The best dog toothpaste
For every dog owner, worrying about your pet's health is pretty much second nature, but a lot of pet parents tend to overlook one crucial area: oral health. Just like humans, a dog's teeth can become damaged by plaque and tartar, which can lead to a variety of more serious health issues. Unfortunately, you can't just use your tube of Colgate to brush your dog's teeth. You need a toothpaste specially formulated for dogs to avoid toxic ingredients that do more harm than good. With so many dog toothpaste options to choose from, shopping for your pet's dental needs can be overwhelming.
Our buying guide has plenty of tips to help you find the best dog toothpaste for your dog. We've also included some specific product recommendations, including our top choice from Virbac, which is mild enough for dogs with sensitive stomachs and has a great poultry flavor they love.
Considerations when choosing dog toothpastes
Dog toothpaste shouldn't contain fluoride because it can be toxic to dogs, and there's a risk your dog may swallow it. Scan the ingredients list for any toothpaste to make sure it's fluoride-free, and look for these effective ingredients instead:
Silica to remove tartar and plaque
Tetrapotassium phosphate and other emulsifiers to remove tartar
Sorbitol to improve the flavor with a dog-safe sweetener
An enzymatic dog toothpaste features enzymes that make the formula antibacterial, which helps the toothpaste remove plaque and tartar. Look for formulas with enzymes like lactoperoxidase and glucose oxidase if you're interested in an enzymatic toothpaste for your dog.
Keep in mind that enzymatic dog toothpaste typically works best as a preventative measure. If your dog has a lot of existing plaque and tartar, the toothpaste may not make much difference. In that case, your dog likely needs a professional dental cleaning from a veterinarian.
You can find dog toothpaste in a variety of flavors that appeal to your dog, which makes them more cooperative when it comes time to brush their teeth. Some common flavors include:
Some toothpastes are unflavored if your dog isn't a fan of any particular flavor.
Like the toothpaste you use, most dog toothpaste comes in a squeeze tube. You can easily squeeze the amount you need onto a brush or other applicator and apply it to your dog's teeth. You can also find tubes that have an applicator tip, so you're able to apply the paste directly to your dog's teeth and brush it in.
For added convenience, you can purchase dog toothpaste as part of a kit that includes additional accessories to help maintain your dog's oral health. Many kits come with a toothbrush or rubber fingertip brush to apply the paste, while others feature a scraping tool to help remove tartar.
You usually pay between $3 and $25 for dog toothpaste. For smaller tubes that contain basic ingredients, expect to spend between $3 and $8. Larger tubes that come with accessories like a toothbrush typically go for $8 to $16.
Q. Will my dog get sick if they swallow toothpaste?
A. If you use a toothpaste designed for dogs, you don't have to worry about them getting sick if they swallow any. If you use human toothpaste on your dog's teeth, they may become sick if they swallow it.
Q. How often should I brush my dog's teeth?
A. Your vet likely recommends that you brush your dog's teeth at least once a day, but if your dog isn't very cooperative, every other day is usually sufficient.
Dog toothpastes we recommend
Best of the best: Virbac's C.E.T. Enzymatic Poultry-Flavor Dog Toothpaste
Our take: Effectively helps prevent plaque from forming and keeps bad breath at bay. Flavor pleases most dogs to make brushing easier.
What we like: Doesn't irritate sensitive dog stomachs. Dogs enjoy the flavor, so they cooperate when it comes time to brush. Works well to clean teeth.
What we dislike: Pricier than other options on the market per ounce. Odor is rather strong.
Best bang for your buck: Vet's Best's Complete Enzymatic Dog Dental Care Kit
Our take: Provides excellent results despite its budget-friendly price tag. Especially effective for removing plaque and tartar.
What we like: An excellent option for dogs with sensitive mouths and/or gums. Features all-natural ingredients. Squeeze tube makes it easy to get the right amount out.
What we dislike: Toothpaste is sticky, so it can make a mess. Some dogs aren't fans of the taste.
Our take: Formula offers a great chicken flavor that dogs love. Helps prevent plaque and bad breath.
What we like: Budget-friendly price per ounce. Effectively cleans most dogs' teeth. Dogs really enjoy the flavor, so they don't mind using it.
What we dislike: Some users aren't fans of the smell. Dogs with sensitive stomachs don't always do well with the formula.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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