The Controversy Around Greenies Cat Treats

As cat owners worldwide continue their search for treats and dental solutions for their feline companions, one product has repeatedly surfaced in conversations and online discussions – Greenies cat treats. But is there more to these treats than meets the eye? Let’s dive into the claims, counterclaims, and what the experts say.

What are Greenies?

Greenies are dental treats designed for pets to help control tartar and improve oral hygiene. They have been praised for their palatability and potential benefits, but with the rise of internet platforms, certain health concerns have come under scrutiny.

Alleged Concerns: The Buzz Online

Reddit Discussions

A simple search on Reddit brings up multiple threads where cat owners attribute adverse health events, and in some cases, deaths, to the consumption of Greenies. Some claim the treats have led to kidney failure, while others suggest gastrointestinal complications.

Other Online Claims

Outside of Reddit, other online platforms such as JustAnswer also feature testimonials from worried pet owners, suggesting potential correlations between Greenies and their pets’ ill-health.

What the Experts Say

FDA’s Stance

Back in 2006, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine confirmed 35 complaints involving pets (34 dogs and one cat) related to Greenies. This initiated a regulatory investigation. While the results are dated, the oversight showcases the importance of monitoring pet products in the market.

Veterinary Insights

While anecdotal evidence from pet owners is undoubtedly concerning, veterinarians and pet health experts often recommend looking at the larger picture. Many pets might consume Greenies without any complications. Some potential issues to consider:

  1. Quantity Consumed: As with any treat or external food source, moderation is crucial. Overconsumption can invariably lead to complications.
  2. Underlying Health Issues: Cats with pre-existing conditions might react differently to certain products.
  3. Allergic Reactions: Just like humans, cats can be allergic to certain ingredients. These allergic reactions can manifest in multiple ways, from mild discomfort to severe complications.

Dental Care Emphasis

On the other end of the spectrum, publications such as DVM360 highlight the importance of feline dental care. They suggest products like Greenies have a place in dental care but should be a part of a comprehensive dental health routine, including regular check-ups.

Tips for Cat Owners

Know Your Cat: Be observant. Changes in behavior, eating patterns, or health should prompt a visit to the vet.

Moderation is Key: Ensure treats are given in recommended amounts. Overfeeding can lead to complications.

Stay Informed: Regularly consult with your vet, especially when introducing new treats or foods into your cat’s diet.


While concerns around Greenies cat treats persist, it’s essential for cat owners to remain informed and consult with veterinary experts. Every cat is unique, and what works for one might not be suitable for another. As the age-old saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.”

FAQs: Greenies Cat Treats

1. What are the primary ingredients in Greenies cat treats?

Greenies are primarily made up of natural ingredients, including chicken meal, rice flour, wheat flour, corn gluten meal, oat fiber, and poultry fat. They also contain minerals and vitamins to promote overall health. As with any pet food or treat, it’s essential to check the label for specific ingredients and any potential allergens.

2. How do Greenies benefit a cat’s dental health?

The design of Greenies cat treats is such that they offer a unique texture, promoting the scraping off of tartar and plaque as the cat chews. This abrasive action can help reduce the build-up of tartar, potentially leading to fresher breath and healthier gums.

3. How often should I give my cat Greenies?

The recommended serving size can vary depending on the specific product and the weight of your cat. However, most guidelines suggest giving 8-10 treats daily for a cat weighing 5-10 lbs. Always ensure you’re not overfeeding and provide fresh drinking water alongside the treats.

4. Are there age restrictions for cats consuming Greenies?

Greenies are typically designed for adult cats. Kittens, especially those under six months, have different dietary needs and might not benefit from the dental aspects of the treats. Always consult with your vet before introducing any new treats to kittens or senior cats.

5. Have there been recalls associated with Greenies?

While there have been concerns voiced online, there have not been widespread recalls specifically related to Greenies cat treats. Nevertheless, it’s always a good practice to stay updated on pet product recalls by checking the FDA’s website or consulting with your veterinarian.

6. Can Greenies be a substitute for regular meals?

No, Greenies are designed to be treats and not a replacement for regular cat meals. They might be nutritious, but they don’t offer the comprehensive nutrition that a balanced cat meal would provide. It’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet for your cat, with treats being an occasional addition.

7. Can I give my cat Greenies if they have a pre-existing health condition?

Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new treats, especially if your cat has a pre-existing health condition. Some ingredients might not be suitable for all cats, and those with particular sensitivities or conditions could be at risk.

8. How should I store Greenies to maintain their freshness?

Keep the Greenies in their original packaging, ensuring the zip-lock or seal is tight. Store them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. This will help maintain their texture and prevent them from becoming stale.

9. What should I do if my cat reacts negatively after consuming Greenies?

If you observe any adverse reactions, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or allergic reactions, cease giving the treats immediately and consult your veterinarian. It’s essential to note any changes in behavior or health promptly.

10. Can I give dog Greenies to my cat or vice versa?

No, Greenies designed for dogs might have a different formulation and size, which isn’t suitable for cats. Always ensure you’re providing your pet with treats designed specifically for their species.

11. Why are Greenies often marketed as “dental treats”?

Greenies have a distinct texture and shape designed to clean cats’ teeth as they chew. This physical action is believed to reduce tartar build-up, akin to the benefits of brushing. Dental health is vital for pets, and untreated dental issues can lead to more significant health concerns.

12. Do Greenies have any calorie content I should be aware of?

Yes, like all treats, Greenies have caloric content. When factoring them into your cat’s diet, it’s essential to consider their caloric intake to prevent potential weight gain. Moderation is key; treats should not constitute more than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake.

13. What distinguishes Greenies from other cat treats on the market?

Greenies prioritize dental health with their texture and shape, making them unique. Furthermore, they often emphasize natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that might not be as prevalent in conventional treats.

14. Are there grain-free options for Greenies?

There are Greenies formulations that cater to cats with specific dietary needs, including grain-free varieties. If your cat has a sensitivity or allergy to grains, always check the label and consult your veterinarian before introducing any new treat.

15. Can Greenies be given to other pets, like ferrets or rabbits?

Greenies are formulated specifically for cats (or dogs, in the case of dog-specific products). They might not be suitable for other animals due to their nutritional content and size. Always ensure treats are species-appropriate.

16. How do I transition my cat to Greenies if they are used to another treat?

Introduce Greenies gradually. Begin by mixing them in with their usual treats, slowly increasing the number of Greenies over time. Monitoring your cat’s reaction ensures they adjust well, both in preference and digestion.

17. What’s the shelf life of Greenies?

The shelf life can vary based on the specific product and storage conditions. Generally, sealed Greenies can last several months. However, once opened, it’s best to consume them within a month for optimal freshness.

18. Are Greenies suitable for cats with diabetes?

While Greenies might have ingredients beneficial to many cats, those with diabetes or other metabolic conditions have specific dietary needs. Always consult with your veterinarian to ensure any treat or food is safe for a cat with a health condition.

19. What is the significance of the various colors in Greenies treats?

The colors in Greenies treats are not merely aesthetic. They often signify different active ingredients or flavors. For example, some Greenies might have added chlorophyll, contributing to a greenish hue and aiding in freshening breath.

20. Is there a risk of over-consumption with Greenies, and if so, what are the signs?

As with any treat, there’s a potential for over-consumption. If a cat consumes an excessive amount, they might experience digestive upset, including vomiting or diarrhea. Always monitor treat intake, ensure packaging is out of reach, and consult a veterinarian if you suspect over-consumption.

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