Table of Contents
- Caring for your dog’s teeth is as important as other preventative care, and will keep your pet from developing related health conditions.
- Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is key to their oral health.
- You can save money and trips to the store by making your own homemade dog toothpaste, with just a few ingredients you may already have on hand.
If your dog has bad breath, it’s more than just an annoyance when he plants a wet, sloppy kiss on your face. It could be a sign of decay and poor oral health that can be addressed with teeth cleaning.
While often neglected, dental health is important for dogs, especially for seniors. Just like humans, dogs can develop periodontal disease, cavities, and inflammation or ulcers of the mouth. Dental diseases can lead to other conditions that can drastically reduce a dog’s quality of life, which include secondary infections in the blood, a weakened immune system, and susceptibility to disease and illness. At the very least, dental problems can lead to chronic pain and difficulty eating.
And besides hygiene and health benefits, teeth cleaning has the added bonus of giving your dog fresher-smelling breath.
Experts say ideally we should brush our dog’s teeth every day or even twice a day. If that seems unrealistic, aim for two or three times a week to keep your pooch’s chompers and gums clean and healthy.
Whatever you do, don’t use human toothpaste for the task. Human toothpaste is dangerous for dogs and contains ingredients, such as Xylitol, that can make them ill and cause issues with their kidneys and liver.
You can buy toothpaste made specifically for dogs or make homemade dog toothpaste, which is easy, has few ingredients that you may already have on hand, and takes only a few minutes.
And in this time of quarantine, Do-It-Yourself toothpaste allows you to avoid additional trips to the store, saves you some money, and makes for an easy home project.
By DIY doggie toothpaste, you can ensure it has only natural, healthy ingredients and no chemicals. It’s also more earth-friendly, as you are reducing the plastic packaging waste and shipping emissions that come with store-bought brands.
Ingredients you can use in homemade dog toothpaste:
- Baking soda as an exfoliate
- Coconut oil
- Flavorings such as beef or chicken bouillon, mint, parsley, cinnamon, cloves or peanut butter
Five Toothpaste Recipes for Dogs
Toothpaste Recipe with coconut oil from K9 Instinct
- 1 cup of unrefined, virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of kelp
- 1/8 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
- Place one cup of coconut oil in a hot water bath to make it soft and pliable.
- Add the turmeric, kelp and parsley flakes.
- Mix thoroughly, store in fridge between uses.
Natural toothpaste for dogs, no coconut oil from Organic Authority
- 6 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cube of beef bouillon (or vegetable for a vegan version)
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon water
- Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl, adding a bit more water if necessary, to make a paste.
- Store in an airtight container.
Four-ingredient homemade toothpaste from Dog Notebook
- 1 cube of beef bouillon
- Baking soda
- Cinnamon oil
- Take one regular size mixing bowl and dissolve one bouillon cube in the water.
- Add some baking soda to the bouillon and stir. You can also add cinnamon.
- Add some coconut oil to the mixing bowl and continue stirring until the mixture is even.
- Store your doggy toothpaste in a small resealable container for storage. It does not need to be refrigerated.
Homemade toothpaste with mint leaves from Live. Pant. Play
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cube of chicken or beef bullion
- 3 Tbsp. baking soda
- 6-7 mint leaves
Measure out the ingredients into your blender and blend until the mint leaves are thoroughly chopped and everything is mixed nicely. Put your toothpaste into an air-tight container and store in your fridge.
Toothpaste with cloves from alidoesitherself.com
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cube of chicken, beef, poultry or veggie bullion
- 2 Tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Dissolve bouillon cube in the 1 tablespoon water.
- Add in 2 tablespoons baking soda(a deodorizing abrasive), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (a fragrant abrasive).
- Ground up about 1 teaspoon dried parsley (for fresh breath) and add a pinch of ground cloves (an anti-parasitic).
- Then you need to work in about 1/2 cup coconut oil. If you have trouble mixing everything up you can soften the oil or melt it, but you want it to be solid in the end. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.
Dog toothpaste with peanut butter by Pinterest user Becky Perigo Davis
- 1/2 tsp. Water or 1-1/2 tsp of a dental gel such as Maxi Guard
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- A small amount of peanut butter
Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a small bowl, then add a pea-size amount of peanut butter. If you are using water, add about 1/2 a teaspoon, if you are using a dental gel such as Maxi Guard, use about 1-1/2 teaspoons. Add your liquid and mix well until the mixture has a paste consistency. Store in a sealed container.
Dog toothpaste to buy
If you’d rather just buy some toothpaste for your dog, there are several options available. Here are those on Chewy.com and Amazon that customers rate as the best dog toothpaste:
- Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat Poultry Flavor Toothpaste, $9.44 for 70 grams.
- Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste, $9.12 for 6.2 oz.
- Vet’s Best Dental Gel Toothpaste for Dogs, $5.26 for 3.5-oz
- Arm & Hammer Dental Clinical Gum Health Dog Toothpaste & Brush Kit, $2.39
- RADIUS – Organic Dental Solutions Adult, Natural Dog Toothgel and Toothbrush, $12.59 for brush and .08 oz gel.
How to brush your dog’s teeth
OK, so you’ve committed to making or buying some dog toothpaste, and you are ready to start brushing. Healthy Paws has some advice on how to brush your dog’s teeth. At first, brushing a dog’s teeth can be mildly stressful and confusing for the animal. But the more you do it, the quicker your pet will become comfortable with you cleaning his teeth.
Here is a brief overview:
- Ease into it: Before you stick a strange object into your dog’s mouth, start by petting the muzzle and lips, allowing your dog to get used to the sensation of you handling the area. Work up to rubbing a towel or piece of cloth on the teeth, mimicking the brushing motion. Finally, give your pup a taste of doggy toothpaste. If your dog seems to accept both the simulated brushing and the toothpaste, it’s time to move on to the next step.
- Begin brushing: Now introduce the dog toothbrush, applying a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Gently raise your dog’s lips out of the way – this is the part where most pets struggle. Brushing in circular motions, focus on the outside of your dog’s teeth and around the canines; these areas are hot spots for periodontal disease. For the first few sessions brushing your dog’s teeth, you may not be able to get all his teeth. Work up to it over several weeks – a forced brushing can make a dog anxious.
Get a professional cleaning regularly too
Just like humans, your vet may recommend a professional teeth cleaning for your pooch usually with general anesthesia. They’ll remove tartar and plaque and recommend further dental procedures if they find problems.
However, because anesthesia is required, dog teeth cleaning is pretty pricey – and not covered by pet insurance. Consider budgeting for an annual cleaning, especially if your pup has a history of dental problems. The cost of cleaning dogs’ teeth can be up to $500 depending on your city as well as the age and weight of your dog.
How else can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?
In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth, there are many other ways to maintain his dental health. Foods, treats, toys, chews, water additives, and oral sprays are all available to promote a healthy mouth. Greenies dental treats are a favorite among pet parents and dogs and are VOHC certified. For hardcore chewers, Purina’s HeartyHide and PPVD rawhide treats fight tartar on teeth. If your pup has recurring problems, ask your vet about a prescription dog food specifically for dental health.
While routine dental care is not covered by pet insurance, most illnesses and accidents are, and can save you as much as 90 percent on vet bills. Find out more about dog insurance (and cat insurance) and start by getting a dog insurance quote. Bonus: Each quote means a donation is made to homeless pets.