Are you caring for your cat’s oral health? Most of the time, cat owners get caught up in caring for the body health of their feline companions that they forget that the oral health is equally important. Just like there are formulas that cater for the body health of the cat, you can also find formulas specially formulated to cater for the oral health of your cat while caring for the general health too.
The science diet adult oral health is one such formula. This formula is said to contain balanced nutrition to improve the dental health of your cat. According to the product’s website, it contains ingredients that reduce the buildup of tartar and bacteria while maintaining fresh breath. This formula is also said to contain complete nutrition making it an ideal formula for everyday feeding.
Can this formula back up thee claims? Read on to find out.
Ingredients in Adult Oral Care
Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Pork Fat, Powdered Cellulose, Lactic Acid, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken Liver Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Soybean Oil, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Calcium Sulfate, Taurine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite), Beta Carotene, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Chicken By-Product Meal
While this ingredient does provide a high amount of meat protein, this meat source is considered to be of lower quality than many other meat sources. Chicken By-Product Meal is produced through a process of cooking, drying and separation of fats and proteins from animal carcasses. It contains a dehydrated combination of meat (or cuts or parts) including lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, necks, undeveloped eggs and intestines. Usually, by-products are the “left overs” that can’t be used for human food consumption. The greatest fault of this ingredient is the same trait that makes it so affordable and so commonly found in pet foods. The unpredictability of what might (or might not) be included.
Brewers rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. It is a processed rice product that is missing many of its nutrients, but does provide a source of carbohydrates. It is a by-product of rice milling and considered a lower quality filler ingredient usually used in lower priced cat food blends. Usually, brewers rice is used to make rice flour, but if the quality is too poor for rice flour, it will then be sold to pet food or dairy feed companies. For many cats, this ingredient can cause allergies or digestion issues. Most cats will not have any problems processing this food, but it’s not one of the better ingredients, either.
Corn Gluten Meal
This is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. The expression “corn gluten” is colloquial jargon that describes corn proteins that are neither gliadin nor glutenin. Only wheat, barley, rye and oat contain true gluten. For the most part, this ingredient is normally only found in cheaper “grocery store brand” cat foods. Corn is frequently used as a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full, but it does not add much of anything to the nutritional value in the food. In addition, this is a common allergen for many cats and corn based ingredients can often be difficult for cats to digest. That’s why we can’t recommend this food for cats with food allergies or sensitive digestive systems.
Pork fat is also known as lard, but it doesn’t look as good to put that on the ingredients list! In general this is a good source of fat and we are happy to see a named fat source (as opposed to something generic like “animal fat”). All cats require a healthy fat source. It’s only a problem if they consume too much of it (like humans). When we compare pork fat to other named animal fat sources, there seems to be a higher instance of digestion upset with pork fat. However, in most cases, this is a quality fat source.
Powdered cellulose is a cheap filler ingredient. It is obtain as a pulp from fibrous plant material and highly refined. Once processed, it looks and feels very similar to sawdust. Cellulose is used in a wide number of ways. In addition to being added to pet food, it is used quite a bit in human foods, but can also be used for things like insulation, rope making, and textiles. Just like in humans, this ingredient is indigestible for cats. There is no hard evidence to suggest this ingredient is unhealthy, but it wouldn’t be considered a higher quality ingredient, either.
Other ingredients in the formula
Whole Grain Corn
Unfortunately, whole grain corn is one of the most widely known food allergens for cats. If your cat does not have a pre-existing allergy to this ingredient, he or she should not experience any allergic reactions. However, this ingredient is also difficult for many cats to digest, so you should keep an eye on your cat for any digestion problems or stomach upset. And finally, this ingredient is normally used in cheaper cat food products as a filler ingredient. It will help make your cat feel more full and will also boost the protein percentage of the food. Since cats are obligate carnivores, however, they do not digest plant based proteins like they do animal based proteins. Overall, this ingredient is pretty lousy unless it is only included in smaller quantities. If your cat suffers from digestion issues or food allergies, do not feed this food to your cat.
While this ingredient may appear to be healthy and safe because it is “natural”, we believe this is a pretty poor quality ingredient. While it might be a harmless flavoring sprayed onto the food, natural flavors can be obtained from almost anything deemed “natural”. Not all things natural are good and some “natural flavor” sources can be downright harmful. Without being able to verify what chemicals are included into this ingredient, we feel a bit apprehensive about it.
Chicken Liver Flavor
As you might expect, this ingredient is simply the extracted flavoring of chicken liver. We usually don’t like “flavor” ingredients, but in this case, the animal is named. The sourcing of the flavor (liver) is also named. So in this case, we aren’t too worried about it. This ingredient isn’t going to add any nutritional value to the food, but it may make the food taste better.
Soybean oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the soybean (Glycine max) and is one of the most widely consumed cooking oils. Soy is a plant protein used by pet food companies to boost protein content and add bulk. Because plant proteins are less expensive than meat proteins, pet food manufacturers use them to increase profit margins. The majority of experts on pet nutrition agree soy isn’t good nutrition for cats or dogs. It is considered a low-quality, incomplete protein well known to create food allergies in pets. Many cat food companies take a hard stance against the “negative publicity” that soy products receive and defend the use of soy strongly, claiming that soy helps add nutrients and improves a cats coat and skin. However, we do not find soy products to be reminiscent of a high quality cat food.
Does the formula cause allergies?
This formula can trigger allergic reactions. It contains corn, wheat and soy extracts. These three are common allergens mostly used in low quality formulas. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid feeding your cat on this formula if it is allergy prone.
Other harmful ingredients found in formulas to avoid
Gluten – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
Animal by-products – One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
It is rather unfortunate that this formula contains multiple grain based ingredients making this formula unsuitable for cats with allergies. Also, notable is the fact that this formula does to seem to contain any extraordinary ingredients meant to cater for the oral health of the cat. This formula contains normal ingredients you would find in any other formula. It is, therefore, safe to assume that the manufacturer only used the oral care tag as a sales gimmick.