Best Dog Toothpastes

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
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106 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dog toothpastes

Last Updated November 2019

Pet owners spend a lot of time trying to find the best food for their dogs and making sure that they get enough exercise, but it’s easy to overlook your pet’s oral health. If you don’t care for your dog’s teeth, your pooch can develop a host of dental issues that can also affect her overall health.

Just as with people, it’s important to keep your dog’s teeth free from plaque and tartar. The ingredients in human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs, though, so you can’t share your tube of Crest with your best friend.

But if you want to make sure you’re taking the best care of your dog’s teeth, you have to choose the right dog toothpaste. That means knowing what ingredients to look for, deciding whether you need an enzymatic formula, what flavor your dog might prefer, and what other features will make it as easy as possible to brush your dog’s teeth.

If you’re not sure where to start, our shopping guide has all the information necessary to help you find the perfect toothpaste for your four-legged friend. Still feeling confused? Our matrix has specific toothpaste recommendations to make shopping even easier.

Dogs can develop gum disease just like people can. If a problem develops, you’ll usually notice that your pup’s gums are swollen and inflamed.

Key considerations

Ingredients

When you’re choosing a dog toothpaste, check the ingredients list. Unlike human toothpaste, dog toothpaste shouldn’t contain any fluoride. That’s because dogs swallow toothpaste, so fluoride can build up to dangerous levels in a dog’s system. You should also avoid any toothpaste that contains the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is sometimes used in human toothpaste flavoring but is toxic to dogs.

Some ingredients to look for in dog toothpastes are:
 

  • Silica, which can help remove plaque and tartar.
  • Tetrapotassium phosphate and other emulsifiers, which help break down and remove tartar.
  • Sorbitol, which is a dog-safe sweetener that can make a toothpaste’s flavor more appealing to your dog.

Enzymatic formula

Some dog toothpastes contain enzymes like glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase, which help speed up chemical reactions to give the toothpaste antibacterial properties. Enzymatic dog toothpaste can effectively prevent tartar and plaque buildup, and the enzymes are perfectly safe for your dog to ingest.

However, enzymatic toothpastes work best as a preventive measure, so if your dog already has a great deal of plaque and tartar buildup, the toothpaste won’t be able to remove it. Your dog probably needs a professional cleaning to remove the buildup. Then you can keep the tartar and plaque in check with an enzymatic dog toothpaste.

Effective formula in dog-pleasing flavors

The Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste is designed to slow the formation of plaque on your dog’s teeth and has an antibacterial effect to prevent gum disease. It doesn’t have any foaming agents, so you don’t have to worry about Fluffy swallowing it. Most dogs love the poultry flavor, which makes brushing your pet’s teeth much easier. For fresh breath, there’s also a vanilla mint option. We also love that this dog toothpaste doesn’t upset even the most sensitive stomachs.

Features

Flavor

Dog toothpastes are available in a variety of flavors that are designed to make them more appealing to dogs so that brushing your pet’s teeth is easier. Dogs can be pretty picky, though, so you may have to go through some trial and error to find a flavor that your dog enjoys.

Some common dog toothpaste flavors that appeal to a wide range of dogs include poultry, beef, bacon, malt, and peanut butter. While these flavors may entice your dog, they won’t necessarily give the freshest-smelling breath. If you’re concerned about your dog’s breath, some toothpastes are available in mint flavors, though dogs don’t always enjoy formulas that are overly minty. A vanilla-flavored toothpaste may be a better option.

You can also find unflavored dog toothpastes if you don’t think your dog will like any of the available flavors.

Packaging

The packaging for dog toothpaste may not be as important as its ingredients or flavor, but it can play a factor in how easy it is to use. Most formulas are in squeeze tubes just like human toothpaste, so it’s easy to squeeze out the precise amount you need to brush your dog’s teeth.

However, some dog toothpastes come in pen-style tubes with brush-tip applicators. When you twist the bottom of the pen, the paste is dispensed through the brush tip so you can brush the paste or gel directly onto your dog’s teeth. This eliminates the need for a toothbrush or another applicator and cuts down on mess.

Accessories

Some dog toothpastes are available as part of a kit that includes accessories to aid in brushing your dog’s teeth. These include brushes specifically designed to fit a dog’s mouth or rubber applicators that fit on the end of your finger for rubbing the paste over your dog’s teeth. Other kits may include dental scraping tools that allow you to remove tartar and buildup from your dog’s teeth.

DID YOU KNOW?

Even if you can’t brush your dog’s teeth every day, using a dog toothpaste at least three times a week can help control plaque and tartar.

Dog toothpaste prices

Dog toothpaste varies in price based on the size of the tube, the ingredients used, and whether any accessories are included. Most toothpastes range from $3 to $25.

The most budget-friendly dog toothpastes usually come in tubes with less than four ounces of product and contain basic ingredients. They typically don’t include any accessories and cost between $3 and $8. They’re a good option if you’re just starting to brush your dog’s teeth and don’t know what flavor will work best.

Mid-range dog toothpastes usually come in four-ounce tubes and may contain enzymes in addition to basic ingredients. They may also include accessories like a toothbrush, and they cost between $8 and $16.

The most expensive dog toothpastes usually come in tubes with 4 ounces of product or more and contain enzymes in addition to basic ingredients. They usually come with accessories like toothbrushes, and they cost between $16 and $25. They’re a good option if you’ve already found a toothpaste flavor you know your dog enjoys.

CAUTION

In addition to being toxic, toothpaste with fluoride can prevent your dog’s teeth from developing healthy enamel.

Tips

  • It’s best to start using a dog toothpaste on your dog as early as you can. Toothpaste is even safe to use on puppies, so don’t wait until your dog develops a dental problem before brushing his teeth.
  • Help your dog get used to the flavor of dog toothpaste by letting her taste it before you start brushing her teeth.
  • Try to brush your dog’s teeth when he’s in a relaxed, calm mood. He’s more likely to resist if he’s already agitated.
  • If you’re not sure the best way to brush your dog’s teeth, consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can provide instructions on the ideal technique so you’re more comfortable brushing your dog’s teeth at home.
  • Moisten the bristles of the toothbrush you’re using for your dog before applying the toothpaste to it. This helps the paste spread more easily along the teeth and gums.
  • Use gentle, circular motions to brush the toothpaste over your dog’s teeth. You don’t want to irritate the gums by brushing too roughly.
  • If you don’t have a brush or fingertip applicator for your dog toothpaste, you can rub it over your dog’s teeth and gumline with your finger for a quick cleaning job.
EXPERT TIP

If you’re not sure what flavors your dog will like, it’s best to start with small tubes of dog toothpaste so you don’t waste money while you search for a compatible flavor.


Staff  | BestReviews

All-natural and affordable

The Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Toothpaste is ideal for dogs with sensitive stomachs because it contains a soothing blend of natural ingredients. Aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, and baking soda help clean the teeth, while enzymes remove plaque and tartar buildup. While you’ll get the best results with a toothbrush, you can use your finger to apply the paste to make cleaning your pet’s teeth even easier.

Other products we considered

There are plenty of effective dog toothpastes on the market, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding an option that your dog loves. The Vetoquinol Enzadent Enzymatic Toothpaste for Cats and Dogs is an ideal option if you’re looking for an enzymatic formula because it contains three different enzymes. The tasty poultry flavor appeals to most dogs, too. We also love the Oxyfresh Pet Toothpaste for Dogs and Cats because it doesn’t require any brushing. You can simply apply it along your dog’s gumline with a finger or brush to reduce plaque and tartar. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors either, so it’s a good option for picky dogs.

Be sure to have your veterinarian do a dental exam on your dog at least once a year to make sure your dog’s teeth are healthy.

FAQ

Q. How often do I need to use dog toothpaste on my dog?
A.
Most veterinarians recommend brushing your dog’s teeth with canine toothpaste once a day. That can be a tough order, though, particularly if your dog isn’t cooperative when it comes to letting you brush her teeth. However, if your dog eats hard, dry food and snacks on dental chews regularly, the act of chewing can help remove debris from the teeth, so you can usually get away with using dog toothpaste every other day.

Q. Is it okay for my dog to swallow dog toothpaste?
A.
It’s impossible to have your dog rinse toothpaste from his mouth the way people do when they brush their teeth. That’s why you should never use human toothpaste on your dog – he’ll swallow the toxic ingredients that you spit out and rinse away. If you use dog toothpaste, though, the formula contains ingredients that are safe for your pet to ingest, so you don’t have to worry about Fido swallowing the toothpaste when you brush his teeth.

Q. Can dog toothpaste cause an upset stomach?
A.
While the ingredients in dog toothpaste are safe for your dog to consume, that doesn’t mean they won’t irritate her stomach the way any food might. In particular, abrasive ingredients like silica and baking soda may cause issues like vomiting or diarrhea by irritating your dog’s stomach.

The team that worked on this review
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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