Good oral hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Just like us, dogs can suffer from gum disease and infections of the mouth because of plaque and tartar buildup. There are several ways to help reduce this buildup and freshen your dog’s breath, but nothing beats regularly cleaning their teeth with a high-quality toothpaste designed specifically for dogs. But, with so many different brands of toothpaste available, how do you know which is the best? Our panel of dog loving experts have explored the options and compiled a list of the 10 best dog toothpastes to point you in the right direction.
The Best Dog Toothpaste
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste
Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Toothpaste is available in five different flavors so you can be assured that there is a flavor that your dog will love. CET toothpaste is specifically formulated for dogs to inhibit plaque formation and provide a natural antibacterial action. The toothpaste helps to eliminate mouth odors and contains no foaming agents. This means that it is perfectly safe for your dog to swallow this toothpaste. For best results, the toothpaste should be used in conjunction with a soft-bristled toothbrush and should be stored at room temperature.
Available in beef, malt, poultry, seafood, and vanilla-mint flavors.
Natural antibacterial action.
Inhibits the formation of plaque.
Eliminates mouth odors.
No foaming agents make it safe to swallow.
- Weight3.2 ounces
Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste is formulated specifically to meet the oral hygiene needs of your dog. The poultry flavored toothpaste includes patented enzymes that help fight bad breath and control plaque accumulation. The non-foaming formula means that no rinsing is required, and the toothpaste is safe for your pet pooch to swallow.
Poultry flavored toothpaste designed specifically for dogs.
Includes patented enzymes.
Helps fight bad breath.
Controls plaque accumulation.
The non-foaming formula is safe to swallow.
- Weight6.7 ounces
Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Toothpaste for Dogs
If you are looking for a dog toothpaste that includes natural ingredients and cleaning agents, then Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Toothpaste for Dogs might be just what you are looking for. Designed by dentists, the gel formula includes aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, and baking soda, along with cleaning enzymes. The toothpaste cleans away tartar, reduces plaque, and freshens breath. It works to support your dog’s dental hygiene between cleaning appoints with your veterinarian. The inclusion of natural ingredients not only increase the effectiveness of the toothpaste but also creates a fresh taste that dogs love. For best results, it should be used around three times a week.
Includes natural ingredients: aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, and baking soda.
Cleans away tartar.
- BrandVet’s Best
- Weight2.24 ounces
Arm & Hammer Dental Care Toothpaste for Dogs
Available in three different flavors, Arm & Hammer Dental Care Toothpaste for Dogs helps to control tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. Made from natural ingredients and infused with baking soda, the formula also freshens breath and brightens your dog’s teeth. The toothpaste can be used effectively with a doggy toothbrush or using your finger to rub it on the teeth in a circular motion. For best results, it should be used two or three times a week.
Available in beef, chicken, and vanilla – ginger flavors.
Reduces tartar buildup.
Freshens breath leaving a fresh mint scent.
Contains natural ingredients, baking soda, and enzymes.
- BrandArm & Hammer
- Weight2.5 pounds
Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Chicken Flavored Canine Toothpaste
The non-foaming Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Chicken Flavored Canine Toothpaste works to promote good dental hygiene for your dog. The toothpaste helps prevent tartar buildup and plaque formation; reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth loss in your canine companion. The non-foaming enzymatic formula does not require rinsing and is safe for your dog to swallow.
Chicken flavored dog toothpaste.
Prevents tartar buildup.
Reduces plaque formation.
A non-foaming formula which is safe for your dog to swallow.
- BrandNutri-Vet Wellness
- Weight2.56 ounces
Kissable Dog Dental Kit
The Kissable Dog Dental Kit includes an all-natural toothpaste, finger brush, and gum hugging toothbrush. The kit is available with two different flavor toothpastes and helps promote healthy gums while preventing tartar buildup. The toothpaste is safe for your dog to swallow and does not require rinsing. The vanilla and tea tree toothpaste has a great flavor and has antiseptic and antifungal properties. The toothpaste is safe for use with dogs of all ages, including puppies, and the pack comes in three different sizes to meet the needs of small, medium, and large dogs.
Toothpaste available in vanilla and tea tree, and cucumber and mint flavors.
No rinse formula that is safe to swallow.
Promotes healthy gums.
Prevents tartar buildup.
- Weight2.56 ounces
Triple Pet EZ Toothpaste for Dogs
EZ Toothpaste for Dogs helps prevent tartar buildup and promotes healthy gums. The vanilla flavored toothpaste also helps to freshen your dog’s breath, prevent gum disease, and reduce the risk of mouth infections. The toothpaste is easy to use and is suitable for dogs of all ages, including puppies. It contains no added sugars and instead uses Stevia to sweeten the formula.
Vanilla flavored dog toothpaste.
Freshens breath and prevents tartar buildup.
Prevents gum disease and mouth infections.
Suitable for use with puppies.
- BrandTriple Pet
- Weight1.6 ounces
Enzadent Toothpaste is poultry flavored and is suitable for use with dogs and cats. It contains a triple enzyme system that effectively removes plaque from teeth. The toothpaste is non-foaming and does not need to be rinsed, making it easy to use with your pet pooch.
Poultry flavored toothpaste for dogs and cats.
Uses a triple enzyme system.
The non-foaming formula does not require rinsing.
- Weight2.4 ounces
Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Natural Peanut Flavored Toothpaste
If you are looking for a completely different flavored toothpaste to try with your dog, then Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Natural Peanut Flavored Toothpaste could be just what you are looking for. The advanced formula contains Denta-C which is scientifically proven to reduce bacteria harboring plaque. The toothpaste improves the health of your dog’s teeth and gums by removing tartar and freshens their breath. The no-rinse formula is suitable for dogs from 3 months old.
Peanut flavored dog toothpaste.
Contains Denta-C – scientifically proven to reduce plaque.
Removes tartar and freshens breath.
The no-rinse formula that can be used with dogs from 3 months old.
- Weight2.56 ounces
Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste
Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste prevents tooth and gum problems by protecting your dog from plaque growth. The formula includes Calpox, which is clinically proven to gently and safely fight bacteria, prevent plaque, whiten teeth, and reduce bad breath. It includes food safe ingredients and is free from parabens, sulfates, silica, fluoride, and dyes. The toothpaste comes with a reusable soft-touch applicator that makes applying the toothpaste easy and mess free.
London Broil flavored toothpaste
Includes clinically proven Calpox to gently and safely fight bacteria.
Prevents plaque, whitens teeth, and reduces bad breath.
Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved.
- Weight7.2 ounces
Best Dog Toothpaste Buying Guide & FAQ
Choosing the right dog toothpaste is important. If your dog doesn’t like the taste or the feel of the toothpaste, then trying to clean their teeth will always be a struggle. But, choosing the right pet toothpaste is not just about taste and texture, it is also about what the toothpaste can achieve and the active ingredients it contains. In this section of the guide, we explore these aspects in more detail and consider some of the most frequently asked questions about canine toothpaste.
What To Look For In a Toothpaste For Dogs
It is important that the toothpaste you use is designed specifically for use with dogs. Human toothpaste should be avoided because it contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs including fluoride. Dogs cannot rinse their mouths after brushing, so the toothpaste is swallowed and works through your dog’s system in the same way as food. For this reason, the ingredients are very important, and should all be food grade and safe for your dog to ingest.
Toothpastes that contain enzymes are very beneficial to your dog. Enzymes are biological chemicals; the two most commonly found in dog toothpaste are glucose oxidase (GOx) and lactoperoxidase (LPO). GOx becomes hydrogen peroxide when in your dog's mouth. This, in turn, activates the LPO, which kills the bacteria that would otherwise go on to help form plaque, which would later harden into tartar.
Taste is important when it comes to your dog’s toothpaste. Very few dogs love mint, so look for one that has a meaty flavor instead. Other flavors that are available for dogs range from peanut to cucumber. Whatever flavor you consider it is important to look at the ingredients that are used to create that flavor. If the toothpaste is loaded with sugars, then it is unlikely to do your dog’s teeth much good over the long term. Many toothpastes use artificial flavors instead of sugars. Ensure that those used are safe for your dog and are not xylitol derivatives. Also, avoid toothpastes that contain alcohol as this too is unhealthy for your dog and potentially toxic over time.
Be wary of toothpastes that contain tea tree oil. While it is a natural antiseptic and antifungal, it is toxic when swallowed. In small amounts, there is little risk to your pet. But, toothpastes containing tea tree oil should be stored safely out of your pet’s reach and usage guidelines should be followed carefully.
Why You Should Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Just as in humans, poor dental hygiene leads to a wide range of issues with dogs. As well as bad breath, there is tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and a range of other health issues to consider. One of the key problems with dental disease in dogs is that dogs rarely if ever show the pain they are in. Unlike us, they are capable of eating even with tooth abscesses and other painful dental issues.
Cleaning your dog’s teeth is not an alternative to regular professional cleanings and dental exams, rather it should form part of a good routine. Regular dental exams include taking x-rays, allowing your dentist to look for potential damage below the surface of the teeth and gums. Usually, a dental exam also includes a thorough clean under anesthetic, allowing your veterinarian to get to places that are hard to reach when your dog is awake and eager to get on with their day.
For the best results, you should start teeth cleaning from a young age. Include teeth cleaning into your puppies training routine and it will become second nature as they grow up. However, you can still get good results with older dogs, you just need to be patient, get a toothpaste they enjoy, and make it a rewarding and fun activity.
Introduce toothpaste to your dog slowly. Put a small amount on your finger or on a doggy toothbrush and let them sniff and lick it. Once they are comfortable try putting in on their teeth, just touching it to the front teeth, not rubbing or raising their lips at this point. If they are happy with this raise the lip to expose the teeth and gums and gently brush in a circular motion along the teeth and gum line.
Go as far back into the mouth as your dog is comfortable with, but do not try to open your dog’s mouth to reach the backside of the teeth, this can be very upsetting for your dog. Take your time, be patient, and remember it may take several attempts before you are able to complete the process.
As well as dog toothpaste, it is a good idea to invest in a dog toothbrush. Human toothbrushes are the wrong shape, and even the softest bristles can still be too abrasive for your dog’s teeth. Top off their dental routines with plenty of chewable toys.
Common Ingredients in Dog Toothpaste
While there is a wide range of different toothpastes available for dogs, there are several ingredients that are commonly found in most dog toothpastes. These include:
- Silica: This is an active ingredient that is effective at removing tartar from the surface of your dog's teeth. Silica is an abrasive, however, when included in a toothpaste it gently polishes the surface of the tooth, scouring away plaque and tartar with no ill effects or discomfort.
- Emulsifiers: These are chemical agents that are found in many everyday items. The emulsifier often found in toothpaste is tetrapotassium, which is also found in ice cream, cheese, and cleaning products. In toothpaste, it breaks down and cleans tartar from your dog's teeth.
- Enzymes: Enzymes like lactoperoxidase and glucose oxidase are often added to dog toothpaste to help fight tartar. Oxidase reduces levels of bacteria in the mouth, while the addition of lactoperoxidase has a preventative effect, keeping microorganism growth minimized.
- Flavors: Flavoring is added to dog toothpaste to make it more palatable, and to encourage your dog to accept having their teeth cleaned. Look for toothpastes that use natural flavorings where possible.
- Sweeteners: These are often added for the same reason as flavorings. Avoid toothpastes with high levels of sweeteners or that use sugars. These will increase dental decay and sugar is a highly addictive substance. If you choose one that uses sweeteners instead of sugars avoid xylitol and alcohol-based sweeteners as these are toxic to your dog.
Best Dog Toothpaste FAQ:
Q: Can I use my toothpaste for my dog?
A: No, human toothpaste should never be used on dogs. Human toothpastes include several ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including fluoride. It only takes small amounts of fluoride to make your dog quite poorly. As dogs cannot rinse after they brush, any ingredients included in the toothpaste they use must be safe for them to swallow.
Q: How often should I be brushing my dog's teeth?
A: Most experts recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth two to three times a week. The best way to get into a good routine with teeth cleaning is to start young and make it an integral part of their training and play routine.
Q: My pet has bad breath. Are bad teeth and gums the cause?
A: Gum disease or tooth decay are the two most common causes of bad breath. However, if the problem persists once you start a good oral health routine, then you should speak to your veterinarian. Bad breath can also be a sign of more complex medical issues in the respiratory system, internal organs, gastrointestinal tract, or the mouth.
Q: What is the difference between plaque and tartar?
A: Plaque is the colorless, sticky covering of bacteria that forms along the gum line of your dog’s teeth. Bacteria contained within the plaque causes gum disease and tooth cavities. If plaque is not removed by regular brushing, then it can begin to calcify or harden. Once hardened it becomes tartar, which attaches to the enamel of your dog’s teeth and can travel beyond the gum line.
If not removed plaque causes irritation and inflammation of the gums around your dog’s teeth. This leads to red, swollen, and bleeding gums, which over time can lead to disease and tooth loss.
Tartar is much easier to see than plaque, the most common sign of tartar buildup is brown or yellow deposits along the gum line. The only way to remove tartar completely is with professional cleaning by your veterinarian. However, regular cleaning can reduce the amount of tartar that is present and minimize its growth.
Q: What steps do I need to follow to teach my dog to accept tooth brushing?
A: The first thing you need to do is introduce your dog to tooth cleaning as early as possible. Regardless of when you start the process, you should make it an enjoyable and rewarding activity.
Choose a good quality toothpaste and introduce it to your dog by putting a small amount on your finger and letting them smell and lick it.
Once your dog is comfortable, place a small amount of the toothpaste on their front teeth and let them become accustomed to it. If they accept this give them lots of praise and then try lifting their lip and placing toothpaste on teeth that are further back in their mouth.
Once they are comfortable with the toothpaste and with your fingers in their mouth, you can try to introduce a toothbrush. Do this slowly and with lots of praise. Touch it to the front teeth first, before proceeding to the back teeth, and gently moving it along the gum line in small circular motions.
Once your dog is happy and comfortable with the different elements, you can try brushing their teeth. Remember that it can take time to reach this point. However, once ready follow these steps each time:
- Get your dog toothpaste and toothbrush (if using one) ready.
- Get your dog to sit in front of you.
- Put a small amount of toothpaste onto the brush (or your finger).
- Lift your dog’s lip and gently brush along the gum line in small circular motions. Repeat along the bottom teeth, remembering to give lots of praise as you go. Do not try to open your dog’s mouth or clean the back sides of the teeth as this will cause discomfort.
- When finished give more praise and a treat and place the toothpaste and toothbrush away out of the reach of pets and children. If using a toothbrush, give it a rinse before putting it away.
- Repeat the process at least twice a week for the best results.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Toothpaste for dogs. It is available in five different flavors so you can be assured that there is a flavor that your dog will love. CET toothpaste is specifically formulated for dogs to inhibit plaque formation and provide a natural antibacterial action. The toothpaste helps to eliminate mouth odors and contains no foaming agents. This means that it is perfectly safe for your dog to swallow this toothpaste. For best results, the toothpaste should be used in conjunction with a soft-bristled toothbrush and should be stored at room temperature.