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When your pooch needs toothpaste (or any other care item), there are two things you can do.
Go online or walk into a shop and get ANY canine toothpaste that seems to fit the bill.
Or get a vet recommended dog toothpaste that has at least one clinical study behind it.Of course, we advocate the latter approach, which is why we decided to put together a list of best vet-vetted (pun intended!) pooch toothpaste picks!
Veterinarians know what works best for different breeds because they understand the oral health challenges of dogs. However, note that there isn’t a universally best dog toothpaste. As a rule, it will vary from one dog to another.
Our best overall pick of vet-recommended dog toothpaste is the Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste. Our in-depth review of Petsmile dog toothpastes showed that the brand is highly recommended by many veterinarians because of studies that have proven its effectiveness.
The Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste ensures excellent oral health while also providing long-lasting fresh breath to your companion. But read on to find more products that may be even better suited to your needs.
This article also highlights the most important things to consider when looking for dog toothpaste. So, make sure to read through even if you’re not currently looking for this product! Knowledge doesn’t hurt, as they say.
Related post: How To Brush a Dog’s Teeth (That Hates Being Brushed!)
Top 6 Vet Recommended Dog Toothpaste Picks Reviewed
Best Overall – Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste
The Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste is approved and recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). It has gone through three independent clinical studies which were required by VOHC before they approved it.
Kudos for the company, you may think. But what’s in it for you?
Suffice it to say that VOHC has demanding criteria to be met before they put their stamp of approval on any products.
The toothpaste uses Petsmile’s exclusive Calprox formula. Calprox is effective in removing plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth WITHOUT being abrasive like silica. As an added plus, you don’t need to brush the dog’s teeth. It loosens the plaque on the teeth which then comes off on its own. You just need a finger applicator to rub the toothpaste onto the dog’s teeth and that’s it.
So if you need to clean a dog’s teeth without brushing, this toothpaste can be used two to three times a week to ensure excellent oral health.
Also, the toothpaste does not contain sulfates, fluoride, or parabens, among other ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. The toothpaste flavor is London broil which is very appealing to dogs. Not only do vets recommend it but their approval is seconded by customers who find Petsmile professional toothpaste easy to use and very effective.
It is expensive but considering its efficacy compared to other products on the market, it is great value for the money. It is available in a 4.5-ounce toothpaste tube. The ingredients can separate during storage so before use, make sure that you shake the tube to mix everything again.
Best Premium Option – Virbac Enzymatic Toothpaste
Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste is highly recommended by veterinarians because it contains a specially formulated dual enzyme system that effectively combats plaque and tartar buildup. The enzyme system also kills off harmful bacteria in the mouth that can impact the dogs’ cardiac health.
Owners of picky eaters can choose from in five flavors: Vanilla-mint, poultry, seafood, beef, and malt. These are ingredients that have been demonstrated to be a hit with canine friends and are well accepted by the animals. The toothpaste is available in 70 g (2.5 oz) tubes. However, the poultry flavor also comes in 12 g trial packets.
This toothpaste contains no fluoride or foaming agents which makes it safe for your dog to swallow during brushing. And since dogs can’t rinse and spit, that is a HUGE plus.
Veterinarians recommend using this toothpaste with a soft bristle toothbrush and you can use it every day because the taste is appealing to dogs. The toothpaste has an abrasive texture. That is why they recommend using a soft-bristled brush to mitigate the abrasiveness of the toothpaste.
Keep in mind, though, thart Virbac C.E.T enzymatic dog toothpaste is brown so it can stain clothing and upholstery. It is also soft and will get into the ridges on the dog’s teeth for an effective clean. Using this enzymatic toothpaste will result in noticeably whiter and cleaner teeth.
However, it has been reported to go bad quickly so ensure that you use it consistently once bought. It is made in the United States.
Best Budget Option – Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
This toothpaste offers excellent enzymatic activity for your dog’s teeth, at a very affordable price tag and in a sizeable amount.
Compared to other vet-recommended toothpaste reviewed on our list, Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs comes in a 6.2 oz tube at a similar price as a tube of the above Virbac C.E.T Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste which comes in a tube of 2.5 oz.
The toothpaste features an enzymatic formula of proven veterinary strength made from hydrogen peroxide. The formula works fast and effectively on plaque and tartar, preventing and controlling them. It is available in poultry flavor.
The ability of toothpaste to work fast on tartar and plaque is the main reason why vets recommend this toothpaste. Plus, it can save you a lot if you have a multi-dog household. The toothpaste comes as a 2 pack of 2.5 oz each or one pack with a 6.2 oz tube.
For the best results, use it with a soft-bristled brush two to three times a week. It is non-foaming and contains safe ingredients so your dog can swallow it. You may have to contend with the lingering scent of poultry on your dog’s breath but it is not a deal-breaker for most dog parents.
Best All-Natural Dog Toothpaste – KISSABLE Dog Dental Kit
Natural products are preferable when it comes to the health of your companion.
And that is especially true of toothpaste because it’s very likely that your dog will swallow some of it.
This KISSABLE dog toothpaste is safe for brushing your dog’s teeth because it contains natural products. It is made with cucumber mint, tea tree oil, and vanilla. The combination smells great leaving your dog with fresh breath.
Even better, this is actually a full-blown dental kit that also includes TWO toothbrushes: one regular, and another for finger brushing.
Because the toothpaste is made with mostly natural ingredients, your dog can swallow it and no rinsing is required. The trend of using natural products with canine companions is a result of the many dangerous and harmful chemical ingredients that find their way into hygiene products that dogs ingest, including toothpaste.
It is available in one or two packs of 2.5 oz tubes. In addition to fighting bacteria and keeping plaque at bay, this toothpaste also promotes healthy gums.
You will notice that it also contains tetrapotassium phosphate and tetrasodium which are the key ingredients in removing plaque and tartar. The tea tree oil helps heal any mouth wounds and promotes healthy gums.
Truth be told, tea tree in large quantities can be toxic to dogs, but the amount used in this toothpaste is so small it is insignificant in the dog’s body. No dog parent using this product has ever reported their companion was poisoned by this toothpaste.
Best for Gum Disease – Arm & Hammer Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste
Dogs with gum disease are sensitive so you need to approach their oral hygiene care with sensitivity and caution.
The Arm & HammerClinical Gum Enzymatic Toothpaste is not only safe but also gentle on the dog’s mouth. It contains baking soda and enzyme-fighting formula to fight tartar. The baking soda also helps with whitening the teeth. As dogs age, their teeth tend to discolor and lose their whiteness. But with this toothpaste, your dog will maintain white teeth.
It comes in a tube of 2.5 oz and is available in poultry flavor. The bloody discharge and drool from the dog’s gums and mouth can contribute to bad breath. But the toothpaste has a gentle mint flavor that lingers leaving your dog with fresh breath.
The enzymes break up the plaque and tartar reducing the number of bacteria in the dog’s mouth. That helps keep periodontal disease at bay and also prevents tooth decay and bad breath. A dog with sensitive and bleeding gums is less likely to be happy about brushing their teeth so they develop bad breath. This toothpaste is clinically approved to help keep a dog’s gums healthy and prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Best for Puppies – Nylabone Puppy Dental Kit
Just like human beings, beginning oral care for puppies is beneficial to their dental teeth as they mature. Start early and establish the right dental care and routine that your pup will enjoy for the rest of its life.
Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Puppy Dental Kit offers a puppy-friendly toothpaste that contains the brand’s proprietary Denta-C.
Denta-C has been proven scientifically to reduce tartar and plaque, and in the process, destroys the bacteria in the pup’s mouth. The toothpaste is also excellent for freshening breath as well.
It comes with an angled puppy toothbrush to make the process easier and more effective. The combination of great-tasting toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush ensures that your puppy’s mouth is clean and fresh.
This Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Puppy Dental Kit is approved by both vets and pet parents because of its efficacy, ease of use, and excellent original flavor. It is available in a 2.5 oz tube.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Canine Toothpaste
Human toothpaste typically features a minty flavor. It is easy to assume the same may apply to dogs but luckily, it doesn’t.
Your dog will enjoy brushing teeth with poultry or beef flavored toothpaste. Some dog toothpaste comes with vanilla or mint options which some dogs are agreeable to.
While beef or poultry flavored toothpaste sounds disagreeable to humans, the dog doesn’t recoil from these flavors as they would an all-minty flavored toothpaste. It is easier to introduce the beef/poultry flavored toothpaste into the dog’s routine because they think it is another meaty treat.
You know how they say: if you can’t talk them into it, trick them into it!
When looking for dog toothpaste make sure that you read the ingredients and instructions on use carefully to avoid harmful ingredients.
When buying dog toothpaste look out for safe and effective ingredients like Calprox, or natural ingredients like coconut oil or cinnamon. Silica is a typical ingredient in most dog toothpaste because of its abrasive nature which helps to scrape off the tartar and plaque during brushing. The toothpaste also contains emulsifiers that break down the plaque and tartar so that can be brushed away.
Enzymatic dog toothpaste will likely contain enzymes like lactoperoxidase or glucose oxidase (or both). They are used to minimize the growth of harmful microorganisms like bacteria in the mouth while at the same time preventing the build-up of tartar and plaque.
Some people like to make homemade toothpaste out of baking soda and water. The gentle abrasiveness of the baking soda is effective against plaque. But your dog may not enjoy the taste.
Unsafe ingredients that you need to look out for include alcohol, among other things. Alcohol will kill bacteria in the mouth but it kills bacteria indiscriminately including the good bacteria that is useful during digestion. Also, long-term use of alcohol irritates and dries the gums of your dog.
Also avoid toothpaste with artificial sweetener, color, flavor, and preservatives. These have been linked to behavioral problems, dog cancers, long-term reproductive issues, allergies, and even organ toxicity. Fluoride is also linked to cancer and Sodium Hexametaphosphate is responsible for lead contamination.
Buy small first
Allow your dog to sample a few flavors and figure out which one they like best. Some dogs love the vanilla or minty dog toothpaste more than the meat flavors.
(It may sound unlikely, but it’s true. Take it from the dog’s mouth! Simba, one of my two Akitas, is quite fond of minty stuff!)
You will notice most dog toothpaste comes in various sizes. That allows you to buy small and introduce your dog to the flavor before investing in a bigger size. In case your dog doesn’t like the flavor, you will not have spent too much on a bigger tube of toothpaste.
Choose the right toothbrush
Dog toothpaste gives best results when used with a pet-specific toothbrush. Some brands of toothpaste come with their own toothbrushes but you can also buy a separate toothbrush from a pet store. Some people prefer to use children’s brushes but experts say that human toothbrushes can be too stiff to use on dogs.
Throw out old toothbrushes as they get worn out and do not use your old toothbrushes either. The bristles will not be effective in giving a thorough clean. There are several toothbrush options on the market from dual heads to soft bristles. Sample each and see what your furry friend is comfortable using.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is enzymatic toothpaste popular?
Enzymatic toothpaste contains enzymes that help to kill bacteria and reduce their effect. That lessens the presence of bacteria that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and a myriad of other health issues to the dog. It works fast and effectively to remove plaque and tartar and that is why it is so popular.
Is it safe to use human toothpaste on dogs?
No. You should NEVER use human toothpaste on your dog. Most human-based toothpaste contains xylitol which is a sweetener. Unfortunately, xylitol is extremely toxic to canines and can a myriad of life-threatening symptoms like
- Liver failure
Xylitol stimulates the excessive and rapid production of insulin from the pancreas in dogs. The excess insulin in the dog’s system results in low blood sugar levels within 10 to 60 minutes of ingesting the xylitol.
If the hypoglycemia goes untreated for long it will result in a companion’s death. Using human toothpaste over an extended period can result in gradual xylitol poisoning. Watch out for the following symptoms in your dog if you have brushed their teeth using human toothpaste:
- Difficulty in standing or walking and general lack of coordination
- Comatose state
If you notice ANY of these symptoms, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
How to choose the right toothpaste for your dog?
Your dog is the one that will use the toothpaste so it is only fair that you let your companion choose the toothpaste. Let your dog taste several flavors and brands and see what your furry friend loves the most. Do not assume that just because toothpaste has a meat flavor the dog will automatically love it. Let your dog take the lead in finding a toothpaste that they like and you will find something that works.
Of course, we recommend providing high-quality samples like the ones reviewed above so that your dog enjoys the best oral care available on the market.
Dog’s breath can be VERY unpleasant.
(And that’s an understatement!)
It helps to know that the toothpaste you are using is not only effective but also recommended by experts. That guarantees that you are giving your pet the safest and most efficient oral health care available to it. Now, doggy kisses cease to be cringeworthy affairs.
Your dog trusts you to make the right and best decisions for it. Do that by being careful about choice of toothpaste for your dog. Go with these vet recommended option and you won’t go wrong.
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API