Pet Food Spotlight: Veterinary Exclusive Dental Diets

85% of cats and dogs over the age of 1 year are affected by dental disease. That is a lot of cats and dogs! Because of this, there has been plenty of research put into improving and preventing dental issues in our pets and many different dental products now exist.

For example, there is a large variety of pet toothpastes and toothbrushes on the market, as well as cleansing solutions and drinking water additives. There are a ton of treats available for both cats and dogs that are formulated specifically to help clean their teeth. There are also some great prescription dental diets you can find in vet clinics that are proven to help promote your pet’s oral health in more ways than one.

Human hand holding open the mouth of a dog

About Dental Disease

Some common signs and symptoms of dental disease include bad breath, drooling, oral pain, difficulty chewing, red swollen gums, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these in your pet, it’s very important that you get them examined by a veterinarian. They will be able to look at their mouth and tell you the state of the teeth and if they need a dental cleaning or some teeth extracted. Sometimes pets suffering from dental disease try to not show many obvious signs, so it is highly recommended to have a regular check-up with your vet so they can keep track of the state of their dental health.

There are four stages of dental disease. The following chart is a great summary of what these different stages look like:

Chart of the four stages of dental disease

About Dental Diets

Veterinary exclusive dental diets serve many purposes. They offer proper everyday nutrition for the average adult cat and dog with the added benefit of working to clean their teeth and prevent future dental issues. The best way they do this is by providing a much larger kibble than usual that works together with its rough texture to scrape the teeth and help remove plaque buildup. The pet must also chew the kibble more because of its size, increasing its effect on the teeth. They also contain some ingredients that are clinically proven to reduce and prevent plaque, tartar, gingivitis and bad breath.

Diagram explaining how larger kibble can clean teeth

It is important to note that the diets found exclusively through veterinary clinics have been through many clinical trials and tests to back up their claims and come highly vet-recommended (otherwise we wouldn’t sell them!) These diets are different than cat and dog diets labeled for “dental health” that you may find in a grocery or pet store that may or may not have trustworthy claims on the packaging. Please discuss dental diets with a vet if you would like to know more about the best dental diet option.

Royal Canin Veterinary Exclusive: Dental

Three bags of Royal Canin dental care food
  • Offered in Dental Cat, Dental Dog, and Dental Small Dog.
  • Dental Cat was awarded the VOHC seal for the reduction of the accumulation of plaque.
  • Combines the mechanical scrubbing from the kibble with plaque and tartar reducing ingredients.
  • Dental Cat & Dental Small Dog both contain the S/O index ingredients to promote bladder health and create an unfavorable environment for the formation of crystals and stones (common issue in cats and small dogs).
  • Dental Dog contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health and reduce inflammation, especially in older large-breed dogs.
  • Dental Dog and Small Dog both contain green tea polyphenols that aid in promoting dental health.
  • Also contains highly digestible protein, prebiotics and zeolite to promote digestion, protect the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the likelihood of vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Has a combination of vitamin A, biotin, chelated zinc and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat.
  • Contains an antioxidant blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and taurine.


Hill’s Prescription Diet: T/D

 Bag of Hills Prescription Diet dental care cat food Two bags of Hills Prescription Diet dental care dog food

  • Offered in T/D Feline, T/D Canine, and T/D Canine Small Bites
  • Cleans the tooth surface
  • Fights bacteria-laden plaque
  • Promotes overall health
  • Recommended for lifelong feeding of adult dogs
  • Unique kibble shape & size
  • Special fiber matrix technology in kibble
  • Complete and balanced nutrition


Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet: DH

Bag of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets dental health dog food Bag of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets dental health cat food         

  • Offered in DH Feline, DH Canine, and DH Canine Small Bites
  • VOHC approved
  • Optimal kibble size
  • Patented kibble texture
  • Added antioxidants A and E
  • Contains glucosamine for joint health
  • Excellent palatability
  • Excellent nutrition for everyday feeding of adult and senior cats and dogs

Written by Stephanie, RVT