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7 Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Bad Teeth: Our Top Picks

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

This is our review of the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth in 2022.

As cats age, their bodies make less calcium. This lack of calcium affects their bones and teeth. Pay close attention to what your older cat is eating so they have good oral hygiene.

It might seem challenging to find the right cat food for older cats with bad teeth. You want to ensure they’re eating healthy food as they always do, but you should change the food’s texture. Soft food is easier for older cats with bad teeth to chew.

There’s no one perfect food for older cats, so we tested seven brands to see what our cat liked best.

Cat Food For Bad Teeth Comparison Table

Top 7 Picks
Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food Oral Care
  • Item form: Dry
  • Ingredients: Chicken, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  • Item form: Raw, Dry, Frozen
  • Ingredients: Chicken
Sheba Perfect Portions
  • Item form: Wet
  • Ingredients: Salmon
Purina ONE Sensitive System
  • Item form: Kibble, Crunchy
  • Ingredients: Protein-Rich
Blue Baffalo
Best Value Cat Food
  • Item form: Dry
  • Ingredients: Chicken
Iams Proactive Health
  • Item form: Pellet, Dry
  • Ingredients: Chicken
Feline Greenie
Best Cat Treats for Older Cats
  • Item form: Treats
  • Ingredients: Chicken meal, wheat, brown rice

How We Picked Older Cat Food

There are so many types of cat food on the market that you need to ensure you find exactly what your cat needs. Cats are susceptible to dental problems as young as three, so you need to think about their oral hygiene.

To pick the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth, we researched how each brand created healthy food. we researched their ingredients and matched them against the recommended daily intake for older cats.

Since older cats might have dental problems and issues with chewing and digestion, we also researched kibble sizes.

When we tested these foods with our older cat, we noticed how easily she could eat on her own. Smaller kibble is better for older cats to chew thoroughly, which aids digestion, especially in sensitive stomachs.

Old cat eating dry food
Old cat eating dry food

Ingredients

First and foremost, we checked the ingredients. We want to feed my cat natural food, so we passed over anything with additives or fake flavors.

We also wanted to make sure the foods had low fat contents. Anywhere between 12% to 15% is enough to keep them healthy and energized without veering into obesity.

When you’re researching, make sure you choose cat foods that are high in protein. Cats need this for their overall health, but it also keeps them whole so they don’t overeat. Protein-rich foods help cats stay at a healthy weight.

As you’re checking the labels for protein, make sure there aren’t artificial additives. Your cat might love these because they enhance the food’s flavor, but they’re not natural. Since you’re taking care of an older cat, you need to focus on natural ingredients to boost their health.

Nutrients

Choosing healthy foods that spotlight vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals will improve your older cat’s health. Since they’re not producing enough calcium, you know there are other nutrients their bodies need.

Buying food with natural nutrients will help your cat maintain their teeth and bone health. Food with vitamins also gives them extra energy, so they’ll act more like the playful kitten they once were.

Digestibility

Older cats have sensitive stomachs that make it tough to digest the food they ate when they were younger. Look for foods that are high in fiber so they’ll digest it easily. They’ll have no trouble digesting food with high water content, and as a bonus, it’s easy to chew.

If you choose food that your cat can’t digest, they’ll have stomach problems. They might not be able to eliminate the food naturally and either throw up or not be able to eat at all.

Cost

Even though you want to give your pet the world, you must keep your budget in mind. We knew buying expensive cat food wasn’t sustainable, so we didn’t want to test something we couldn’t afford.

The foods on this list shouldn’t cost more than the cat food you currently buy.

You might also be interested in: Best cat food for older cats that vomit

Best Cat Food for Older Cats with Bad Teeth

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Oral Care

Best Overall Cat Food
Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food Oral Care
Best Overall Cat Food
The best cat food for older cats with bad teeth is Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food Oral Care because it’s a soft, dry food with natural ingredients.

If you talk to your vet about your older cat’s bad teeth, they’ll most likely recommend Hill’s Science Diet for you. This brand has a variety of foods for cats of different ages and various health concerns.

Since they have such specialized offerings, you should only feed this food to older cats with oral hygiene problems. We don’t advise giving it to kittens or pregnant cats. If you have multiple cats in one home, be sure you keep the food bowls separate.

This food is soft enough to not harm your cat’s teeth, but it’s also crunchy enough to clean their teeth with each bite. The manufacturer uses interlocking fibers to clean your cat’s teeth while they eat.

This cat food isn’t only great-tasting and beneficial for your cat’s health. The company runs a charity called Hill’s Shelter and Love program. They donate food to animal shelters across the United States to keep pets healthy while they wait to find the perfect home.

Pros
  • Proven to reduce plaque and tartar in older cats
  • Includes many necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your cat healthy
  • Some of the profits go to a charity that feeds homeless pets
Cons
  • Larger-than-normal kibble might be too big for your cat’s comfort

2. Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Natural Kibble Raw Cat Food

Best Dry Cat Food
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry Cat Food
Best Dry Cat Food
It’s possible to still feed your older cat dry cat food, as long as you find the right soft dry cat food for cats with bad teeth.

In that case, Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Natural Kibble + Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food is what you’re looking for. This food has plenty of protein since it’s made primarily with cage-free chicken.

The company adds raw, freeze-dried ingredients to the chicken. Raw means that the food isn’t heavily processed, so your cat gets all natural nutrients.

Instinct is an American company that sources ingredients from around the world. They never use corn, grain, wheat, soy, or preservatives, so you know your cat is getting natural food.

The kibble itself is small enough that older cats and those with dental problems can comfortably chew each piece.

Pros
  • Made mainly of cage-free chicken for a high protein content
  • Weight-control food makes your cat feel full without overeating
  • All-natural raw ingredients with no additives or preservatives
Cons
  • More expensive than typical dry cat food

3. Sheba Perfect Portions Paté

Best Wet Cat Food
Sheba Perfect Portions
Best Wet Cat Food
Some pet owners don’t like the mess that comes along with wet cat food, but Sheba Perfect Portions Paté will keep both you and your cat happy.

Sheba Perfect Portions Paté is the best soft cat food, especially if you hate the traditional canned wet cat food. While you have to spoon that type of food into your cat’s bowl and stand by while they make a mess, Perfect Portions are cohesive soft food in its own tray.

The water content of Sheba Perfect Portions Paté is closer to wet food than dry, so this is also a good food for cats who aren’t drinking enough water. They’re drawn to the natural smells of salmon, whitefish, tuna, chicken, or beef, depending on the variety pack you buy.

Once your cat takes a taste, they’ll love this food. It’s soft enough to not hurt their teeth, but it still has a firm texture they can’t resist.

Pros
  • Easy to serve and doesn’t make a mess when your cat eats
  • Has added vitamins and minerals to promote good health
  • No need to store leftovers because there’s one serving per container
Cons
  • More expensive than traditional canned wet cat food

4. Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food

Best Healthy Cat Food
Purina ONE Sensitive System
Best Healthy Cat Food
Purina is a giant in the pet food world, with many lines of healthy choices for dogs and cats.

Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food is great for older cats with bad teeth for reasons beyond oral hygiene. This food is easy to digest, so if your cat has a sensitive stomach, they won’t have any problems with Purina.

Antioxidants in Purina’s food will boost your cat’s immune system, keeping them healthy. It’s also rich in omega-6 fatty acids that nourish cats’ skin and keep their coat shiny.

Your cat will love this food because it’s primarily made with real turkey, giving it a great taste. The turkey also raises the protein content of Purina by over 30%, which gives your cat more energy.

Pros
  • Real turkey is the main ingredient in this protein-rich food
  • Omega-6 fatty acids benefit your cat’s skin and fur
  • Small kibble is easy to eat and digest
Cons
  • Some cats prefer seafood flavors to turkey and might not like the taste

5. Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging

Best Value Cat Food
Blue Baffalo
Best Value Cat Food
It’s hard to find quality food for older cats without blowing your budget, but Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging is the best value cat food I’ve found.

Many brands offer healthy food for older cats, but it seems like they charge for each of the vitamins and nutrients they include! Blue Buffalo Healthy Aging is an excellent value with plenty of nutritional benefits for your cat. Not only is it affordable, but it also has a long shelf life so you don’t have to worry about it getting stale.

This food provides a lot of protein since it includes real chicken with no by-products added as filler. Blue Buffalo also uses fruits and vegetables to give your cat as much natural, raw food as they can.

The company then puts in essential nutrients that boost your older cat’s well-being. For example, taurine helps your cat’s heart and vision health.

Pros
  • Includes vitamins and nutrients to boost your cat’s immune system
  • Gives them plenty of protein to increase energy levels
  • Very affordable while still being high-quality
Cons
  • Only comes in chicken flavor, so cats who love seafood might not like it

6. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food

Best Senior Ca Food
Iams Proactive Health
Best Senior Cat Food
Iams is a big name in the pet food industry, and they offer specialized food depending on your cats’ specific needs.

Many brands gear their foods towards kittens because you want to start them off with a healthy lifestyle. However, it’s still important to feed senior cats a balanced diet.

Older cats often have age-related health problems that special food might alleviate.

Your cat will love the chicken in Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food for the flavor it adds. You’ll love how that level of protein gives your cat more energy and supports their muscle strength.

This food has antioxidants that improve your cat’s immune system. Extra calcium promotes healthy bones and teeth.

Since the food is for older cats, it’s also easy to eat and digest. Your cat can handle the small kibble, and the crunchy texture keeps their teeth free from plaque.

Pros
  • Loaded with vitamins to keep senior cats healthy
  • Chicken protein gives older cats more energy
  • Easy for older cats with bad teeth to eat and digest
Cons
  • Some pet owners say their cats get constipated when switching to this food

7. Greenies Feline Natural Dental Care

Best Cat Treats for Older Cats
Feline Greenie
Best Cat Treats for Older Cats
You still want to show your older cat love with treats, so make sure you choose something healthy for both their teeth and body.

These treats are great for older cats with bad teeth because they’re small, tasty, and natural. There are no artificial preservatives or flavors in these treats, so your cat gets the taste of real tuna. And, as a perk for you, the treats also freshen your cat’s breath as they eat them!

While Greenies doesn’t add anything harmful to their treats, they do add some good things: vitamins, minerals, and extra nutrients. The treats come in a range of container sizes, so you can start small to make sure your cat loves the taste, then buy bigger containers to save money.

Greenies treats have all the nutrition you want for your cat’s health, plus each treat is less than two calories. That means you can spoil your cat without putting them at risk of obesity or poor dental hygiene.

Pros
  • Natural treats to promote an ideal weight and dental health in one
  • Comes in various sizes: 2.1 ounces, 4.6 ounces, 9.75 ounces, and 21 ounces
  • Highly recommended by vets
Cons
  • Might be too crunchy for some cats with damaged or lost teeth

How Dry vs Wet Cat Food Differs For Older Cats

Both dry and wet cat food can be healthy for cats, but there are differences between the two.

The most significant difference is the moisture level. Wet food has about 70% water, while dry food’s water content only totals about 10%. You might want to feed your older cat wet food because the moisture makes it easier to chew, but wet food is detrimental to sensitive teeth.

Manufacturers typically make wet food from frozen meat paired with grain protein. They blend everything together and seal it in a can. This process uses enough heat to destroy any unhealthy pathogens.

Dry food, on the other hand, blends meat, fat, vitamins, and minerals. A machine applies pressure to form small bits of kibble that are easy to digest. Some brands spray additional fat on the food to enhance its smell.

There are benefits to both types of cat food. If your cat isn’t drinking water, feeding them wet food could help them stay hydrated. Dry food causes fewer dental problems, is easier to store, and is more affordable than canned wet food. Therefore most pet owners choose this option.

When you’re researching the right food for your older cat, weigh your dry and wet options carefully. Look for soft dry cat food for cats with bad teeth.

Transitioning Foods

Many cats won’t try a new food if you give them a bowl of it. Even if they’re hungry, they’ll resist eating something different. It’s easy to get discouraged and think they don’t like the new food, but transitioning their food will help them adjust.

Start by serving them 75% of their older food and adding just 25% of the new brand. After a few days, increase the mix to half and half. Two or three days after that, you can give them a bowl full of the new food because they’re used to it.

Preventing Dental Problems

Choosing the best cat food for dental health is a great way to prevent dental problems in an older cat. But you can also take other steps to keep your pet healthy.

You can brush your cat’s teeth using a soft brush and appropriate toothpaste. Make sure to be gentle while brushing.

While it’s easier to start this habit when your cat is young, you can introduce tooth brushing to older cats. Put cat toothpaste on your finger and allow your cat to sniff, taste, and explore this new substance before you bring a brush near their mouth.

If you don’t think you can wrangle your cat to brush their teeth yourself, you can find a vet who will do it. They’ll charge for this service, so you might find yourself spending anywhere from $50 to $300 per visit.

There are treats and tooth powders on the market that promote good oral hygiene for your cat. Consider introducing these into your cat’s diet along with the best cat food for bad teeth.

If at all possible, feed your cat dry food more than anything else. This helps keep their teeth clean, while wet food can stick in their teeth and cause problems.

Check out these answers to some of the things people wonder when it comes to their cat’s oral hygiene.

How Can I Feed My Cat With Teeth Problems?

Many of the foods on this list are softer than the average dry foods, so your cat won’t have trouble chewing them.

You should also consider the size of the kibble you feed your cat. It’s easier for them to pick up and chew small chunks of food.

Dry food is better for oral hygiene because it doesn’t stick in their teeth. However, many older cats don’t drink as much water as they used to. Giving them food with added water, or softening their food in water, will help them stay hydrated.

Is My Cat Too Old for Dental Surgery?

Old cats can still have dental surgery, but you’ll want to take your vet’s advice about necessary procedures.

Cats are never too old to have surgery, but they should be in good health. If an older cat needs anesthesia for surgery, the vet should administer it safely, and you should keep a close eye on them during recovery.

How Can I Ease My Cat’s Tooth Pain?

As your cat gets older, it’s best to start feeding them food made for cats with bad teeth. This can prevent any issues from becoming more problematic. You can also give your cat dental treats and brush their teeth for optimal hygiene.

If your cat seems to be in pain despite taking all of these measures, then you should take them to the vet. It’s not safe to give them Orajel or other human oral products, so your vet will have better solutions.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Bad Teeth?

You might notice that your cat isn’t eating as much as they used to or are making a mess while eating. They’ll lose weight as a result. They might also drool, have bad breath, or paw at their mouth.

If you look at your cat’s mouth, you might see loose or missing teeth. Red or bleeding gums could indicate gingivitis or other diseases. Take your pet to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.

About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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