Your dog’s teeth play an integral role in maintaining good health. A dog uses its teeth continually— to eat and interact with objects in its environment. When your dog suffers from dental issues, it can affect their appetite and overall health significantly. It’s best to clean your dog’s teeth weekly as a preventative measure.
Choosing the best toothpaste for dogs is crucial to the success of your efforts. There are many products available on the market, each with unique ingredients, flavor, and consistency. Some commercial products, however, may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your dog’s health long-term.
In this guide, we will be taking an in-depth look at the best dog toothpaste options. We will also discuss the toxicity of certain ingredients, the importance of keeping your dog’s teeth clean, and the causes and symptoms of common dental concerns in dogs.
Best Toothpaste for Dogs: Top Picks !
The 5 Best Dog Toothpaste Brands in 2021
This product contains a patented enzymatic formula to prevent the formation of plaque, tartar, and bad breath. The formula includes no foaming agents, so when you brush your dog’s teeth, you don’t have to worry about rinsing its mouth. The toothpaste is also entirely safe for dogs to ingest.
To achieve the best results with this toothpaste, you have to brush your dog’s teeth two or three times per week, using a soft-bristled toothbrush specially designed for pets. Ingredients of Petrodex enzymatic toothpaste include, among others, hydrated silica, dicalcium phosphate, glycerin, poultry digest, dextrose, and acidified calcium sulfate.
Why we like this brand:
This toothpaste is available in 6.2-ounce tubes, and you should use just enough to cover the top of the bristles on your dog’s toothbrush. Since you’ll only be brushing your dog’s teeth two or three times, one tube can last a long time.
Petrodex toothpaste has a poultry flavor, so your dog will be more likely to enjoy its taste.
If you need a toothpaste that is suitable for all your pets, Virbac C.E.T. enzymatic toothpaste may be a viable option. Virbac is a well-known supplier of oral hygiene products for pets in the United States.
This toothpaste has a dual-enzyme formula that is suitable for both cats and dogs. One pea-size application will be sufficient to remove plaque and tartar effectively. The product contains no foaming agents, which means you don’t have to rinse your dog’s mouth, and it is safe to swallow.
The toothpaste is specially formulated to remove mouth odors, too, so it can improve your dog’s breath significantly. As a result, many owners who struggle with their dog’s breath prefer the C.E.T. dog toothpaste from Virbac.
Why we like this brand:
This toothpaste has a poultry flavor, making it ideal if you usually have difficulty getting your dog to cooperate during toothbrush sessions. Ingredients of Virbac C.E.T. include glucose oxidase, xanthan gum, hydrated silica, and poultry digest.
This product from Paws & Pals is an organic toothpaste that contains a powerful cleaning solution and enzymatic formula to combat bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and the build-up of tartar, and plaque.
Paws & Pals enzymatic dog toothpaste is specially formulated to kill germs and other sources of bad odors in your dog’s mouth, which eliminates bad breath and maintains your dog’s oral hygiene. If your dog has existing dental conditions, the antiseptic properties of this toothpaste can prevent other conditions like gum disease.
If your dog is still young, brushing its teeth with this toothpaste can also effectively prevent dental conditions like halitosis, periodontal disease, mouth sores, and tooth erosion.
A feature that many dog owners love about this toothpaste is that it is beef-flavored. If your dog doesn’t like flavors like poultry, malt, or mint, this flavor may be ideal for making the brushing session easier.
Why we like this brand:
The Paws & Pals enzymatic toothpaste comes in a 14-ounce tube. You only have to apply a pea-sized dab of toothpaste to the brush. Two or three brushing sessions will be enough to achieve the desired results.
The Nylabone advanced oral dog dental kit consists of a toothbrush, finger brush, and organic toothpaste that contains Denta-C to remove plaque and the build-up of tartar effectively. The Denta-C also kills germs and bacteria in your dog’s mouth and freshens its breath.
Denta-C’s antibacterial agents prevent dental issues associated with age, including tooth decay, gum disease, and halitosis.
The finger brush makes hard-to-reach places more accessible, and the brushing is more comfortable for your dog. The toothbrush has an angled profile to ensure better reach, and it is fitted with rubber surfaces that make plaque removal easier. The soft nylon toothbrush bristles prevent gum irritation and allow for easy cleaning between teeth and on the gum line.
Why we like this brand:
The toothbrush has a peanut butter flavor that dogs typically enjoy. The design of the finger brush and the toothbrush makes the Nylabone dog dental kit ideal for larger breeds.
The Vet’s Best dog toothpaste contains a wide range of organic materials, including grapefruit seed extract, aloe, neem oil, baking soda, and enzymes.
This dog toothpaste offers several application methods, including directly to your dog’s tongue, which will freshen their breath. You can also apply it to their teeth using your finger or apply it with a toothbrush to remove plaque and tartar.
Why we like this brand:
Vet’s Best’s toothpaste is made in the United States and is specially formulated with high-quality ingredients to enhance your dog’s dental hygiene. It prevents conditions like periodontal disease and tooth decay. This toothpaste has a natural flavor that dogs like, and it also contains a whitening agent to give your dog’s teeth a healthy appearance.
Why it is Important to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
Many owners make the mistake of thinking that their dogs have inherent physiological systems in place that maintain their dental health. While this may be true for wild dogs, your domestic dog needs additional dental care.
Most commercial dog food contains carbohydrates that break down into sugars. Bacterial plaque in your dog’s mouth uses this sugar to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. Over time, minerals in your dog’s saliva will harden the plaque, which results in tartar that forms under the gum line and causes tissue damage.
This bacterial layer on your dog’s teeth also causes your dog’s immune system to react. The inflammatory chemicals produced by the immune system damages the supporting tissues of your dog’s teeth.
Apart from diet, other causes of dental problems include genetics, inflammation medications, and Jing deficiency—a condition that results from malnutrition, a compromised immune system, and problems your dog’s mother had during pregnancy.
There are two ways to care for your dog’s teeth. The first is with a healthy diet.
Kibbles that are recommended by a vet have a low carbohydrate content and are not harmful to your dog’s dental health. Many people believe that cheap dry kibbles help to clean a dog’s teeth, but this is a myth.
The second way is with ongoing dental care that involves killing the bacterial plaque that sticks to your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog is on a healthy diet, keeping its teeth clean will prevent detrimental decay and other health conditions.
# Symptoms of Dental Disease
There are several tell-tale signs that your dog is suffering from dental disease. The first is bad breath or unpleasant odors in your dog’s mouth. There may also be the prominent presence of plaque or tartar on your dog’s teeth.
Odors or visible plaque are signs of bacteria in your dog’s mouth. If you don’t clean your dog’s mouth and kill the bacteria, it can result in further complications.
If your dog has been living with dental problems for some time, you may also start noticing tooth loss and unwillingness to eat or chew hard objects. For example, your dog may tilt its head to one side when chewing.
# Health Issues as the Result of Dental Conditions
Dental issues, if left untreated, can cause several health difficulties. Your dog’s mouth is a vascular area, and bacteria can find their way into the bloodstream, causing damage to the heart valves, liver, and kidneys. Ultimately, there is a causal relationship between poor dental health and heart failure.
Dental problems can also cause:
- Abscesses in the roots of the teeth
- Infection of the jawbone
- Chronic sinusitis
- Jaw fractures because of bone loss
- Blood infection or septicemia
Most of these conditions are associated with old age, but they are often the result of poor dental care.
# Common Ingredients in Dog Toothpaste
There is a wide range of healthy ingredients to look for when shopping for dog toothpaste.
Ingredients that kill bacteria and microbes include:
- Essential oils like peppermint and cinnamon
- Manuka honey
- Grape seed extract
- Grapefruit seed extract
In addition to killing germs, your dog toothpaste should also support your dog’s immune function. Bee propolis and vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, A, C, D, and E are the best ingredients to boost your dog’s immune system.
Ingredients that reduce inflammation include seaweed products and deer antler velvet.
Parsley and chlorophyll eliminate odors, plaque, and tartar, and Coq10 is an antioxidant.
Calendula and aloe vera are ingredients that soothe and heals mouth sores and gums.
There are many other ingredients like sodium hexametaphosphate, zinc gluconate, and titanium dioxide in commercial dog toothpaste. If you are not sure whether the toothpaste is safe for your dog to ingest, consult with your vet.
# How Much Toothpaste is Toxic to a Dog ?
The toxicity of toothpaste to a dog depends on the ingredients. Enzymatic toothpaste is generally safe for dogs to swallow. Enzymes are biological chemicals, called glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase.
When you brush your dog’s teeth with these enzymes, the glucose oxidase converts to hydrogen peroxide inside your dog’s mouth. It activates the lactoperoxidase to kill the bacteria sticking to the teeth.
These enzymes and ingredients like grapefruit seed extract and manuka honey are generally safe in large quantities. However, stick to brushing your dog’s teeth two or three times per week, and use small amounts of toothpaste. Also, make sure that the toothpaste you buy contains no xylitol or fluoride.
Why You Can’t Use Human Toothpaste !
Unlike humans, dogs have to swallow the toothpaste that you use to brush their teeth. If you use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth, they ingest everything that enters their mouth.
Xylitol is an ingredient in human toothpaste that is highly toxic to dogs. It is a sugar alcohol that can lower your dog’s blood sugar and cause hypoglycemia and liver failure within minutes. A human can consume up to 130 grams of xylitol per day with diarrhea being the only side effect.
However, if a dog consumes more than 0.1 gram/kg of xylitol, they can undergo a rapid drop in glucose levels within half an hour or less.
Ingesting fluoride can also be fatal to a dog, even if they consume as little as 5 mg/kg. After consuming large amounts of fluoride, your dog may experience inflammation of the intestines and stomach, followed by an increased heart rate. If the bloodstream absorbs the fluoride, it can result in fatality.
Signs that your dog ingested human toothpaste include the following:
- Lack of muscle control
- Problems with coordination
- Clack and tarry stool
- Coma leading to death
Unfortunately, your dog may not show signs of hypoglycemia or liver failure before going into a coma. Keep human toothpaste and other products out of your dog’s reach and don’t brush their teeth with your toothpaste. If you think that your dog may have ingested human toothpaste, take them to the vet immediately.
Dog Teeth Cleaning Risks
While cleaning your dog’s teeth is essential, it can also carry several risks. Cleaning your dog’s teeth is nothing like brushing your own. If you don’t remove plaque and tarter correctly, it can affect your dog’s dental health.
The most prominent risk of cleaning your dog’s teeth is fluoride or xylitol poisoning. You should only use toothpaste that is specially formulated for dogs. If you are not sure if the toothpaste is safe for cleaning your dog’s teeth, consult with your vet.
Another risk is accidentally injuring tissue in your dog’s mouth. To mitigate this risk, use a brush that is designed for pets. If you use a human toothbrush, you not only risk injuring your dog, but you also may be unable to clean your dog’s teeth effectively.
Cleaning your dog’s teeth can also be risky for you. If you accidentally injure your dog’s gums or another part of its mouth, it may instinctively resort to biting your hand or arm. If you have a particularly aggressive dog, consider having its teeth cleaned professionally under anesthesia.
At-home Dog Teeth Cleaning Tips
Start Early - Brushing your dog’s teeth from an early age will make brushing sessions easier when they are older. Puppies are easier to handle than mature dogs, and they will find it easier to accept the brushing as part of their routine.
Start Slowly - If your dog is not accustomed to getting its teeth brushed, don’t force it through an hour-long brushing session. Instead, start by slowly brushing the teeth that you can easily access. Patient application will desensitize their gums to the brush and help them get used to getting their teeth brushed.
Take Your Dog for a Walk - Brushing an energetic dog’s teeth can be a challenge. Before cleaning your dog’s teeth, take it for a walk to help it shed some of its excess energy.
How Often Should You Visit a Vet?
Your dog should visit the vet every six months for a routine check-up. Usually, vets include a dental examination during these check-ups. If they don’t, ask them to check your dog’s teeth for signs of dental health issues.
Many dog owners are hesitant to pay for routine vet visits, especially if the dog appears to be okay. However, if you manage to address dental issues before they result in health conditions, you can save a lot of money. You will also prolong your dog’s life expectancy and its overall wellbeing.
Check your dog’s gums at least once a week. If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet:
- Bad breath
- Changes in eating habits
- Excessive drooling
- Discolored, broken, or missing teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Tartar along the gum line
As a pet owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that your dog is comfortable, healthy, and happy. Taking proactive care of your dog’s oral health can make a significant difference in its overall health and vitality.