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Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth (2024): Senior Feline Dental Care

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: February 20, 2024 - Author: Laraib Shah
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: February 20, 2024  
Author:  Laraib Shah

Older cats are prone to gum disease and dental issues because when they get old, they cannot produce enough calcium to keep their bones and teeth healthy and strong.

Because of this, their teeth become weaker and this can cause dental problems and make eating meals far more of a challenge. Poor things. So, to combat this, we need to find the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth

I can't stress this enough! It is paramount that you understand how healthy your cat's teeth are because it gives clear indicators of their overall health. Especially when they are entering theirs senior years or suffer from a condition such as FIV, which can also affect dental health radically. 

Cats are highly skilled actors and can hide pain extremely well. This stems all the way back to their primal instinct of not showing any sign of weakness in the wild, as this would have made them easier prey to potential predators.

And a quick heads up! Cats can develop dental problems, including gingivitis, when they're young. If gingivitis begins to manifest, be mindful of sourcing the best wet cat food for gingivitis (which our best overall pick, Smalls, is perfect for).

As I mentioned already, diseases such as FIV can cause terribly painful dental issues in cats. We know this all too well as one of our cats, Spidey, has FIV and we have to take her to the vet regularly for dental work. She has had several teeth extracted and can now only eat specific foods.

Unfortunately, this is a specific senior cat health issue that we are quite familiar with. However, we are ready to share our knowledge with you if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

With our expertise in testing cat foods, cat dental care and daily experience with our little pal, Spidey, we can help you choose the best cat food for older cats with bad teeth.

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth

Best Overall Choice

small human grade meat cat food

Smalls Cat Food

Smalls cat food is a wonderful choice for older cats with dental issues because it’s soft, easy to eat, and gentle on their teeth. And it is of especially high quality in terms of nutrition. This makes it our overall best pick for soft cat food for senior cats

The top-notch ingredients in Smalls cat food support the health of senior cats, regardless of their dental health. 

Additionally, Smalls cat food is moisture-rich, which assists in hydration and makes the food softer and easier for older cats to chew and digest.

It ensures that senior cats can comfortably eat their meals and also get maximum nourishment with no difficulty or discomfort. Job done!  

3 Top Cat Food For Older Cat With Bad Teeth Picks – Best, Value & Premium


Like our other cat food group tests, we select three recipes that have been proven effective in combating dental issues in senior cats as a way of highlighting a best overall, a budget choice that is still worthy and a premium pick.

Our large social media following (over 1 million followers) allows us to reach out to cat owners for their valuable input and experiences. It's a great resource to have and utilise because many have experience with senior cats and their related dental issues.

We created this food guide by testing the top options and considering feedback from cat owners who switched to cat food for better dental health, as well as advice from vets. 

Plus, we have our own personal experience with our own FIV kitties dental problems.

Our testing covers a range of great tasting, budget-friendly, and premium cat foods for older cats with bad teeth.

Our Top 3 Choices

Best Overall

small human grade meat cat food

Smalls Cat Food

  • Human grade ingredients only
  • Soft and easily digestible
  • Tried and tested on our own cat successfully!

Best Value

Purina DentaLife Made in USA Facilities Cat Dental Treats, Savory Salmon Flavor - 13.5 oz. Canister

Purina DentaLife Adult Cat Treats

  • Affordable
  • Soft and easily chewed
  • Easily digestible

Premium Choice

Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, Veterinary Diet, 4 lb. Bag

Hills Diet t/d Feline Dental Health Cat Food

  • Includes fiber that helps in cleaning the teeth.
  • Fights bacteria
  • Reduces the risk of struvite

So that’s a quick chart showing you our best cat food for dental problems in older cats with bad teeth picks.

But why have we chosen these? 

Let’s look at the top 3 in a little more detail.

cat food for older cats with teeth problems

1. Smalls Cat Food - Best Overall

small human grade meat cat food

Smalls cat food stands out as our top choice for the best cat food for cats with bad teeth and dental issues, especially as they get older, and here’s why!

First off, Small's cat food is a super soft cat food for your cat’s teeth.

Since it’s gentle and very easy to chew, it makes mealtime much easier. Smalls cat food is far more comfortable for older cats who might struggle with harder foods or kibble because of bad teeth. 

Fundamentally, you are giving them a meal that’s both utterly delicious and also kind to their sensitive mouths.

But there’s more magic in Smalls food for cats! It’s produced with ingredients that are not just delicious but also super nutritious.

I mentioned our little superhero, Spidey (short for Spiderman - my son named him! - but let's ignore that she's really Spidergirl!) earlier and how she suffers from bad teeth due to FIV complications. 

Now get this, we feed her Smalls and even though she has dental problems, she is definitely the greediest of our rescue cats! She is always the first through the back door and always trying to 'break-in' and steal Milly's food. 

She's not hungry. I always monitor her when she eats her Smalls because she's a slower eater than some of the boy cats and they have a tendency to nick her food too!

So, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. She gobbles down this food and I never hear any signals of tooth pain whilst she is eating, and this can happen regularly with other foods.

On a nutritional note, older cats need special care! Smalls food delivers just that by ensuring they get the essential and finest nutrients to stay healthy, vibrant, and strong.

Smalls cat food is fresh. It avoids any weird fillers or artificial stuff, making sure that your cat gets a meal that’s as close to as natural as possible.  

So, with Smalls, you’re not just feeding your cat; you’re giving them a bowl full of love, thought and soft goodness. This is the best cat food for dental problems in cats of any age!

Pros

  • Human grade ingredients only
  • Soft and easily digestible
  • Tried and tested on our own cat successfully!

Cons

  • Delivery only
  • Can be expensive

2. Purina DentaLife Adult Cat Treats: Best Value

Purina DentaLife Made in USA Facilities Cat Dental Treats, Savory Salmon Flavor - 13.5 oz. Canister

Purina DentaLife Adult Cat Treats stands out as a best value choice for older cats with dental challenges, and here’s exactly why!

Firstly, they designed these treats with a unique, soft texture. This isn’t just for fun; it actually helps to clean your cat’s teeth. This kind of acts like a tiny toothbrush that works while your cat enjoys its treat.

But the goodness doesn’t stop there!

Purina DentaLife treats are also filled with essential nutrients, ensuring that while your cat enjoys a tasty treat, they’re also receiving a beneficial ingredient boost that support their overall health and wellness. 

Remember, unlike Smalls above, these are treats. Obviously your cat with bad teeth cannot survive on treats alone from a nutrition perspective, but these are an excellent affordable way to give them a food that won't cause any tooth pain.

Affordable nibbles that are like a care package treat, specifically tailored to meet the needs of older cats with dental issues. But they are actively cleaning their teeth and maintaining dental health while your cat eats them.

They are made from a porous mix that allows your cat's teeth to crunch though easily and  makes them easily digestible, making them suitable for senior cats who might have sensitive teeth or gums and struggle to eat bigger meals.

Opting for Purina DentaLife Cat Treats means choosing a beneficial kitty treat for your older cat's dental health and happiness. A no-brainer senior kitty treat.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Porous and easily chewed
  • Easily digestible
  • Cleans teeth at the same time

Cons

  • Only a treat. Not a full meal.
  • Cats can get "beggy" for them

3. Hills Diet t/d Feline Dental Health Cat Food: Premium Choice

Hill's Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, Veterinary Diet, 4 lb. Bag

Hill’s Diet t/d Feline Dental Health Cat Food is another senior superstar when it comes to taking care of older cats with dental trouble.

It's our premium choice and the one we recommend as the best dry cat food for cats with no teeth or bad teeth.

To start with, Hill’s Diet t/d Dental Health is specially designed to give those pearly white kitty teeth a gentle, yet super effective clean.

The kibble has a clever, unique shape and size that helps scrub and rub away unnecessary plaque and tartar as your cat chews.

This effectively turns mealtime into a teeth-cleaning session. It’s like having a toothbrush disguised as delicious healthy kibble!

Additionally, Hill's Diet t/d is again, like the two options above, filled to the brim with a blend of essential nutrients that contribute to the overall well-being of your senior cat.

It ensures that while their elderly and more fragile teeth are getting a good clean, their bodies are also receiving the nourishment needed to thrive during their golden years.

Lastly, this cat food is all about quality. Thus the price point.

Choosing Hill’s Diet t/d Feline Dental Health Cat Food is like choosing a comprehensive health dental package that takes care of your older cat’s mouth and body.

It really is an excellent choice for senior feline friends with those painful dental challenges! 

Pros

  • Includes fiber that helps in cleaning the teeth.
  • Fights bacteria
  • Reduces the risk of struvite

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Includes soybean oil

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth: Alternative Picks

If the three options above don’t work for you, fear not. There are still plenty of other great best cat food for older cats with bad teeth picks we tested and that you can try until you find the one that's right for your cat..

Your vet may even be able to recommend specific softer food options depending on your cat’s unique dental and dietary needs.

Let's look at the other favorite options that ranked well in our testing below.

4. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Oral Sensitive

Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition Dental Care Dry Cat Food, 6 lb bag

If your cat has bad teeth, it seems logical to avoid all dry food. Surely harder kibble is more difficult to eat if your cat has no or bad teeth?

In some ways that is true, but there are more porous dry foods like our Premium pick above, and dry food can be excellent at keeping tartar and plaque in check. 

The king of this formula of dry cat food for cats with no teeth is Royal Canin feline health nutrition oral sensitive food.

It is a specially made kibble for cats with bad teeth and helps in improving the overall dental health of a cat. They have clinically proven it to reduce plaque by 41% in just seven days. 

Royal Canin Oral kibbles are crunchy and the teeth get cleaned while the cat chews these kibbles.

This dry cat food for senior cats with bad teeth is made with healthy ingredients that take care of the overall health of your cat.

Teeth cleaning is very difficult especially when it comes to older cats. Therefore, using a teeth cleaning kibble cat food like this one helps to maintain the oral hygiene of a cat.

One of the good things about this Royal Canin Oral Sensitive dry food for cats with bad teeth is that it tastes good and cats love it. It also includes fiber which is great for digestion.

Pros

  • Easy to digest
  • Vet-recommended
  • High in protein

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Kibbles may be hard for some cats

5. Greenies Feline Natural Dental Care Cat Treats

Greenies Feline Adult Natural Dental Care Cat Treats Tempting Tuna Flavor, 21 oz. Tub

Our alternative pick for dental cat treat is this Greenies feline natural dental care cat treats. It's a close call between this and our budget pick above. In truth we recommend both of these over any other treat you might be tempted to give a cat with dental issues.

This food is full of many healthy ingredients including vitamins, minerals, chicken meal, oat fiber, and much more. It includes the tempting tuna flavor which is loved by cats. For a cat treat, it has a healthy list of ingredients so you can let your cat have these without worrying about that.

They have a crunchy texture and this texture and shape help to clean your cat’s teeth effectively.

It is most recommended for older cats because of the extra nutrition it provides that helps in maintaining the overall health of a cat. It also freshens the breath and reduces the tartar. 

The ingredients used in this treat are sourced from around the world whereas, the product itself is made in the USA.

All the Greenies ingredients are uniquely delicious which gives it a very delicious taste.

Pros

  • Includes premium protein
  • Includes oven-roasted chicken
  • Low-calorie treats

Cons

  • Hard to chew for some cats
  • Some cats might not like the flavor

6. VETRISCIENCE Laboratories Dental Powder

VetriScience Perio Support Cat & Dog Teeth Cleaning Dental Powder, 4.2oz - Cat & Dog Breath Freshener - Clinically Proven Plaque and Tartar Support

It is difficult to clean your cat’s teeth every day. Therefore, Perio support from Vetriscience is designed to do the job of keeping bad breath (halitosis), plaque and tartar all at bay - without any attempts at cat teeth brushing!

It can make the dental cleaning process much easier because it can effectively reduce the plaque by 20% after using it for 28 days. Apart from this, it also reduces tartar by 18% in 28 days. 

This dental health powder is tasty as well as nutritious. It promotes dental health as well as the overall health of your cat.

It includes natural zeolites that are very effective when it comes to preventing plaque.

Apart from bad teeth, bad breath is also one of the most common issues of older cats.

This Vetriscience dental health powder also includes probiotics that help freshen up the breath of your kitty. Using it is very easy. All you have to do is to add this powder to your pet’s food and that’s it.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Makes the gums strong
  • Includes vitamins and minerals
  • Includes taurine and zinc

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Be careful about the ingredients. May cause allergic reaction

7. Hill's Science Diet Healthy Cuisine Canned Wet Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Healthy Cuisine, Adult 1-6, Great Taste, Wet Cat Food, Pached Salmon & Spinach Stew, 2.8 oz Can, Case of 24

Hill’s science diet canned wet cat food is not a specific cat food for cats with tooth pain or dental issues. However, when we surveyed our readers, we found that a significant number told us that their cats, fed on this over long periods, had no dental issues.

This cat food provides the ideal nutrition and support for your cat and so it makes sense that this balanced diet would promote healthy teeth and gums.

It is made with high-quality protein and other ingredients that are sourced from around the world including countries like Canada, Japan, United States, Australia, and New Zealand. 

All the ingredients used in this product are easy to digest and the quality of this formula will support the immune system of your older cat.

The immune system of old cats is usually not as good as the young cats. Therefore, this product can be very useful and we think that is why owners feeding this had such low incidence of dental problems in older cats.

The taste of this product is also very good and cats love it. Our readers also reported that their cats enjoyed this specific recipe and there was very little wasted.

Pros

  • Vet-recommended
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Supports healthy skin and stool

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Includes some by-products

8. Sheba Perfect Portions Paté Wet Cat

SHEBA Perfect Portions Paté Wet Cat Food Trays (24 Count, 48 Servings), Savory Chicken, Roasted Turkey, and Tender Beef Entrée, Easy Peel Twin-Pack Trays

Sheba perfect portions Paté wet cat food is another great pick for the best soft cat food for cats with bad teeth. The multipack includes different flavor formulas including chicken, turkey, salmon, and beef. One of the perks of this product is that it is very easy to use. 

Sheba perfect portions comes in a pack of the different recipes in individual trays each with the perfect portion size. All you need to do is peel and serve the food from the tray.

Each tray contains the right amount of portion size so unlike canned foods, you won’t have to deal with stinky leftovers.

There are no artificial colors used in this product. The best thing about this Sheba wet food is that it is made without unhealthy ingredients such as soy, wheat, grains, and corn.

As with some other foods tested for this guide, this is not specifically made for older cats with teeth problems, but both its wet formula and quality recipe make it suitable. It's easy to chew and digest and the quality is there to support your cat's overall health.

Pros

  • No artificial flavors
  • Includes vitamins and minerals
  • Tastes good

Cons

  • High price
  • Average packaging

9. Purina ONE Sensitive Systems Adult Dry Cat Food

Purina ONE Sensitive Stomach, Sensitive Skin, Natural Dry Cat Food, +Plus Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula - 22 lb. Bag

If you are looking for dry food for your cat which is also affordable then you should consider this Purina one sensitive system adult dry cat food.

The best thing about this dry cat food for cats with bad teeth is that it includes turkey as the main ingredient which means your furry little friend will surely love the taste. 

Older cats usually have sensitive stomachs and they also face difficulty in digesting the food. This formula is easily digestible and supports the teeth and bones of cats.

Purina One Sensitive also nourishes the skin and therefore, it is recommended as a soft dry food for cats with bad teeth and skin issues. 

A double win!

Pros

  • No artificial flavors
  • Made with 0% fillers
  • Protein-rich
  • Includes added vitamins and minerals
  • Includes real turkey as the main ingredient

Cons

  • Includes chicken products
  • May cause gas in some cats
  • Kibble size is small

10. Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers

Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Poultry and Beef Gourmet Wet Cat Food Variety Pack - (Pack of 24) 3 oz. Cans

One of the best things for older cats with teeth problems is moist food. This is because moist food can not only be easily chewed but it can also be easily digested. For our best gravy option, we picked this Purina fancy feast gravy lovers

Purina Gravy Lovers includes different flavors like chicken, beef, and turkey. So, it doesn’t matter what your cat’s preference is, you’ll always have the right flavor.

The good thing about this food is that it provides 100% balanced nutrition to your cat. The food includes delicate bites so your kitty can eat it without having any troubles. 

The product includes gravy, which tastes delicious.

Pros

  • Includes essential vitamins and minerals
  • Supports overall health
  • Affordable

Cons

  • May cause diarrhea in some cats
  • Made with meat by-products

11. Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior

IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food with Chicken, 16 lb. Bag

As the cats age, their health also starts to deteriorate. Therefore, healthy meals are very important to keep their immune system strong and to make them healthy.

For older cats that have bones and teeth problems, this Iams proactive health healthy senior is our pick for the best healthy option. 

It is rich in proteins and it supports the muscles of your cat. It includes vitamin E that is very beneficial for an old cat’s immune system. Apart from this, Iams proactive health healthy senior also helps in the reduction of tartar buildup with the help of its crunchy kibbles. 

Iams Senior includes essential nutrients that improve the overall health of your feline friend.

Pros

  • Includes calcium, omega-6, and potassium
  • Includes L carnitine, which helps in maintaining a healthy weight
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Made with 0% fillers
  • Promotes healthy digestion

Cons

  • May cause constipation in some cats
  • Kibble size is small

12. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+

Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ for Senior Cats, Chicken Recipe, 15.5 lb. Bag

For our best diet dry option, we have picked this Hill’s science diet dry cat food.

It is highly recommended for older cats because it includes many healthy ingredients that promote bone health, muscle health, and the immune system of an older cat. 

This Hills product includes added taurine which is very beneficial for heart health. It also includes added minerals for the kidney and bladder health.

All the ingredients included in this senior cat product are natural and it is made in the USA. It is super soft to eat and easily digestible. Sop another winner for our elderly frineds.

Pros

  • Supports a healthy coat and skin
  • Includes clinically proven antioxidants
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Tastes great

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Extremely small kibbles
best-cat-food-for-older-cats-with-bad-teeth

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth Buyers Guide

You need to be careful while buying food for a senior cat because their stomachs are quite sensitive as compared to that of younger cats.

Their teeth and bones also start deteriorating. In addition, there are also many other nutritional factors that you should consider while buying cat food for your older cats

In this buying guide, I’ve included all the core factors you need to consider before buying senior cat food for a cat that has bad teeth:

What To Look For In Food for Older Cats With Bad Teeth

High Protein Foods Only

While buying cat food for your older cat, make sure you buy the food that includes high protein. Protein is very beneficial for cats and it helps in maintaining his overall health. Cats are omnivorous and they require protein for their growth. It also helps in maintaining the healthy weight of a cat.

No Artificial Additives

There are so many different cat foods available in the market. The mind boggles sometimes. Some include artificial ingredients and additives whereas, others don’t. Artificial additives are used to enhance the flavor, taste, and texture of food.

While they may not be very dangerous but still when it comes to older cats, it's better to avoid artificial additives and stick to the natural ingredients to provide maximum care.

Include Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

Vitamins and minerals are essential when it comes to the health of your older cat. They are very helpful in maintaining teeth and bone health. They also improve muscle health and give extra energy to your cat.

Easily Digestible Foods Only

Older cats do not have the same metabolic system as younger cats. Therefore, try to find a wet/moist food for older cats with bad teeth as these food items that are rich in fiber and are easily digestible so that your cat can easily eat and digest it. 

If the food is not easily digestible, the cat might face some problems related to the stomach. Food that is high in water content is also easily chewable and digestible.

What Can Prevent Dental Problems

Older cats are prone to dental diseases but still, there are a few ways through which you can prevent dental problems and issues related to gums. Following are the ways:

  • Take care of your cat’s diet. Good nutrition is the foundation for healthy teeth.
  • Brush your cat's teeth to avoid dental problems. Whilst this might seem impossible with some feisty cats, it is well worth trying!
  • Prevent gum disease with the help of cleanliness, vitamins, and diet.
  • Dry food also helps in the prevention of dental problems because it keeps the teeth clean.
  • Check with your vet regularly because bad teeth can also lead to health and dietary issues.

FAQS

What kind of food should I feed my older cat with bad teeth?

For older cats with dental issues, soft or wet food is generally recommended over dry food. These types of foods are easier for them to chew and swallow. In addition, there are special dental diets available, like unique kibble formulated to reduce plaque and tartar build-up, which can also be beneficial. 

How can I help manage my older cat’s dental pain at home?

Keeping your cat's mouth clean is essential. Regularly brushing their teeth with a cat-specific toothbrush and toothpaste can help but it can prove to be a hard task to manage if kitty doesn't want you to! However, there are a bunch of dental treats or toys that promote dental health can also be beneficial. On the safe side, I would always suggest regular dental check ups at the vets.

How often should an older cat with bad teeth visit the vet for dental check-ups?

Following in from above, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for older cats with dental problems. Vets typically advise a check-up every 6 months, but depending on your cat's dental issues, your vet might recommend more frequent visits. We take ours, on average, every 3 to 4 months as she has FIV dental related issues. 

Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth: The Verdict

Brushing your cat’s teeth every day is simply not workable for cat owners. Plus, I am pretty sure your kitty might have something to say about that being in their schedule!

Therefore, using one of these cat food for cats with bad teeth will undoubtedly help.

However, our best overall product in this buying guide is the unbeatable Smalls Cat Food!

There are many reasons why we picked this product.

Overall, it is very easy and soft for your cat to eat but it also avoids further problems by providing a balanced diet and nutrition.

It is made with premium, human grade quality ingredients and is also approved by veterinarians. 

However, if your cat is obviously struggling with dental pain, it is very important that you continuously monitor your cat and consult your vet if you have any concerns or questions.

After all, there is NOTHING worse than toothache...and our little best friends can't tell us! 

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About the author

Laraib Shah is a freelance writer and a proud cat mom who shares her home with an exceptionally perfect cat named Simba. As an experienced cat mom, she is the trusted authority on cat care and cat breeds for the team. Apart from cats, Laraib loves cooking, travelling plus cookies, ice cream, and coffee!

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