Soft Dry Food For Cats With Bad Teeth –
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best Soft Dry Food For Cats With Bad Teeth

April 12, 2022

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Pets come with great responsibilities, and it is our job as their owners to care for them! You need to take care of them, love them, feed them, and take them to the doctor if they get sick. 

As a cat owner, you also have to keep their teeth clean and ensure their oral and dental health is supported.

This type of food is easy on the teeth and will help your cat eat better
– Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM

Most oral problems will make a cat stop consuming food. Bad teeth, missing teeth, inflamed gums, or other oral health issues can cause pain or make chewing and eating difficult!

If your cat likes dry food and cannot eat anymore due to oral problems, one good tip is to start feeding it soft dry food.

In this article, you will learn…

  • what soft dry cat food is,
  • if it is good for cats with bad teeth,
  • the most common dental problems in cats, and
  • what to look for when buying this type of food.

But first, here are our recommendations for soft dry cat food for cats with bad teeth.

Best Soft Dry Food For Cats With Bad Teeth –
TOP 3 Choices

Soft dry cat food is kind of a new concept in the cat food market. It is a way for cat owners to benefit from the advantages of dry food if their cat refuses hard or crunchy kibble -or has bad teeth and is unable to eat it.

Soft dry cat food comes in three main forms, such as:

  • Semi-moist
  • Partially soft
  • Soft kibble

We don’t recommend cat food that combines soft and crunchy pieces of kibble for cats with bad teeth because cats are often selective eaters and will only choose the softer pieces if they have pain in their mouth area.

Many of these types of foods have been formulated to provide a complete diet when a cat eats consumes both the tender and harder kibbles. Therefore, picking out only their favorite pieces of food may lead to malnutrition.

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1. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner Morsel

These freeze-dried morsels of food contain 98% meat to offer your cat all the protein, taurine, and other important nutrients it needs. You can serve the food as it is or soak it in water to soften it up.

When rehydrated in water, the food becomes tender enough ever for cats without teeth to consume. Read more.

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner Morsels


  • 98% meat!
  • Grain-free
  • It offers a balanced and complete diet for all life stages
  • Added taurine and probiotics
  • All-natural with minimal processing
  • No hormones, antibiotics, or fillers
  • Made in the USA


  • Some of the morsels turn into powder wasting food
  • Not ideal for overweight cats

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

This dry cat food from Hill’s has been specifically designed to keep your cat’s teeth clean. The unique size, texture, and form of the kibble act like a toothbrush removing plaque and tartar every time your cat eats.

The kibble size is on the larger side, which may be a challenge for cats with small mouths and bad teeth. On the other hand, some cats that have problems chewing will actually prefer larger kibble.

You can also soak this kibble in water to make it softer and easier for your cat to chew and digest. Check the price.

Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Oral Care, Chicken Recipe, 7 lb. Bag


  • Formulated by vets and nutritionists to promote dental health
  • Uniquely shaped kibble that helps keep teeth and gums clean
  • Offers complete and balanced nutrition
  • #1 ingredient is chicken
  • Antioxidants and Vitamins E and C
  • Recommended by vets
  • Natural ingredients
  • Made in the USA


  • Large kibble size
  • Contains wheat gluten and cornmeal

FELINE GREENIES Natural Dental Care Cat Treats – #1 vet-recommended dental treat for cats

If your cat has bad teeth, you should offer them dental care treats in addition to opting for cat food that supports dental health.

These Feline Greenies cat treats are a great choice for pampering your cat with treats while keeping their teeth clean. The crunchy texture of these treats cleans the teeth, keeps the breath fresh, and prevents tartar buildup. Read more.

Greenies Feline Natural Dental Care Cat Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor, 21 oz. Tub


  • #1 vet-recommended dental treat for cats
  • Supports dental health by keeping the teeth clean
  • Keeps the breath fresh
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Tasty chicken flavor most cats enjoy
  • No artificial flavors, preservatives, or fillers
  • Only 2 calories per treat


  • Some cats try to swallow the treats whole, which does not help promote dental health

Is Soft Dry Food Good For Cats With Bad Teeth?

If your kitty has bad teeth, soft dry cat food may be the best way to keep it nourished if you don’t want to feed only wet food. Soft dry cat food is a way for cat owners to benefit from the advantages of dry food if their cat refuses hard or crunchy kibble -or has bad teeth and is unable to eat it.

Soft dry cat food comes in three main forms

Semi-moist cat foods are considered the transition between canned wet food and dry food. They are often packaged in pouches, and they contain less water than wet food but significantly more water than dry food.

This type of food is easy to eat and digest, but it doesn’t promote dental health and is not the ideal choice if your cat is suffering from dental problems. But, of course, if your cat is temporarily recovering from dental surgery or something similar, semi-moist food is perfect for keeping them nourished before returning to their regular food.

Partially soft cat food comes in two types: you have the food that is crunchy on the top and soft on the inside, and you have food that consists of both crunchy and soft morsels.

We don’t recommend cat food that combines crunchy pieces with softer ones because cats that have problems with their teeth are prone to selective eating, and picking out only the softer pieces will waste food and could lead to malnutrition.

However, kibbles that have a crunchy outer layer with a soft filling can benefit cats with bad teeth. The crunchiness will help remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth, while the soft filing is easier to chew for cats with dental issues.

soft dry cat food

Soft kibble is another option if your cat has bad teeth. This type consists of kibble that is slightly softer than traditional dry food and contains a bit more moisture. Because the kibbles are more tender and chewier, cats with bad teeth way find it easier to chew.

In addition to these three types of soft dry cat food, a fourth option is to add water to dry cat food.

Adding water to dry cat food is a fantastic way to continue feeding your cat with the food it is used to while making it softer and easier on the teeth.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the most common dental problems in cats.

The Most Common Dental Problems in Cats – Vet Explains

We are aware of the importance of maintaining the health of our teeth and gums, but caring for our cats’ oral health is something many cat owners fail to do.

By the age of three, maybe up to 85% will suffer from dental problems. All of these dental problems can cause pain and difficulty eating.
– Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM

Dental problems are among the most common medical conditions in cats. By the age of three, at least 50% of cats (and maybe up to 85%) will suffer from dental problems.

Unfortunately, studies are showing that cat gingivitis is a fairly common disease. 24% of cats (of all ages) have tartar, while 13% have gingivitis. [1] And as cats age, dental diseases become more common, just like in humans.

These statistics are worrying because oral diseases can cause serious health issues and damage to other parts of the cat’s body if left untreated.

For example, there is also a strong link between dental health and heart disease. A cat with dental, gum and periodontal problems is, in fact, twice as likely to develop heart disease as a cat with healthy gums.

The most common dental problems in cats are:

  • Plaque buildup
  • Tartar buildup
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Stomatitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Malocclusion
  • Dental resorption
  • Feline resorptive lesion (FORL)

Plaque and tartar are the most common dental conditions. Plaque is actually a complex layer of bacteria that adheres to the tooth’s surface. The thickness of the plaque increases over time and mineralizes, transforming into tartar. Both represent the main factors that determine the occurrence and progression of periodontal disease.

All of these dental problems can cause pain and difficulty eating. Therefore, if your cat is not eating as much as it normally does or it refuses to eat at all, dental issues are always a possible reason for concern.

Because dental problems lead to the inability to chew food, we will continue to discuss how you can use soft dry cat food to help your cat eat.

Vet’s Tip!

To prevent periodontal disease in cats, you need to brush your cat’s teeth daily and go for regular dental cleaning at the vet.

Dry Food vs. Wet Food vs.
Soft Dry Cat Food for Cats With Bad Teeth

All three types of cat food have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to dental health.

Wet food

Wet food is soft and easy to chew, which is why it can be considered a good option for cats with bad teeth if they have difficulty eating. If your cat has a painful dental condition, wet food will definitely make chewing easier. Also, wet food contains about 80% or more water and is suited for cats that do not drink enough water or have digestive problems.

However, wet food is not good for dental health because the soft consistency doesn’t help keep the teeth clean. If you are feeding wet food to a cat that has issues with its teeth, you should be even more careful to clean the teeth daily and have regular checkups done by the vet.

Dry food

Compared to wet food, dry food is better for the teeth because the kibble is hard and helps clean your cat’s teeth. The con is that dry food has less water in its composition, and cats are known for not drinking enough water, which can lead to various medical conditions. Also, dry food can be too hard to chew if your cat is experiencing pain in the mouth area or its teeth.

how to soften dry cat food

Soft dry cat food

Now, if your cat has a painful dental condition, feeding it dry food doesn’t sound like a good option. If your cat has bad teeth and is in pain, feeding it dry food will most likely just make it worse. Pain will make a cat stop eating, and we don’t want that!

On the other hand, wet food may also make matters worse in the long run food is not keeping your kitty’s teeth clean.

Luckily, there is a third option: soft dry cat food.

Soft dry food that is crunchy on the top but moist on the inside will clean your cat’s teeth while making it easier to chew. On the other hand, semi-moist food is perfect for cats that temporarily need softer food and need to be encouraged to eat.

You can also try cat food that is pretty close to dry food but has a little more moisture to make the consistency of the kibbles softer and chewier. This type of food is a bit easier to consume, but the texture still helps clean the teeth and gums.

Last but not least, you can always use water, cat milk, or broth to soften up the dry food your kitty is used to eating. Adding water to dry food will make it easier on the teeth and help you avoid sudden changes in the diet. And once your cat is able to return to its normal dry food you can just slowly reduce the amount of water.

Read more: How to Soften Dry Cat Food – Tips From A Vet

4 Things To Consider When Buying Soft Dry Cat Food For Cats With Bad Teeth

There are so many cat food brands on the market that it has become a sport to choose the right type of food for our beloved pets.

If your cat has bad teeth, you should look for:

  • Softness
  • Kibble size
  • Ingredients
  • Protein-rich options

1. Softness

If your cat has bad teeth, you need to make sure the food you are feeding is soft enough for the cat to consume without pain. Cats are very sensitive to pain and may lose their appetite if they find their food difficult to chew.

Still, you should try to offer food that is as crunchy and chewy as possible because it will keep your cat’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.

2. Kibble size

There are pros and cons to having either big or small kibbles. Many cats with bad teeth like small kibbles better because they are easier to chew. Also, if your cat is swallowing food without chewing, small kibbles are a must. Yet, some cats that have bad teeth prefer larger kibbles because they are easier to hold in the mouth. You will just need to find out what is best for your cat so that you can keep them eating.

soaking dry cat food

3. Ingredients

Even if your cat doesn’t have a dental problem, it is advisable to check the label of the product you’re purchasing. Cats are carnivores, so their food should contain a lot of meat and all-natural ingredients. Check out this article about Best Cat Foods to learn about how to choose the perfect food for your feline friend.

Many foods on the market are not actually suitable for cats, and even if they are cheaper, in the long run, they can harm your cat’s health -including its teeth. In the end, you might just end up paying more for the visits to the vet.

4. Protein-rich options

Given that cats are true carnivores, feeding them a protein-rich diet is always healthy. Many soft dry food brands are rich in protein, but make sure to check the label before buying.

If your cat has difficulties eating, it is even more important to offer them food that is rich in protein and nutrients to prevent weight loss and malnutrition.

Feeding A Cat With Bad Teeth – FAQ

What can I feed my cat with dental problems?

A cat that has a dental problem is probably in pain. Not all dental diseases cause pain, but the majority do. The best option to feed your cat is wet or soft dry food. Adding water to soften dry food is another good option. Soft food will make chewing easier for your cat.

You May Also Like: Mixing Dry And Wet Cat Food

Can dry cat food be softened for my cat with bad teeth?

Yes, dry food can be softened, and here is how:

  • Add 1/4 of warm water to 3/4 of dry cat food (on average, you need about 1/4 a cup of water per serving).
  • Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes to allow the food to absorb enough moisture.
  • Pour out any excess water and serve the food to your cat.
  • You can also use chicken or bone broth to make the food tastier, but make sure it is not salty or spicy.
  • Adding tuna juice is also a delicious alternative that will make the food more palatable and encourage cats suffering from a lack of appetite to eat their food. Be careful, though; tuna juice can contain too much salt.
  • If needed, you can blend the mixture to make a pate-like food.

How do I get my cat to eat with bad teeth?

If your cat has bad teeth and finds it difficult to eat, there are a few things you can do to help them consume their food:

  • Only feed wet food that is soft and easy on the teeth
  • Add water to dry food to make it softer
  • Try soft dry cat food, which is easier to chew than dry food
  • Try different kibble sizes to see which one is best for your cat
  • Soak dry food in broth or tuna juice to make it more palatable

If your cat has bad teeth, offer them soft food to make chewing easier. Also, visit the vet to see if there is anything that can be done to help your kitty.

Will cats stop eating if their teeth hurt?

Yes, usually, cats stop eating if their teeth hurt because they can’t chew the food properly. Cats are very sensitive to pain but can hide their suffering extremely well. Therefore, a lack of appetite is usually one of the first signs a cat owner notices when something is wrong with their pet.

You should be concerned ff a cat doesn’t feed for more than 24-48 hours. In such a case, it is better to see your vet as soon as possible.

Summary – Soft Dry Cat Food for Bad Teeth

Cats of all ages can suffer from dental problems.

The most common dental problems in cats are plaque and tartar, which can lead to other serious oral conditions. If you notice that your cat is no longer eating, you should see a veterinarian. Your cat may have gingivitis or periodontitis, and in some cases, surgery may be needed to resolve it.

If your cat has bad teeth, you can help it by feeding wet or soft dry food. Being soft and moist, both types of food can make chewing easier. They are also tastier than dry food, and your cat may want to start eating again.

Vet’s Comment

Oral health is essential for cats because they use their mouths to hunt, groom, and, most importantly, feed. Therefore, prevention is the key to your cat’s dental and general health.

Cats are experts at hiding their suffering, so if your notice their pain, the condition they are suffering from may have been progressing for quite a while.

Some cats don’t want to eat wet food at all, even if they have bad teeth. If your cat does not like wet food, but you can’t feed it dry food because it has bad teeth, you have the option of soft dry cat food. This type of food is easy on the teeth and will help your cat eat better.

– Dr. Iulia Mihai, DVM

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your pet’s specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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