Recommending a particular toothpaste for dogs is difficult, because several factors bear consideration for each dog. The best toothpaste is not only one that will clean your dog's teeth safely and effectively, but also one that your dog likes.
Dog toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors. If your dog has a sweet tooth, he might like a sweet-tasting toothpaste like vanilla or peanut butter. Mint-flavored toothpastes are good if your objective is to freshen your dog's breath, but he might prefer a savory toothpaste that tastes like food, such as chicken or beef. Some dogs will turn their noses up at ingredients like baking soda, alcohol or citrus flavors. The important thing is to find a toothpaste that your dog likes so he'll be more likely to cooperate as you brush his teeth.
Ease of Use
Another important factor in determining the best toothpaste for your dog is whether it's easy to use. A paste or gel that's made to be swallowed and doesn't require rinsing is generally best. If a toothpaste is messy and difficult to use, chances are you'll be less likely to clean your dog's teeth on a consistent basis.
Enzymatic toothpaste contains a combination of glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase. Glucose oxidase is a chemical that creates hydrogen peroxide when applied to the dog's teeth. On its own, the hydrogen peroxide is good for killing bacteria and reducing tarter buildup, and it also interacts with the lactoperoxidase to activate enzymes that kill microorganisms, providing your dog with a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.
One type of toothpaste that is never recommended for dogs is human toothpaste that contains fluoride. Dogs will inevitably swallow any toothpaste you use on them, and fluoride can lead to gastrointestinal problems. In large amounts, it can be toxic. Another ingredient that requires caution is xylitol, a sweetening agent that can cause a sharp drop in your dog's blood-sugar if ingested in larger doses than recommended. This could cause weakness and seizures, and even lead to liver failure. If your dog eats a large amount of toothpaste containing xylitol, you should consult your veterinarian right away, or call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images