Best Toothpaste for Dogs – 7 Breath Fresheners [REVIEWED]

At I Love Veterinary, we looked into some of the canine kinds of toothpaste on the market and found the best toothpaste for dogs was Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste. If you are looking for a CET toothpaste made by veterinary professionals, it is an excellent addition to any doggy household out there.

But, if it isn’t the one and only for you, there are luckily also many great options out there. Take a read below and learn all about what canine toothpaste is and what is the best dog toothpaste? We will answer all the questions you may have! 

dog toothbrush and toothpaste

Can Dogs Use Human Toothpaste?

We all know how important it is for humans to brush our teeth regularly, but did you know that it is just as important for our dogs to brush their teeth too? It is! But you may be wondering now what is the best toothpaste for dogs, and does it have to be canine toothpaste? 

The short answer is yes. The best toothpaste for dogs is made for canines, as human toothpaste can be toxic and dangerous for our furry friends. So if you’re looking for a safe dog toothpaste, keep reading! 

Is Toothpaste Bad for Dogs?

It can be quite dangerous for dogs to ingest human toothpaste. This is because most types of human toothpaste contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol. Xylitol is associated, in humans, with improving dental health. But, in dogs, it can have horrible effects on the body. 

When dogs ingest xylitol, a large quantity of insulin gets released into the bloodstream. Insulin works by moving the sugar from the blood to the body, but if this happens too fast, it can cause too low blood sugar – also known as hypoglycemia. Untreated, the condition can become life-threatening. 

The most common symptoms of xylitol poisoning include 

  • Vomiting. 
  • Lethargy (tiredness). 
  • Ataxia (incoordination). 
  • Collapse. 
  • Seizures. 

Human toothpaste tends to contain large quantities of fluoride, so dogs must avoid it. Fluoride isn’t meant to be swallowed, which is why you can use it for humans – but have you ever tried to convince a dog to spit a liquid back out? Not likely to be an easy task. 

Humans also love it when our toothpaste foams. A widespread foaming agent in human toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate, which binds to impurities and helps rinse them away. However, it can cause gastric upsets in dogs and should not be in dog toothpaste.  

So please stick to the best toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs and help keep them and their teeth happy and healthy throughout their lives!     

What you Need to Know About Canine Toothpaste

Like humans, dogs suffer from plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth. Plaque forms when food, saliva, and other things that pass through the mouth gather on the teeth, especially by its base. The plaque and tartar can lead to gum diseases (gingivitis) and periodontal issues, eventually leading to periodontitis, a severe condition. 

You can, however, help prevent mouth and teeth-issue in your dog by brushing its teeth with the best toothpaste and toothbrush for dogs, as well as taking it for frequent (yearly) dental cleanings at your veterinary care center. 

There’s a wide range of toothpaste tubes available for dogs on the market. Most dog toothpaste you can buy for your dog contains scrubbing ingredients meant to clean the plaque away from the teeth mechanically. 

Some toothpaste also contains enzymes, known as enzymatic toothpaste. These enzymes help reduce bacteria, minimizing the risk of inflammation, gum diseases, and periodontal diseases.   

Ingredients Explained

The ingredient lists in toothpaste can also seem incredibly long and complicated at times. We’ve looked into some of the most common elements to make it a little easier for you all. What are they, and why are they even in your dog’s toothpaste? 

Sorbitol 

Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener –  although not like the dangerous xylitol. In large quantities, it can have laxative properties. However, the minimal concentrations you will find in dog toothpaste is harmless and will only help the toothpaste taste better for your dog. 

Sodium Bicarbonate 

Also more commonly known as “baking soda,” sodium bicarbonate is a regular toothpaste for dogs and humans. Sodium bicarbonate has many of the same properties as fluoride, but it won’t protect the teeth the same way. 

On the other hand, it is safer for your dog. It works by penetrating the plaque matrix on the teeth, making it easier for the brush to push it off.  

Cetylpyridinium Chloride 

Behind the lengthy and slightly complicated name hides a pretty straightforward type of antiseptic. It kills bacteria and other microorganisms in the mouth and is proven to be effective in preventing dental plaque and reducing gingivitis (inflamed gums). 

Glycerin

Glycerin is a standard household product, and it is natural to be worried about it when you see it on the ingredient list. It is, however, considered safe and non-toxic by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It works by holding on to water within a solution, preventing the toothpaste from drying out within the tube. 

Hydrated Silica 

Did you know that the most common form of silica on the planet is sand? Don’t worry, there isn’t sand in the toothpaste, although it is related to it. Silica is in the toothpaste to be abrasive. It is there to scrub the teeth and keep them clean and healthy for years to come! 

Now you know more about canine toothpaste than you probably expected, but none of it is handy if you don’t know how to brush dog teeth. So here’s a quick guide to the dog dental-cleaning world. 

  • Slowly get your dog used to the toothpaste. Place some on your finger and gently put your finger on the teeth. Start with the front teeth. 
  • Slowly start moving your finger back and forth, still on the outside of the teeth. 
  • Gradually introduce a toothbrush or dental-finger brush. Brush only the outside of the teeth. 
  • If possible, teach your dog to open its mouth – or at least have its mouth opened. 
  • Be quick and gentle and brush your dog’s teeth 3-5 times per week, ideally! 

Don’t despair if you can’t get your dog to accept regular and thorough brushing; the introduction of antimicrobial agents found in toothpaste is already better than nothing. 

So there you have it, a guide to toothbrushing and toothpaste; now you are ready to find the best dog toothpaste for you and your best friend. 

The Best Dog Toothpaste and Gels – Overview

Product Best for caseFlavor
Amazon.com: Virbac CET Enzymatic ToothpasteBest toothpaste for dogs!Poultry, malt, beef, vanilla mint, and seafood. 
Vet’s Best Dog Toothbrush and Enzymatic Toothpaste SetBest set with a toothbrush.Natural flavor.
Petrodex Advanced Dental Care ToothpasteBest enzyme toothpaste for dogs.  Poultry.
Arm & Hammer Tartar Control KitBest natural toothpaste for dogs. Beef and banana mint. 
Pure & Polished Dental Care KitBest dental kit for dogs. Vanilla ginger.
Arm & Hammer Complete Care Enzymatic Puppy ToothpasteBest toothpaste for puppies. Peanut butter.
VETS PREFERED Enzymatic Toothpaste for DogsBest enzymatic toothpaste for a budget. Peanut butter. 

Your Safe Dog Toothpaste Shopping Guide

Choosing the best toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs can feel like a jungle. But, a few key things to remember to think about is. 

Ingredients

The best toothpaste for dogs should contain scrubbing ingredients to help remove plaque by friction. A bonus is also if the canine toothpaste also contains enzymes, which helps eliminate the bacteria that may stay on the teeth. Besides this, toothpaste must never contain xylitol. 

Issue-Specific Formulations

Many of the best toothpaste for dogs are formulated towards specific health issues and dental care, or even with your dog’s age in mind! If you are in doubt, consult your veterinarian about whether you should buy toothpaste made specifically for your dog’s unique health needs. 

Taste 

Most humans love the minty flavor of toothpaste. However, our dogs are less likely to find spearmint appealing and much more likely to love a liver paté flavored toothpaste. Brushing your dog’s teeth will be a lot easier if your dog is enjoying the experience, so pick a canine toothpaste that has a taste you know your dog will love, be it liver, chicken, or peanut butter!

Just remember that dogs have roughly 1/4th the number of taste buds compared to humans. So as long as the flavor isn’t awful, it is unlikely to be the thing that affects your dog predominantly. 

It is worth mentioning that there is an organization called the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). A council that examines and judges proof of the effectiveness of dog toothpaste. The VOHC (as of June ‘21) has only endorsed one dog toothpaste (Petsmile Professional Pet Toothpaste). 

This is not to say that another canine dog toothpaste isn’t helpful or as good. Any veterinarian will tell you that the most crucial part of dental cleaning is the mechanical action of brushing. Antimicrobial agents and abrasive ingredients are just there to lend a helping hand! 

teeth cleaning dog with toothpaste

What is the Best Dog Toothpaste – Our Top Reviews

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste: Best Toothpaste for Dogs!

  • Amazon’s Choice Award in Dog Toothpaste. 
  • Key feature: Non-foaming enzyme toothpaste with many different flavors. 
  • Weight: 2.4 ounces (68 grams). 
  • Hits: Can be used for dogs and cats. 
  • Miss: Small tube. 

Virbac’s CET toothpaste for dogs is the best this time, in our opinion, as it has a unique dual-enzyme system that reduces plaque, freshens the breath, and keeps the mouth clean. It is recommended by veterinarians worldwide and is suitable for dogs of all ages. 

Virbac canine toothpaste is made by veterinary professionals and made in the USA. It contains the active ingredients sorbitol, silica, glycerin, and purified water and comes in the flavors: Poultry, malt, beef, vanilla mint, or seafood. Meaning there is toothpaste for every dog! 

More importantly, it doesn’t contain any foaming agents, safe for pets to swallow and daily use! 

Vet’s Best Dog Toothbrush and Enzymatic Toothpaste Set: Best Set with a Toothbrush

  • Amazon’s Choice Award in Dog Toothpaste
  • Key feature: The triple-headed toothbrush!
  • Weight: 4.9 ounces (139 grams).
  • Hits: Contains enzymes to help keep the teeth clean and free of bacteria. 
  • Misses: Contains neem oil.

You can buy this Vet’s Best package deal can as either a dog tooth gel and a toothbrush or a toothpaste on its own. Together with the triple-headed toothbrush, it ensures that it freshens your dog’s breath and gently removes plaque. It comes in natural flavors and is suitable for dogs of all life stages. 

The toothpaste and gel are formulated by veterinarians and made in the USA. It is free from chemicals and contains, amongst others, the active ingredients glycerin, aloe, and pectin for gentle and effective cleaning.  

Note: Some users have experienced issues with their dogs being ill when using this product, possibly due to the neem oil. Neem oil is not listed as toxic by the ASPCA but use it with caution if your dog has a sensitive stomach.

Petrodex Advanced Dental Care Toothpaste: Best Enzyme Toothpaste for Dogs  

  • Key feature: Patented enzymes. 
  • Weight: 6.2 ounces (175 grams). 
  • Hits: No rinsing required. 
  • Misses: Only one flavor.   

This Petrodex canine toothpaste is also enzymatic, containing patented enzymes and a non-foaming formula that does not require rinsing afterward. It polishes the teeth and is helpful with any toothbrush for dogs, or you can even get a suitable (dishwasher safe!) Petrodex toothbrush. It is ideal for all life stages.  

Manufactured by the same company that owns the Virbac brand and made in the USA, this dog toothpaste is similar to the ones we saw earlier. It contains the active ingredients sorbitol, dicalcium phosphate, and glycerin to effectively remove plaque and prevent tartar, with a delicious flavor of poultry. 

Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Kit: Best Natural Toothpaste for Dogs

  • Amazon’s Choice Award in Dog Toothpastes.
  • Key feature: Infused with baking soda and made with natural ingredients. 
  • Weight: 2.5 ounces (70 grams).
  • Hits: A kit to get the dental-cleaning show on the road. 
  • Misses: Focuses on whitening the teeth as well. 

Here’s not only an arm & hammer dog toothpaste but also a toothbrush and finger brush to make the whole process a lot easier. It is easy to use and will help promote healthy gums by reducing tartar buildup and minimizing bad breath at the same time. Suitable for all life stages. 

It has natural ingredients, including baking soda, sorbitol, silica, and water. It comes only in beef flavor. A dedicated quality assurance team member ensures its high quality.

Pure & Polished Dental Care Kit: Best Dental Kit for Dogs

  • Key feature: Made with natural ingredients. 
  • Weight: 6.2 ounces (175 grams). 
  • Hits: Void of harsh chemicals. 
  • Misses: Not all dogs like the vanilla ginger flavor. 

Pure & polished has made a natural dental kit for all life stages – and one specifically made for the puppy training stage. The dog toothpaste is gentle and effective at cleaning the teeth by removing plaque and tartar, with enzymes to help get rid of bacteria. It is suitable for all life stages. 

This natural dog toothpaste is made with a vanilla ginger flavor and contains active ingredients: Cetylpyridinium chloride, sorbitol, and sodium bicarbonate. China makes it. 

Arm & Hammer Complete Care Enzymatic Puppy Toothpaste: Best Toothpaste for Puppies 

  • Amazon’s Choice Award in Dog Toothpaste. 
  • Key feature: Toothpaste made with puppies in mind. 
  • Weight: 6.2 ounces (175 grams). 
  • Hits: Natural ingredients. 
  • Misses: Not all puppies may enjoy the flavor. 

This arm & hammer toothpaste for puppies is full of enzymes that help eliminate bad breath, remove plaque, and fights tartar. Your puppy is entirely new to the world of dental care, so this is a great place to start getting used to the whole process!  

Made with natural ingredients like baking soda, sorbitol, hydrated silica, and water, this toothpaste comes with a peanut butter flavor your puppy is very likely to love and gets produced in China. 

Note: According to reviews from users, this product contains peanut components, and humans suffering from nut allergies should take care when using it.

VETS PREFERED Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs: Best Enzyme Toothpaste Dogs and Owners on a Budget 

  • Key Feature: Names the enzymes it contains.
  • Weight: 3 ounces (85 grams). 
  • Hits: Enzymes on a budget. 
  • Misses: Reviews suggest that the runny texture can be challenging to handle. 

This Vets Prefered dog toothpaste is full of enzymes – and names them saccharomyces enzymes, which are known to have antibacterial properties. Its liquid texture reaches tight dental spaces, increasing the effectiveness of the cleaning while soothing and strengthening the gums. It is suitable for adults only.  

This dog toothpaste has a delicious peanut butter flavor most dogs love, formulated by veterinarians and made with natural ingredients like water, silica, sorbitol, and cellulose.  

FAQ on Dog Dental Diseases

Getting started with toothpaste and brush can be daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve also made a comprehensive guide and FAQ. All to help you get started on the dental-hygiene project with your dog! 

What is Dental Disease? 

Dental disease is a word frequently used by veterinary professionals. It refers to diseases that affect the gums, teeth, roots, and even bony structures in and around the mouth. 

The most common dental disease is periodontal disease, where plaque forms, leads to tartar, and spreads to the gumline. It causes an inflammation of the gum (gingivitis) and can be pretty painful for animals and humans alike. 

Why is My Dog Getting a Dental Disease? 

Throughout their lives, dogs will chew on many things. When food and other objects pass through the mouth, bacteria can collect on the teeth and form plaque – a colorless film of bacteria. 

These bacteria, along with minerals from your saliva, will then harden into tartar that can irritate the gums and lead to tooth decay. 

Dental disease can affect every dog breed, gender, and age – although some are more prone to specific diseases. It is also far more common in older dogs, with some estimates suggesting that up to 80% of dogs have dental disease!

How Can I Prevent Dental Disease? 

As we’ve talked about extensively, brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to help prevent getting dental disease. 

There are also a lot of chewing sticks on the market that claim, with more or less evidence, to help prevent dental disease in dogs. Although these are brilliant supplements for the teeth, they cannot stand alone and are not as good as a toothbrush with canine toothpaste on it! 

The abrasive and antibacterial ingredients in the toothpaste, along with the mechanical movement of the toothbrush, is the best way to prevent dental disease in dogs. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth 3-5 times every week, but remember, even once a week is better than nothing!

Will My Dog Need Dental Cleaning by a Vet and How Often? 

Yes, most dogs will need a professional dental cleaning by a licensed veterinary professional frequently throughout their lives. 

Your veterinarian will use high-frequency scalers and other tools to remove any lingering tartar. Your veterinarian will then help prevent issues like gingivitis (gum inflammation), tooth decay, and periodontitis. 

If your dog frequently gets its teeth brushed, you may only need to take it for a dental clean every 2-3 years! However, if you are less frequent with the toothbrush, this could be every year – and possibly even more often. 

Your veterinarian will evaluate your dog’s oral health at their annual wellness checkup, where they will also be able to see if your dog needs a dental cleaning or other treatments are necessary. 

What is a Professional Dental Cleaning? 

During a dental clean, your dog will need to be fully sedated and put under anesthesia. If not fully sedated, the veterinarian will not be able to thoroughly check the oral cavity (mouth) or perform any cleaning. 

Some people worry a lot about anesthesia, which is entirely understandable. But, it is essential to remember that although it may be worrisome to see your dog unconscious like that, it is very safe, and a veterinary professional will monitor your dog (reflexes, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, etc.) throughout the procedure.

After a manual check of all the teeth and the mouth’s general health, your veterinarian will take some x-rays of the teeth. The x-rays help evaluate the roots of the teeth. A tooth may look perfectly healthy on the surface but be completely decayed underneath – only a thorough x-ray examination will reveal underlying issues like that. 

After evaluating the x-rays, your veterinarian will determine the best treatment going forward. Your dog may need to have some teeth removed, or maybe it will only need a quick scaling and cleaning!  

Can My Dog Survive Without Teeth? 

Some pet parents get worried when their veterinarian tells them they need to remove some teeth. Although, some veterinarians can make root canal operations and other operations to save the teeth like human dentists. It is, however, a very complicated and drawn-out procedure and is rarely beneficial for the dog. 

It also involves more pain and a more extended recovery period for the dog afterward. Removing the destroyed tooth is, therefore, often the chosen way forward. 

Your dog can live just as fulfilling a life without all its teeth, and most won’t even notice, as our dogs don’t need their teeth for hunting or fighting. If your dog has had many of its teeth removed, it may require dietary changes, like mainly eating soft or wet food. 

Your veterinarian should be able to guide you in the best aftercare for your unique dog. 

Dog Dental Care Time

What is the Best Toothpaste for Dogs – Our Verdict

Our favorite was the Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste. Like many other products on our list, it contains abrasive ingredients like hydrated silica that will help your dog’s teeth by mechanically cleaning them all over with the toothbrush. 

But, this toothpaste made by veterinary professionals also contains dual-active enzymes and bacteria that help fight bacteria to help prevent periodontal diseases and gingivitis. It even comes in five different flavors your dog is almost sure to love while having a texture that is easy to manage without it going everywhere. 

Remember, any dog toothpaste is better than no toothpaste or dental cleaning at all – and luckily, there are many for you to choose from. One of them is sure to be the choice to help you, help your best friend to a long life free of toothaches! 

Although you have now (hopefully) found the perfect toothpaste for your furry friend, you may still have some questions about doggy dental care, or perhaps you are a little worried about your dog’s dental health.

If you fear they may be in any form of discomfort, you should contact your veterinarian. But, hopefully, you are all ready to get your dog’s teeth happy and shining in no time!