Brushing your dog’s teeth is essential to keeping them happy and healthy. We brush our teeth every day, but when it comes to our pets’ teeth, we often forget to treat them with the same care. Though they may be a bit sharper, your dog’s teeth are just like human teeth—they need regular cleaning to stay healthy and prevent dental diseases.
Why Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Dental diseases are one of the most common medical conditions reported by veterinarians and one of the most preventable. In fact, 80% of dogs over the age of three have some kind of active dental disease. If left neglected, plaque and tartar can develop into periodontal disease, which is extremely painful for your pup. They might experience inflammation in the gums and tooth loss. And all that bacteria can get into the rest of your dog’s body, causing problems in the kidney, liver, or even heart. Therefore, it’s essential that you brush your dog’s teeth, and start early.
Many people are hesitant to start brushing their dog’s teeth because they think getting their pup to cooperate will be too difficult. The first brush might be a challenge, but you should have no problem brushing once you find a brand and flavor that your dog enjoys. Your dog will look forward to brushing time and consider that toothpaste a tasty treat, not preventative medicine. And if that doesn’t work, there are some great no-brush dog toothpastes out there, too.
Good doggy dental care doesn’t end at brushing. On top of brushing your dog’s teeth 2-3 times a week, your dog should get a routine dental cleaning at the vet every year.
How Do You Choose Your Dog’s Toothpaste?
Dogs and humans have very different dietary needs, which means that dogs cannot use human toothpaste. That’s why dog toothpaste is specifically formulated for a dog’s medical and dietary needs. The best part about dog toothpaste is that, unlike human toothpaste, it’s safe to swallow, so you don’t have to worry about getting your pup to rinse.
When deciding on a dog toothpaste, you’ll want to consider multiple factors, like your dog’s age and health. If your dog is a puppy, be sure to get a toothpaste formulated for puppies. If your dog is already suffering from dental complications, you’ll probably want to get an enzymatic toothpaste. Consult your vet and ask what kind of toothpaste will be best for your dog.
If this is Fido’s first brushing, you might want to select a starter kit. These kits will provide you with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any other tools you might need. You never know what flavors your dog will prefer, so don’t buy anything in bulk until you know what kinds of toothpaste your dog enjoys.
Without further ado, here are DogFriendly.com’s favorite toothpastes for your pup.
Best Overall Toothpaste for Dogs: Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste
Of all the toothpaste we reviewed, only one is recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council: Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste. Vet-approved and clinically tested, this toothpaste helps eliminate bad breath, whiten teeth, and remove plaque build-up. There are three flavors to choose from: Rotisserie Chicken, London Broil, and Say Cheese. We’ve heard good things about the London Broil. This toothpaste is also no-brush, meaning you can put it on your dog’s teeth and let their tongue do the rest. While Petsmile recommends using a toothbrush for the best results, this brand is an excellent choice for those stubborn dogs, too.
At over $5 an ounce, this toothpaste is one of the most expensive on this list, but you’re sure to get your money’s worth. With regular brushing 2-3 times a week, one tube of Petsmile Professional can last up to a year.
Best Starter Kit: Radius Adult Dog Toothbrush Organic Dental Solutions
If this is your first time brushing, or if you’re not sure whether your pup will like having their teeth brushed, then a starter kit is probably the best option for you. The RADIUS Dental Solutions kit comes with organic toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a carrying case. The toothpaste is only 0.8 ounces, so it will only last a few weeks but makes a perfect starter before committing to something more expensive. This kit is climate pledge friendly and manufactured in the U.S.A. If you’ve got a puppy at home, Radius also makes a kit designed specifically for puppies.
Best Budget Toothpaste: Arm & Hammer for Pets Clinical Care Dental Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
Dog toothpaste can be expensive—more expensive than human toothpaste, at times. But not every brand has to be! Arm & Hammer’s Enzymatic Toothpaste is both effective and cost-efficient. One package is $4.15 for 2.38 ounces, evening out to about $1.75 per ounce. We recommend the “Fresh Breath” variety, but Arm & Hammer make “Gum Health” and “Tartar Control” variations as well.
Best Organic Toothpaste: RADIUS USDA Organic Canine Pet Toothpaste 3 oz
Sometimes organic is the only thing that can cut it for your pup. In that case, try RADIUS organic canine toothpaste, certified organic by the USDA. This brand comes in a cinnamon sweet potato flavor that your dog is sure to love. This toothpaste is cruelty-free and proudly made in the U.S. They also manufacture a handy travel kit for all your vacation needs.
Best for Puppies: Arm & Hammer Complete Care Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste Value Size
Just because your pup is still a puppy doesn’t mean they don’t need the occasional teeth cleaning. Some toothpastes advertise that they’re safe for dogs and puppies, but the safest bet is getting a toothpaste formulated for puppies. We recommend Arm & Hammer’s enzymatic puppy toothpaste. This paste comes in a peanut butter flavor that’s great for puppies. At $6.60 for 6.2 ounces, this toothpaste is a steal. One tube should last the whole time your pet is a puppy, and it’s safe to give adult dogs, too, so you don’t have to waste any.
Best No-Brush Toothpaste: TropiClean Enticers Teeth Cleaning Gel for Dogs
The most effective way to clean your dog’s teeth is with a toothbrush. But no matter how hard we try, not every pup enjoys those bristles. Luckily, brands also manufacture doggy toothpaste that does not require toothbrushes. You simply rub it on their teeth and let your dog’s tongue do the rest.
TropiClean Enticers Teeth Cleaning Gel comes in 4 flavors: peanut butter & honey, hickory smoked bacon, honey marined chicken, and smoked beef brisket, so you’re sure to find a flavor your pup will enjoy. Happy customers say that this gel has made their dog learn to enjoy teeth cleaning time. TropiClean also has packages with a toothbrush included, if you want to give brushing another go.