Looking after your dog’s oral hygiene is just one of your many responsibilities as a pet owner. Unfortunately, this is a duty which is often overlooked, leading to expensive and disruptive dental work further down the line. Of course, you could get a professional to do the job for you, but this can get expensive after a while.
If you are going to take on the task of brushing your dog’s teeth yourself (and you certainly should), you need to have the best dog toothpaste. But with so many different brands and varieties available, choosing between them isn’t the easiest task in the world. Don’t worry; we are here with our guide of the best pet toothpastes currently available.
The Best Dog Toothpaste
First on the list, we have this Virbac toothpaste, which has been made with a special healthy formula that contains no foaming agents or fluoride to ensure that it can be safely swallowed by your pet. When brushing your dog’s teeth, the toothpaste has an abrasive action which allows it to remove plaque and control tartar formation.
This CET enzymatic toothpaste has a natural antibacterial effect, which helps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and also clears any mouth odors which are lingering. The vanilla-mint flavor is a hit with many pets, who love the sweetness that it offers. This is a highly rated product by many dog owners who are also impressed by the fresh breath that it leaves their pooches with. The 2.5oz tube is suitable for a month or more of regular use, depending on how often you brush your dog’s teeth.
Vanilla-mint flavor toothpaste
Natural antibacterial action
Contains no foaming agents
Removes plaque and controls tartar formation
- Weight3.2 ounces
Plaque and tartar formation are a problem for many pets, but this Petrodex enzymatic toothpaste fights back against it. The patented enzymes offer advanced dental care, while the formula is non-foaming to ensure that it does not require rinsing.
The tasty poultry flavor is one which is very popular with canines, and if you continue using it on a regular basis, it helps to freshen up your dog’s breath, which is bound to be a relief for everyone in the household! The toothpaste is entirely safe, and it only contains natural abrasives to remove the plaque from their mouth. There are no artificial flavors or additives in this Sentry Petrodex toothpaste.
Reduces tartar and plaque build-up
Non-foaming formula with no rinsing required
Freshens breath and polishes teeth
Delicious poultry flavor
25 years of experience backs up this brand’s credentials. This veterinarian formulated dental gel toothpaste is specially designed to gently clean away plaque and tartar. With ingredients including neem oil, enzymes grapefruit seed extract and aloe, this organic toothpaste has cleaning and freshening effects to help get your dog’s breath back to its best. At the same time, it whitens your dog’s teeth to give your pooch their winning smile back again!
Your dog’s gums are another potential source of problems, and this canine toothpaste has a soothing effect on them. Many pet owners have testified that their dog loves the taste, which makes the task of brushing their teeth so much easier. The 3.5oz is bigger than many of the other options on the market, so it is great if you plan on brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, or you have multiple pooches who all need their teeth cleaned.
Mix of aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, baking soda, and enzymes
Gently clears away plaque and tartar
Brightens and whitens teeth
- BrandVet’s Best
- Weight2.24 ounces
Promoting healthy gums is just one of the positive effects of this natural dog toothpaste. It also helps to eliminate bad breath, reduces tartar build-up, and whitens your mutt’s teeth. The company has been around since the 19th century, so you can rest assured that it has plenty of experience backing it up.
As for the formula of the enzymatic toothpaste for dogs, it infused with baking soda and is designed to be 100% safe for all dogs and puppies. The beef flavor is for your dog to enjoy, while the fresh mint scent is for you or anyone who gets up close and personal with your hound! The 2.5oz tube of Arm and Hammer dog toothpaste is just enough for your dog to get used to the flavor and is a great size if you are introducing them to tooth brushing for the first time.
Enzymes help fight tartar
Promotes healthy gums
Made with natural ingredients
Mint scent for fresher breath
- BrandArm & Hammer
- Weight2.88 ounces
Formulated with dogs in mind, this toothpaste is both non-foaming and great-tasting. Use it on a regular basis and this will help to prevent the build-up of tartar. If you don’t tackle this, it can lead to problems ranging from sensitive gums to tooth loss.
As you would expect, it also helps to freshen up your dog’s breath. Remember that you need to use it at least twice a week for it to have the best effects.
Helps prevent plaque and tartar formation
Great tasting for dogs
- BrandNutri-Vet Wellness
- Weight2.56 ounces
Promoting healthy gums and preventing tartar build-up are two of the main benefits offered by this dog toothpaste. The vanilla and tea tree formula is one which dogs enjoy, while there are also antiseptic and antifungal properties offered.
You can rest assured that it is suitable for use on all puppies and dogs. It is entirely safe to swallow, so there is no need to rinse it out of your pet’s mouth. The vet-trusted formula also helps to freshen up your mutt’s bad breath.
Promotes healthy gums
Prevents tartar build up
Vanilla and tea tree oil formula
Safe to swallow with no rinsing required
- Weight2.56 ounces
You can keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy with this pet toothpaste, which helps to reduce instances of bad breath and mouth infections. It is designed to be suitable for all dogs, whether you have a young pup or an old hound.
As well as preventing tartar build-up and promoting healthy gums, it also helps to freshen your dog’s breath to ensure that you don’t have to recoil every time they lean in for a kiss!
Promotes healthy gums
Prevents tartar build-up
Easy to use
Suitable for all puppies and dogs
- Weight1.6 ounces
A highly rated toothpaste for both cats and dogs, it is poultry flavored to ensure that your pet doesn’t mind putting it in their mouth. Battling against harmful bacterial growth, it will help to keep your dog’s mouth healthier and will also play a part in getting rid of their bad breath.
The triple enzyme formula can be swallowed by pets without the need to rinse it out. As well as removing food debris and plaque, using this toothpaste frequently will help to keep your mutt’s pearly whites polished and their breath fresher.
Poultry-flavored enzymatic solution
Eliminates bad breath and combats bacterial growth
Triple enzyme formula
- Weight2.4 ounces
Fresher breath and healthier teeth and gums are just two of the positive effects which using this dog toothpaste on a regular basis will offer. The Dentra-C formula has been scientifically shown to reduce the bacteria-harboring plaque in your dog’s mouth. The toothpaste has a natural peanut flavor, which has proven to be highly popular with the many canines who have used it.
Reduces plaque and tartar build-up
Made with Dentra-C
Natural peanut flavor
Offers easy oral care
- Weight2.56 ounces
This pet toothpaste has the honor of being the only one awarded by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Using it on a daily basis will help to protect pets against plaque formation and oral diseases. There are no harmful substances – only safe, food-grade ingredients. The Calprox in the formula prevents plaque, battles bacteria, reduces bad breath, and whitens teeth.
Prevents plaque growth
Fights bacteria, decreases bad breath, and whitens teeth
- Weight4.8 ounces
Best Dog Toothpaste Buying Guide & FAQ
You may feel like you have already made your mind up which dog toothpaste is right for your pooch. But if you are still in doubt, we have this buying guide section which starts by describing what you should look for in a dog toothpaste. Next, we will explain some of the key reasons why you should get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth. Following this, we will look in closer detail at some of the main ingredients which you can expect to find in dog toothpaste. We then have our frequently asked questions section to clear up any concerns which you still have. Finally, we will recap our favorite product of the 10 which we have discussed above.
What to Look for In a Toothpaste for Dogs
Have you chosen the toothpaste which is right for your pooch? If not, don’t worry about it! Here are some of the key features to look out for which will help you to decide.
- Ingredient List
The first thing that you should make sure of is that the toothpaste has been specially formulated for dogs. Unlike humans, dogs will not spit out the foam. If it contains chemicals, this can lead to stomach upset and discomfort. Apart from fluoride, there are other potentially harmful substances including artificial sweeteners or flavorings. But natural flavors are often added which make the toothpaste more palatable to your mutt. Check the ingredients in closer detail to see the positive properties they offer like fighting against tartar and plaque build-up or freshening breath. A lot of modern dog toothpastes contain enzymes, which offer positive effects.
- Foaming Agent-Free
A huge number of dog toothpastes do not contain a foaming agent, but it is still worth double checking to make sure. Essentially, this indicates that it is safe for your pet to swallow and it will not need to be rinsed out. This makes the task of cleaning your dog’s teeth so much easier.
We referred to taste earlier on, but it is very important for many dogs to ensure that they actually enjoy the brushing experience. Otherwise, they are likely to end up recoiling and trying to get away whenever you get the toothpaste out. Many dog toothpastes have some kind of meat or poultry flavor which mimics their dog food. Alternatively, it may have a sweet flavor like vanilla. There is often a breath freshening ingredient added such as mint, which is pleasant without being totally overpowering.
- Tube Size
You may want to compare the prices as part of your decision-making, but it is also worth looking closer at the tube size. You can’t compare like-for-like if the sizes are different. If you are unsure whether or not your pet is going to enjoy a particular brand of toothpaste, you could buy a smaller tube as a trial. This way less will go to waste if you find that they are not happy with it.
- Bad Breath Battling
While looking after your dog’s dental hygiene may be the primary reason for using dog toothpaste, reducing their bad breath is a pleasant side effect. Dental issues are one of the main reasons for dog bad breath, so if you can solve these problems, this will help significantly. Also, many of them contain breath freshening substances like mint. And if you have a dog who loves to get in your face to give you a kiss, this is bound to be a relief!
- Teeth Whitening
Another positive effect which dog toothpaste can offer is whitening of your pooch’s teeth. So, if your mutt’s pearly whites are starting to look a little discolored, search for the pastes which offer whitening as one of the benefits.
Whenever you are buying something which is going into your dog’s body, it is worth looking in closer detail at the brand. You can check on its credentials, years of experience, and reputation. The packaging is also a good indication of the quality of the product. It should look clean-cut and professional.
Why You Should Brush Your Dog's Teeth
There are plenty of reasons why brushing your dog’s teeth is an important part of their general healthcare. Here are some of the reasons why this is something you should do as a responsible pet owner.
- Prevent Tartar and Plaque Build-up
Dental disease in dogs is usually caused by the build-up of food particles and bacteria around the base of the teeth near the gumline. If it is not removed, it will combine with their saliva and result in tartar, which attaches itself strongly to the teeth and is extremely tough to remove. Once it is on there, it will irritate the gums and lead to inflammation and infection. Brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week is one of the best ways of removing plaque before it turns into tartar.
- Reduce the Risk of Other Health Problems
If you let tartar build up on your dog’s teeth, it can lead to oral diseases. And these can end up causing more severe problems in other parts of your dog’s body, including their internal organs such as their heart. Not only could these problems end up being dangerous to your dog, but they are also likely to be expensive to put right. Bear in mind that dogs are often very good at hiding pain, so you may not realize that they have developed a serious dental issue until it has become very advanced.
- Protects Teeth for Longer
Your dog’s teeth go through a lot. As well as munching on their food, dogs have a natural instinct to bite and chew objects. If you don’t help them look after their pearly whites, these can end up wearing away, leading to pain and difficulty eating. In extreme situations, they can lose their teeth, which is obviously a highly unpleasant experience. Unlike you, your dog cannot look after their own teeth, so it is important that you help them by brushing them on a regular basis.
- Dog Dental Health Issues Are Common
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3-years-old suffer some kind of periodontal disease. Often, this is the result of plaque build-up, which could have been prevented by regular teeth cleaning. So, if you don’t want your mutt to fall into this category, it is important that you take the time to look after their dental hygiene.
- Get into Good Habits
When you first start brushing your dog’s teeth, this is a habit which can feel strange to your hound, and it can take some time before they get fully used to it. If you develop this dental healthcare routine from a young age, it just becomes another standard part of taking care of them like clipping their nails or giving them a bath.
- Identify Oral Issues Early
If you brush your dog’s teeth regularly, this gives you the opportunity to give their mouth a closer inspection. And if something seems amiss, you can report it to your vet at the earliest possible opportunity. Some of the common issues to watch out for include bad breath, misaligned or loose teeth, discolored teeth or gums, tartar along the gumline, bleeding gums, or bumps or growths within the mouth. Even if you are brushing and checking your dog’s teeth daily, it is still a good idea to have a professional inspect them every six to 12 months.
Common Ingredients in Dog Toothpaste
Now, let’s have a look at some of the ingredients which are commonly found in a dog toothpaste. You should familiarize yourself with these. Remember, it is important to scrutinize anything which is going into your dog’s body. Many contain special enzymes which work to reduce bacteria build-up. Some contain silica, which is designed to remove plaque and tartar gently. Others have emulsifiers to help prevent tartar build-up. And often they will contain some kind of flavorings to make them more palatable to dogs.
Additional ingredients which are commonly found in dog toothpaste includes tea tree oil and propylene gel. If you are unsure of whether a particular ingredient is okay or not, you should consult with your dog’s vet for more information. You want to avoid anything which is too abrasive or toothpaste with artificial sweeteners which can upset your dog’s stomach. If you are unsure how they will react to a particular brand, buy the smallest tube available to test out their reaction.
Best Dog Toothpaste FAQ:
Q: Can I use my toothpaste for my dog?
A: You should never brush your dog’s teeth using human toothpaste. Unlike us, your dog will not be able to spit out the foam and they are highly likely to swallow it instead. Many human toothpastes contain fluoride to strengthen the enamel of our teeth, but this can lead to gastric irritation in canines. It is quite a corrosive substance which can result in a host of negative side effects including stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. In more serious situations, it may even inflame the stomach lining of your pooch.
If you use toothpaste containing fluoride on puppies, this can inhibit the development of their tooth enamel. As they move into adulthood, this will increase the risk of more plaque and tartar building up in their mouths. As we have already discussed, this can lead to all sorts of serious conditions including oral diseases, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
Instead of using a human brand toothpaste, you should go for one which has been specially formulated for canines, as you know that the ingredients used are safe for their usage. Though your dog is likely to swallow the toothpaste, it is usually non-foaming and non-toxic. Many of them are uniquely flavored for your dog’s enjoyment, which makes the task of brushing their teeth so much easier.
Q: How often should I be brushing my dog's teeth?
A: As a rule of thumb, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. In an ideal world, you would have the time to undertake this task every single day, but this is not a realistic ask for many busy pet owners. But you should make a point of getting into good teeth brushing habits which help your dog’s dental hygiene stay in tip-top condition.
Your dog’s mouth goes through a lot. Dogs keep themselves clean by licking their fur, which is likely to be full of dirt and bacteria after they have been rolling around outside. Most dogs will put anything which is given to them in their mouths. If you don’t provide them with toys or bones to get their teeth stuck into, it is likely that they are going to turn their attention toward your treasured possessions and your furniture! You never really know what kind of bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses could be going into their mouths. And these are likely to lead to dental and gum diseases through the formation of plaque, followed by tartar.
While you can’t expect to remove everything harmful from your dog’s mouth by simply brushing their teeth, this will help to stop bacteria from building up a defensive biofilm. Prevent this, and it is much less likely that they will be able to proliferate. If you only brush your dog’s teeth infrequently or not at all, you are giving bacteria ample opportunity to do its worst. While it may feel like a major challenge to brush your dog’s teeth twice a week, it is one which is worth it for your pooch’s long-term health.
Q: My pet has bad breath. Are bad teeth and gums the cause?
A: Bad breath in dogs is often a result of odor-producing bacteria which could be present in the mouth, but it could also be in their gut or lungs. Bad breath is a common sign that something is not right with your dog’s health. Poor dental hygiene and the build-up of tartar and plaque are the most common causes of halitosis, so you could try brushing your dog’s teeth on a more regular basis with a specially formulated toothpaste to see if this improves the issue. More serious dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and periodontal disease are all common causes of bad breath as well.
There are other issues which could be the cause as well. If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia, this could be because waste products are building up in their bloodstream due to kidney disease. Another possibility is that your dog has ingested a toxic substance. If their breath has a slightly fruity or sweet smell, it could indicate that they are suffering from diabetes. If the bad breath is accompanied by strange masses or discoloration, it could be an indication that they have tumors in their mouth.
If your dog has persistent bad breath which doesn’t seem to clear up after tooth brushing, you should take them into the vet to get more information on what the cause of the issue could be. You need to get it treated as soon as possible.
Q: What is the difference between plaque and tartar?
A: Plaque and tartar are both common dental issues. A significant build-up of either can cause problems for your dog. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film which builds on tooth surfaces and along the gumline. Containing bacteria which attacks tooth enamel, it can also damage gums and lead to cavities forming. If it accumulates without being removed, it can mineralize and trap the stains underneath, turning into tartar. Plaque is one of the main causes of a variety of oral health problems. If it is not removed regularly through brushing, it will harden and form tartar, which is a hard deposit on your teeth that can lead to stains and discoloration. It is yellow or brown colored and forms when plaque mineralizes on your dog’s teeth, after the residual plaque on the tooth surface reacts with the minerals in your dog’s saliva. Often, as your pooch ages, they are more susceptible to tartar build-up on their teeth.
Regular brushing is one of the best ways of preventing plaque and tartar from building up. You can also switch their diet to one which limits plaque as it forms. Offering your dog chew toys and dental treats is a common way to deal with the problem as well.
Q: What steps do I need to follow to teach my dog to accept tooth brushing?
A: There is no getting around it; getting your dog used to tooth brushing can be a slightly arduous and time-consuming process. But it is one which is necessary in looking after your mutt’s oral hygiene. First, you need to make sure that you have all the right equipment. As well as selecting the right dog toothpaste, you also need a specially designed dog toothbrush. This type of brush has softer bristles than a human one. There are also finger brushes, which give you a higher degree of control, but you need to feel comfortable putting your hands inside your dog’s mouth without getting bitten.
Ideally, you should start when your dog is a puppy – as early as two months old. You should look for a special puppy toothpaste. However, they will not have their fully formed adult teeth until they are six or seven months, so this is just to get them used to the procedure. You should pick a time when they are feeling especially calm and relaxed. Generally, after they are worn out from a long exercise or playing session is a good time to choose. When you are first starting out, you need to get them comfortable with the feeling of your hand in and around their mouth. You could try giving them some toothpaste to lick off your finger. When you feel more confident, you can start rubbing it along their teeth and gum area.
Before you put the toothbrush in their mouth, you should give your dog the opportunity to give it a thorough inspection. You can try letting them lick some toothpaste off the brush. Make sure that you give them plenty of love and praise to help the associate the brush with positive feelings. When it comes to brushing, start off with a few of the outside surfaces of the teeth which are easiest to reach. Proceed with caution. You don’t want to risk alarming your dog, so you should take your cues from your pup. If they resist and become aggressive, it is best to discontinue the action and trying again on another occasion. If you get through the brushing session successfully, you can offer them a treat as a reward for their good behavior.
Each time you brush your dog’s teeth, you can increase the number which you brush. You can try brushing along their gumline as this will get them used to the action without having to open their mouth. You can gradually lengthen your sessions until you reach a point when you can brush all of their teeth. During the process, you should continue praising your dog to help them feel calm. Once you have gotten them used to brushing the outer surfaces of their teeth, you can try moving onto the inner surfaces. You don’t have to worry about being as thorough; your dog’s tongue will naturally deal with tartar build-up along these surfaces.
The more you brush your dog’s teeth, the easier the whole process should get. If your dog has loose teeth, sensitivities around their mouth, or oral bleeding, you should consult with your vet before continuing.
Our Top Pick
Our number one pick is this CET toothpaste. Created by a brand with more than 30 years’ experience, it contains no foaming agents or fluoride, so you don’t have to worry about your dog swallowing it. The abrasive action of the paste removes plaque and controls the formation of tartar.
The flavor has been chosen to ensure that pets accept and enjoy having their teeth brushed. Use this paste on a regular basis and it will help to get rid of your pet’s mouth odors.
Hundreds of pet owners have rated it very highly, and we agree that it is the best dog toothpaste on the market.