Brushing your teeth is probably part of your daily routine.
You brush your teeth in the morning after breakfast and once more before bed. But what about your dog? Do you brush his teeth after each meal?
Many dog owners fail to recognize the importance of dental hygiene for dogs. If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth, you may be shocked to learn that you are greatly increasing his chances for gum disease in the coming years. Gum disease may not sound serious, but it can lead to inflammation, tooth loss, and even bone damage.
Brushing your dog’s teeth may not be the most pleasant of tasks, but it is something you should really think about doing if you want what is best for your dog. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of dental hygiene for dogs and to learn how to brush your dog’s teeth.
You’ll also find our top 10 picks for the best dog toothpaste.
Here are our top 10 picks for the best Dog Toothpastes:
#10 Ortz Dog Toothpaste and Toothbrush Set
For an all-in-one dog tooth brushing solution, try this Ortz Dog Toothpaste and Toothbrush Set. This set comes with a dual-sided toothbrush with a long, curved handle so you can reach all of your dog’s teeth with ease. It also comes with two finger brushes with bristles of different lengths so you can use whatever brush your dog is most comfortable with. The toothbrush your dog will tolerate is the best toothbrush to use.
In addition to an assortment of dog toothbrushes, this kit also comes with Ortz Pet Toothpaste. This toothpaste is easy to use and formulated both to clean teeth and freshen breath. Simply apply a little of the toothpaste to your choice of toothbrush and use it to clean your dog’s teeth. The product is made from pet-safe materials and there is no rinsing required.
Pros: Comes with multiple toothbrushes, easy to use, safe for pets, cleans teeth and freshens breath
Cons: Some dogs dislike the flavor
#9 BlueStem Oral Care Dog Toothpaste
If you’re ready to start brushing your dog’s teeth for the first time, this BlueStem Oral Care Dog Toothpaste and Toothbrush kit is a great place to start. This kit comes with a unique dual-head toothbrush so you can brush both sides of your dog’s teeth in one simple motion. Just add a little bit of the BlueStem toothpaste and you are ready to go.
This BlueStem Oral Care Dog Toothpaste is scientifically formulated to fight plaque and tartar while also freshening your dog’s breath. It features coactive+ technology which is a unique blend of food-grade ingredients that break down biofilm, that covering on your dog’s teeth where disease-causing bacteria multiple. This toothpaste is not only highly effective, but it is also very safe. It is free from alcohol, xylitol, and sugar as well as surfactants and detergents. All your dog will notice is the chicken flavor and you’ll notice his fresh breath and clean teeth.
Pros: Made from food-grade ingredients, no alcohol or sugar, comes with a dual-head toothbrush, appealing chicken flavor, freshens breath, protects against plaque and tartar
Cons: Some dogs dislike the flavor, toothbrush may take time to get used to
#8 TropiClean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel
Some dogs simply do not like having their teeth brushed, as much as you try to get them used to it. Rather than simply giving up on your dog’s dental hygiene, try something like this TropiClean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel. This gel is veterinarian-recommended for removing plaque and tartar to help prevent dental disease. It is easy to use and you don’t even need a toothbrush or toothpaste.
This TropiClean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel is a unique formula that can be used daily. Simply add two drops of the gel to each side of your dog’s mouth and it will mix with his saliva for even distribution. It comes in a delicious peanut butter flavor and it helps freshen your dog’s breath. You’ll also be glad to know that it is made in the USA.
Pros: Removes and defends against plaque and tartar, freshens breath, delicious peanut butter flavor, no brushing required, safe for daily use, easy to apply
Cons: May not be as effective as brushing, contains artificial flavor
#7 Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Toothpaste
If you’re looking for a dog toothpaste that does more than just clean your dog’s teeth, try this Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Toothpaste. This toothpaste doesn’t just clean plaque from your dog’s teeth, it actually helps to prevent plaque and tartar from forming. It is a non-foaming formula and it comes in a delicious chicken flavor your dog is sure to love.
This Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Toothpaste comes in a 3-pack so you will always have it on hand. It offers enzymatic benefits to tackle plaque and tartar at the source and it is effective when used at least twice a week. In addition to cleaning and protecting your dog’s teeth, it also freshens his breath so you will be glad to accept his kisses. As an added bonus, this toothpaste also helps protect against ringworm.
Pros: Enzymatic formula prevents plaque and tartar, cleans teeth and freshens breath, comes in a pack of 3, chicken flavor for palatability, protects against ringworm
Cons: Some dogs dislike the flavor, contains artificial flavor and sweetener
#6 EZ Dog Pet Toothpaste
If you’re looking for a good introductory toothpaste for your dog, this EZ Dog Pet Toothpaste is a great option. Not only is it highly affordable, but it comes in small tubes, so you don’t have to worry about it going bad if you’re only able to use a little at a time. This toothpaste offers triple action to clean teeth, promote healthy gums, and prevent tartar buildup. Simply put, it freshens your dog’s mouth from the inside to keep it clean and healthy.
This EZ Dog Pet Toothpaste is very easy to use – simply squeeze a little onto your dog toothbrush and you’re ready to go. The formula is suitable for dogs of all breeds and ages, including puppies, and it will freshen your dog’s breath in addition to cleaning his teeth. It has a pleasant vanilla flavor and it is sweetened with Stevia instead of added sugars.
Pros: Delicious vanilla flavor, naturally sweetened with stevia, freshens breath, cleans teeth and prevents tartar buildup, safe for all breeds and ages
Cons: Some dogs don’t like the flavor, consistency may be a little watery
#5 Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Toothpaste
This Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Toothpaste comes in a complete kit with a dual-head toothbrush so you can start brushing your dog’s teeth right away. The toothpaste is made with natural ingredients to improve rather than detracting from your dog’s dental health, reducing tartar buildup and whitening his teeth. It also freshens his breath, making it a great product all-around.
Easy for first-time brushers, this Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Toothpaste features a tasty chicken flavor your dog will love. It is infused with baking soda as well, so it is gentle but effective in cleaning teeth for dogs of all ages – even puppies. Plus, your satisfaction is guaranteed so you can return it if you aren’t completely satisfied.
Pros: Made with natural ingredients, cleans teeth and freshens breath, reduces tartar buildup, whitens teeth, easy to use, infused with baking soda, safe for puppies
Cons: Contains sweeteners, some dogs dislike the flavor
#4 Nylabone Tartar Control Toothpaste
Brought to you by one of the most popular dog toy companies, this Nylabone Tartar Control Toothpaste is a great option to support your dog’s oral hygiene. This toothpaste offers advanced oral care benefits by not only cleaning your dog’s teeth, but by reducing plaque and tartar buildup as well. The formula naturally inhibits bacteria but it has a tasty peanut flavor that your dog will enjoy. This toothpaste is made with Denta-C as well, which is scientifically proven to tackle plaque-causing bacteria and the toothpaste will leave your dog with clean teeth, healthy gums, and fresh breath to boot. You can also pair this toothpaste with Nylabone chews to maintain your dog’s clean teeth and fresh breath.
Pros: Made with Denta-C to inhibit bacteria, cleans teeth and freshens breath, taste peanut flavor, easy to apply, highly affordable
Cons: Some dogs dislike the flavor
#3 Vet’s Best Dental Gel Toothpaste
If your dog has sensitive gums, this Vet’s Best Dental Gel Toothpaste might be a good choice. It gently cleans away plaque and tartar while also cleaning your dog’s teeth and freshening his breath. It is a soothing enzymatic formula that contains a blend of aloe, neem oil, and grapefruit extract as well as baking soda and natural enzymes.
With the included triple-head toothbrush, this Vet’s Best Dental Gel Toothpaste is easy to use and it will clean your dog’s teeth from all angles at once while also leaving his breath fresh. Plus, it is naturally flavored and formulated to whiten and brighten your dog’s teeth the more often you use it.
Pros: Gently cleans away plaque and tartar, freshens breath, whitens and brightens teeth, comes with triple-head toothbrush, made with natural ingredients
Cons: Some dogs dislike the flavor, toothbrush may take time to get used to
#2 Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste
Available in several different flavors, this Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste does more than just clean your dog’s teeth. It features an enzymatic formula which not only cleans teeth, but inhibits plaque formation by killing bacteria on the surface.
This toothpaste helps eliminate bad breath as well and, because it contains no foaming agents, it doesn’t require rinsing and it is safe for your dog to swallow. Choose from beef, poultry, seafood, malt, or vanilla-mint flavor according to your dog’s preferences.
Pros: Enzymatic formula inhibits plaque formation, cleans teeth, freshens breath, available in several different flavors, non-foaming formula safe to swallow, no rinsing required
Cons: Some dogs don’t like the flavor, contains sweetener
#1 Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
Easily one of the most popular dog toothpastes on the market, Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs is also one of the best. This formula is specifically designed for pets, so you don’t have to worry about any unsafe ingredients. Not only does it clean your dog’s teeth, but it also freshens his breath so you’ll be happy to receive any kisses he wants to give you.
This Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs features an enzymatic formula that helps protect against plaque and tartar buildup. It has a tasty poultry flavor that your dog will love as well, so brushing his teeth will seem like less of a chore. This toothpaste comes in a non-foaming formula so it does the work of cleaning your dog’s teeth, but there is no rinsing required. Plus, it will not only clean your dog’s teeth but polish them as well.
Pros: Enzymatic formula protects against plaque and tartar, tasty poultry flavor, freshens breath and cleans teeth, no rinsing required, non-foaming formula
Cons: Contains sweeteners, some dogs dislike the flavor
As a child, you probably learned to brush your teeth on a daily basis. By now, it is probably a daily habit that you don’t think much about.
But do you brush your dog’s teeth as often as you brush your own?
If you aren’t brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, you could be setting him up for gum disease and other dental problems down the line. You may be shocked to learn that most dogs and cats have some degree of periodontal disease by the time they are three.
Even if you don’t think your dog is at-risk for dental problems, it’s worth talking to your veterinarian to find out for sure. You may be surprised to see what’s actually going on in your dog’s mouth.
Keep reading to learn more about dental disease in dogs and how to prevent it by brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis.
The Basics About Periodontal Disease in Dogs
Most dog owners don’t pay a lot of attention to their dog’s teeth. Unfortunately, that can be a costly mistake. Gum disease may not start with any outward signs, but it can become very advanced and, before you know it, your dog may end up losing some of his teeth to the disease.
As is true for humans, dental disease is typically caused by bacteria.
When your dog eats, the food mixes with his saliva as well as bacteria and other particles which form a sticky film over his teeth called plaque. Unfortunately, plaque is a substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign. So, if you don’t clean away the plaque the immune system will send out white blood cells to attack it.
What happens then is that the white blood cells start releasing enzymes which end up accidentally breaking down gum tissue. This leads to inflammation which, if left untreated, can lead to further gum damage, loss of teeth, and even damage to the bone.
Here is an overview of the four stages of periodontal disease in dogs:
Stage 1 – Mild redness or inflammation of the gums. A cleaning above and below the gum line is adequate to treat the problem.
Stage 2 – Periodontal pockets have formed between the gum and tooth without any significant bone involvement. The gums as well as the tooth root need to be cleaned and treated.
Stage 3 – The periodontal pockets have formed deeper than 5mm which means some degree of bone loss has occurred. A deeper cleaning and possible tooth extraction may be required.
Stage 4 – Bone loss is over 50% and the only option now is tooth extraction.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is five times as common in dogs as it is in humans, but it is just as easy to prevent with frequent cleanings.
But what are the symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs? Here are a few:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Problems picking up food
- Blood in the water bowl or on toys
- Halitosis, or bad breath
- Making noises when eating
- Ropey or bloody saliva
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Frequent sneezing
- Nasal discharge
By the time you notice any of the symptoms above, your dog’s gums and teeth may have already sustained damage. The first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian about a professional cleaning and get started immediately with a regular schedule for brushing your dog’s teeth.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
The idea of brushing your dog’s teeth may seem silly, but it is important to maintain his dental health.
So, how exactly do you brush your dog’s teeth? Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Get your dog used to having his mouth and teeth touched – first use your fingers and then get him used to the toothbrush (use a little peanut butter if it helps).
2. Choose a calm time to start brushing your dog’s teeth – don’t try to do it when the kids are running around and your dog is all riled up.
3. Select a location with good lighting in a place where your dog feels comfortable – it should also be a place where you can easily restrain him.
4. Have someone hold your dog (if necessary) and gently lift his top lip to expose the top row of teeth.
5. Add a small amount of toothpaste to your dog toothbrush and rub gently against the top row of teeth – brush the front of each tooth while praising your dog.
6. Move the toothbrush further back into your dog’s mouth, brushing the sides and back of the teeth as much as you can.
7. Add a little more toothpaste to the brush and start working on your dog’s bottom row of teeth, starting with the front and moving to the back.
8. Give your dog plenty of praise when you’re finished and let him have a tasty dental treat.
Be aware that some dogs simply do not like having their teeth touched, so it may take some time for you to move from the initial stages into being able to brush all of your dog’s teeth at once. Start by brushing just a few teeth at a time, as many as your dog will let you, and work your way up as he becomes more comfortable with the process.
Other Tips for Maintaining Your Dog’s Dental Health
As you’ve already learned, gum disease often doesn’t show any signs in the early stages so, once you notice it, it could be quite advanced. While pain is one of the most common complications of gum disease in dogs, it can also lead to more serious problems like bone damage which may increase your dog’s risk for jaw injuries.
In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth, here are some tips for maintaining his oral hygiene:
Make sure your dog gets regular oral exams and cleanings – he may need X-rays to check for damage to the bone.
Choose a high-quality dog food for your dog – kibble is generally best because chewing helps to scrape plaque off your dog’s teeth.
Make sure your dog has plenty of safe chew toys like rubber balls, rope toys, and rawhide strips – just be sure to take the toy away if your dog chews it to pieces.
Try feeding your dog dental treats on a daily basis to help keep his teeth clean between brushings.
Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water – it helps keep him hydrated in addition to supporting his oral health.
Brushing your dog’s teeth should be a habit just like brushing your own teeth. Once you learn how to do it and your dog gets used to it, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time, but it will make a big difference for your dog’s dental health.