I recently wrote a post containing tips on brushing your dog’s teeth at home. Within that guide, I touched briefly upon choosing the right toothpaste for your dog but since this is an important subject, I wanted to create a post that places a deeper focus on it.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is a really important part of caring for your pet but it’s essential that you have the right tools and products. In this guide, you’ll learn about the importance of choosing the right toothpaste for your dog as well as what to look out for when buying.
- Dental hygeine and care is a key aspect of a dogs pet health plan.
- Avoid using human toothpaste, always choose pet specific products.
- There are various different flavours available.
- Choosing the correct toothpaste with the best ingredients is vital.
Understanding Your Dog’s Oral Health
Humans brush their teeth twice a day (at least, most of us do!) But when it comes to dogs, a lot of pet owners are unaware of the importance of maintaining good dental health.
Without regular teeth brushing, your dog is at risk of developing a buildup of plaque which can lead to dental disease. What’s more, common problems like bad breath will be a thing of the past when your dog has excellent dental health.
If the teeth are not well maintained, you may notice symptoms like bleeding gums, teeth falling out or your dog may appear to be in pain due to exposed roots. These are all things we want to avoid as pet owners so getting into the habit of brushing twice a day is something you should start now.
You wouldn’t scrimp on your own dental health so it’s vital you offer the same concern for that of your dog.
Importance Of Choosing The Right Toothpaste
It can be tempting to pop into the bathroom as grab that tube or Oral B or Aquafresh and go to town on your dog’s teeth. While you might do this with the best intentions, those products likely contain a lot of ingredients that are no good for your dog.
When pet owners learn that ingredients like fluoride can actually be toxic to their pets, they soon realise the importance of choosing the right toothpaste for their dogs.
One of the main things to worry about when a dog has too much fluoride is a condition known as skeletal fluorosis. This causes a build up of fluoride in the body and can be debilitating for your dog. However, since the symptoms are so similar to those of arthritis, the condition is often misdiagnosed.
Consider Your Dog’s Age And Size
Different life stages mean different types of care for your dog and while this isn’t a massive consideration when choosing a toothpaste, it certainly comes into play.
You’ll notice that there are a lot of puppy toothpastes on the market and I’ve seen a lot of good starter kits that include a toothpaste and either a brush or a little thimble that acts as a finger brush.
In any case, when purchasing toothpaste for your puppy, it can be helpful to choose a product that’s been specially designed for younger dogs. What’s more, I cannot stress enough the importance of starting teeth brushing at as early an age as possible. For starters, this will get your dog accustomed to having his teeth brushed but will also ensure excellent dental health from day one.
Dental disease is more common in dogs over the age of five so brushing their teeth as an adult is super important. You can use any toothpaste designed for dogs but should always avoid toothpastes made for humans as these contain harmful ingredients such as fluoride and xylitol.
Ingredients To Look For
We all want the best dental care for our dogs and one of the ways of ensuring that is by choosing a toothpaste with beneficial ingredients.
Enzymatic toothpastes are ideal for dogs and come highly recommended by vets. These toothpastes contain enzymes which will help to reduce bacteria build up in the mouth, especially around the gumline where bacteria thrive. This will reduce problems with bad breath and will prevent a build-up of tartar.
Fluoride is not a safe ingredient for dogs. As I discussed earlier, too much fluoride can result in crippling disease and can cause issues such as gastric disorders. Therefore, when choosing a suitable toothpaste for your dog, double check the ingredients list and if it contains fluoride, put it back on the shelf!
Ingredients To Avoid
There are some ingredients that should not be included in dog toothpaste so be sure to check the packaging. If any of the following are listed, the toothpaste isn’t suitable for your pet.
When you purchase human toothpaste, it will often contain an ingredient called xylitol which is a type of artificial sweetener. While this doesn’t cause any issues for us, it can be devastating for your dog as it is toxic. If your dog does ingest xylitol, symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, a lack of coordination, staggering and even seizures could occur.
Some dog toothpastes contain alcohol and this ingredient is intended to kill bacteria. While it does this effectively, it can also kill off any good bacteria. Moreover, using alcohol-containing products over the long term may result in drying of the gums and irritation which is no fun for your pet.
Toothpaste Flavours Your Dog Might Love
The joy of choosing a toothpaste for your dog is that you can pick something that you know he’ll love the taste of. Dog toothpastes come in a massive range of delicious flavours including beef, chicken, liver and even seafood.
Of course, it really depends on your dog’s personal preference and you may want to try several flavours to find their favourite. But it’s a great idea to pick something they love because this will encourage them to let you brush their teeth with ease and much more complience.
Dog’s love food and they love getting a treat when they do something right. In many cases, your dog will see the taste of the toothpaste as a reward all of its own.
Consulting Your Vet
If you ever find yourself in any doubt as to the best toothpaste for your dog then it’s a wise idea to contact your vet. What’s more, they’ll be able to offer you advice on things like how to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing and the importance of good dental health for your dog’s overall well being.
I would recommend having an annual check up for your dog’s teeth where your vet will be able to identify and treat any problems. They’ll also be able to recommend products for maintaining a good dental care plan.
Pros and Cons of Teeth Brushing in Dogs
As a vet, I believe that regular teeth brushing can be beneficial for the majority of pets, although like anything, there are also pros and cons to consider.
Popular Dog Dental Toothpaste’s Comparison Table
Last update on 2024-02-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Can I use regular toothpaste for my dog’s teeth?
No. You cannot use regular human toothpaste for dogs as this often contains ingredients that could be toxic or harmful to your pet.
What is the best toothpaste for dogs recommended by vets?
If you speak to your vet, they will always tell you that the best toothpaste for dogs is an enzymatic toothpaste. Without those important enzymes, you might as well not be brushing your dog’s teeth at all.
Is homemade toothpaste safe for dogs?
If you make a natural toothpaste at home that contains baking soda then this is perfectly acceptable to use for your dog. As long as the product does not contain any ingredients that may be harmful to your pet then you’re good to go! Homemade toothpaste containing baking soda has several benefits including freshening the breath and killing bacteria in between the teeth and around the gumline.
What are the benefits of using enzymatic toothpaste for dogs?
Enzymatic toothpaste is designed to reduce a build-up of bacteria which in turn, prevents tartar build-up. Moreover, these toothpastes can help to eliminate bad breath which is great news for stinky pooches.
Which brands of dog toothpaste are recommended by vets?
Every vet will have a different preference when it comes to the best brand of dog toothpaste. However, many agree that Ceva Logic Oral Hygiene Gel and Virbac Enzymatic toothpaste are both excellent options.
Is it necessary for dogs to use a specific toothpaste?
Yes. It’s essential that your pet uses an enzymatic toothpaste designed specifically for dogs. These products contain dog-friendly ingredients and no harmful toxins that could be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Being a 5th year Vet student and having a passion for improving the health and welfare of all animals, I am providing AblePaws.co.uk with a veterinary perspective / insight into the real word applications, including strengths and limitations of the products it reviews. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the pet products reviewed on the site to keep your pet mobile, comfortable and full of life!