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Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12396
Experience:  Veterinarian in Practice 19 Years
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What is the effect of sodium benzoate on cats? This is an ingredient

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What is the effect of sodium benzoate on cats? This is an ingredient in a product called Brethalyzer ( which supposedly promotes oral hygiene in cats and dogs. My cat is continuously needing his teeth cleaned and I am wondering if such a product could help, however am concerned the side effects would cancel out any benefit. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hello. Thank you for asking your question. My name isXXXXX will try to help.
Sodium benzoate is a salt of benzoic acid, which has the same toxicity rating as sodium chloride (table salt)--moderately toxic. At the concentrations that the benzoates are used in foods or other supplements (usually less than 0.5%), they are not likely to adversely affect health. At high concentrations, these products can cause oral corrosive injury and vomiting, and high concentrations injected into rats caused tremors, seizures and death.
As long as it is under 1%, it should not be a problem.
The brethalyzer is only labeled for dogs on the product website.
Also it does not list the percentage of sodium benzoate on the ingredient label.
So I would not use it in cats.
You could try the CET aquadent as that is labeled for cats.
To be honest, I have tried a number of the water additives and I never noticed any benefit.
I have the best luck with tartar control diets. They bake the kibble, then spray the flavoring on the outside, so it is extra crunchy on the inside. With regular kibble, the flavoring is baked through.
Try to avoid canned food as much as possible.
Canned food sticks to the teeth and causes plaque build up.
Tooth brushing is always best but my own cats will not put up with that so I do not expect you to be able to do it. But if you can, great.
One thing I do is put a dab of the meat flavored tooth paste on the paw.
Then they have to lick it off.
I hope this helps.
If you have additional quesitons, please reply.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Dr Gabby, I appreciate your answer. Based on your advice I think I will steer clear of the water additives. I currently feed a high quality dry feed such as IAMS or Black Hawk and add science diet TD which is specifically designed for dental health. On occasion this is supplemented by fresh meat.


I have five cats in total - four have no issues with their teeth at all and have never required cleaning. It is only the one, which is quite baffling? While I will try the meat flavored tooth paste (any suggestions on what is most effective/palatable?), do you think that perhaps this cat needs to go on a dental plan - ie twice yearly vet check ups for his teeth. Based on what I am currently feeding, is there anything else I should be doing?

If possible, I would feed strictly the dental diet to this particular cat.
If not, then just mix in the TD as you can.
My cats like the CET chicken flavor tooth paste.
I think his bad teeth are most likely due to his genetics.
Just like some people have bad teeth.
Or maybe when he was a young kitten, he did not receive proper nutrition.
This is a good rinse. link
I pick the tartar off the molars with my fingernail.
It knocks the tartar off well if you feel comfortable doing that.
Take your nail, put it on the gum line, and pull down.
If he is developing red inflamed gums (gingivitis) he may need pulse therapy antibiotics.
The antibiotics can be given once a month or every few months as needed.
Most likely, he is just a guy who is going to need annual dental cleanings.
Having his teeth checked twice a year may help if there is gingivitis or infection.
Dr. Gabby and 4 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Kim,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Gabby
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Gabby,


Thanks again for the advice which was pretty spot on given you haven't actually seen the patient! You correctly assumed that he was malnourished as a kitten (he was rescued and was the runt) and he has always been much more fragile than his sisters in terms of health, for example he even has reactions to being vaccinated. I will definitely try the toothpaste you recommended and I would like to try the rinse, though how do you use this? Do you squirt some into their mouth with a syringe?


Thanks again,


You are welcome. The rinse comes with a squeeze bottle with a straw like attachment. You put the straw on the teeth and then squeeze the bottle. But you could use a syringe, or eye dropper, if that is easier.