelation on dry food vs teeth controversy …

I’m making this short… I am!  But the teeth issue was touched on briefly recently which reminded me ….

The idea behind dry food-for-clean-teeth thing in cats has been that the crunching will chip off the tarter.  Of course if this were true, since 80% of the cat population is on dry food, I hardly think we’d be having the dental disease epidemic “they” say we have.  Well, after watching Nugget consume her pill pocket with the Prozac in it for the past few months, it’s clear to me that the only reason that pill pockets work with cats is that they actually do NOT chew anything that they can throw back and gulp down Pelican style.  Sure, they may get a bit or two in there, but for the most part the kibble barely touches their teeth.  Larger chunks of raw meat and bones (bones MUST be raw) will force them to chew.  If you ever try this, it is a kick to see their evident enjoyment in the process.  It does mean more work for us, however, and I find that I don’t always have the time or inclination to make these morsels available to my cats.  So, we soldier on as best we can per usual …


11 responses to “Revelation on dry food vs teeth controversy …

  1. Interesting, as always! Phoebe and Zoey, do actually chew some of their dry food because I can hear them, but I know they swallow quite a bit whole (I see it on the rare occasion one of them vomits). I don’t know what’s the best anymore so I’m just doing what my vet (the GI specialist) said since their IBD is stabile.

  2. Opossum definitely swallows most of his dry food whole, so I can attest to that. And he’s had lots of teeth extracted over the years when he was on an all-dry diet. So yeah, dry food doesn’t do a thing for teeth!

    • The whole wet vs. dry thing is SO confusing and at least for me, upsetting! Phoebe and Zoey might as well be my children as I love them THAT much, so I want them to be with me as long as possible. I want to do what’s best for them, but is it the high quality wheat-free/by-product free/deboned chicken dry food their IBD is stabile on like the GI specialist told me or is it high quality wet food (I can’t do raw for multiple reasons), as Molly and much of the current literature suggests? What’s your take on all this, Jill (or anyone else…)? I’m just curious…

      • Well, I tried the raw food, and Opossum wouldn’t eat it unless forced. Also, because we travel to the wilds of Canada 13 hours away by car, raw food wasn’t an option for a couple of months out of the year. We had switched to mostly canned food a year or two before we got Mickey, and then pre-Mickey we switched to an all-canned, grain-free Fancy Feast diet. That’s when Opossum started getting acid reflux, and diarrhea, and constipation, and started losing weight at a rapid pace. At first we thought the weight loss was good (because he was pretty overweight), but then discovered he was losing weight because his tummy was upset, his intestines thickened, and he wasn’t eating as much as we’d thought. He had a couple of incidents where I thought we’d have to put him to sleep. We tried a zillion different kinds of food: venison, duck, you name it, we tried it. We switched vets, and the new vet insisted that Opossum’s tummy was just too touchy, and we needed to pick a food he actually liked and stick with it…which was dry food, unfortunately: Royal Canin Selective 34/29. It was the only thing he’d eat when he was so sick. Because Mickey gets into EVERYTHING and it’s just too hard to feed the cats separately, we feed them this dry food now and nothing else, with a small amount of Petromalt every day. And we have a water fountain. So….in my experience, I’ve found that my cats seem to need some fiber, and an all-canned diet caused problems with hair mats irritating and stopping up their intestines because of too little fiber (and I think possibly Opossum is irritated by Carrageenan or guar gum or something else specific to canned food and/or Fancy Feast). If one could feed a good quality, grain-free canned food without “meat byproducts” (because what the heck is THAT, anyway? It could be road kill for all we know) with some canned pumpkin added, I’d say that’s the best plan, in my humble opinion. But Molly has MANY more years’ experience than I, so I defer to whatever her response may be!

      • My girls were put on vet-prescribed Hills Prescription Diet ID (Interic [sp?]Diet) when they were diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in 2006 at 2 3/4 years old. The pudding/diarrhea stopped but they still vomited often. That’s when I actually looked at the label and was shocked at the crap in this food! By-products, wheat, corn…everything bad! I couldn’t believe this was prescription, vet-recommended food! I started looking around and found Blue Buffalo so I asked my vet if I could try it and he said it wouldn’t hurt so I did. Almost immediately I saw a HUGE difference! Their need for metronitazole decreased from every other day to once or twice a week and they only vomit occasionally, not several times a week like before. My new vet is a GI specialist and he said since they are stabile, “don’t rock the boat” so I haven’t. But I still question the dry vs. wet thing…

      • Yeah, the Royal Canin dry has corn and wheat, too. Not happy about that. But Opossum literally Would. Not. Eat. Not even tuna! So we didn’t have a choice. And since this kibble stuff is literally like Kitty Crack, now Mickey is hooked on it, too. Oh well. I’m glad your girls are doing well!

      • Wow…I’m surprised a brand like Royal Canin would have corn and wheat in it! The Blue Buffalo Indoor Formula has brown rice, but no corn or wheat or by-products.

        If it’s the only thing Opossum will eat you just have to do the best you can. Do you feed them “meals” or free-feed? If you feed meals, maybe you can separate them into different rooms to eat. Phoebe & Zoey are free fed, but luckily they should be eating the same food.

      • No, Mindy, I free-feed them now because I think part of Opossum’s problems were related to having an empty tummy between feedings — I think it increased his acid reflux. So they are all now consequently getting very F-A-T! But again, Opossum’s case is very unique. I still think feeding them on a schedule, and feeding all canned (or raw) food, is probably the best.

      • I free-feed because Phoebe & Zoey are both fairly thin nibblers. I tried feeding them “meals” but they wanted nothing to do with being told when to eat. If they were fat, I’d probably work harder to get them to conform to a feeding schedule, but Zoey is between 8 1/2 and 9lbs and Phoebe is between 7 and 7 1/2lbs…and they are mostly muscle. What are you going to do if your kitties start to really pack on the pounds?

      • The kids get weighed on a fairly regular basis, and so far they are just kind of chubby. Let’s hope it stays that way!

  3. I currently work at a people/pet health food store and know there are many grain-free, by-product-free options available in both canned and dry varieties. You just need to know where to shop and be a vigilant label reader.

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