Toothpaste for Dogs

toothpaste for dogs

The importance of taking our dog’s oral hygiene seriously cannot be overstated, so in my series about dog dental care the next topic we’ll be addressing is toothpaste for dogs. 

While looking for toothpaste for my dogs, I was surprised by the number of ingredients in some of the formulations I researched, and concerned about how many I had never heard of. You have to the best toothpaste for dogswonder why these kinds of ingredients are necessary, she says naively. I guess the same can be said about so many products we use.

One ingredient that I did see in many toothpastes was something called Poultry Digest or Animal Digest. Sounds a bit disturbing doesn’t it? Well, there’s a good reason for that.

This is what I found, and I’m quoting: “A material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor(s), it must correspond thereto.”

Enough said.

Xylitol is another ingredient that is known to be toxic to dogs and can cause seizures, liver failure and even death.

Toothpastes come in different flavours and textures, so you’re bound to find one your dog likes. You might get lucky with the first one you buy, or he’ll be a bit pickier and you will have tried several before hitting the jackpot.

There is one thing I would like to recommend – when you find a toothpaste you’d like to try, contact your vet with the list of ingredients. Your senior dog may have health issues that would make certain ingredients risky, so better to be safe.

Also, the word “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean what you think. It is often just a marketing tool, and because there’s little or no regulation, the criteria for something to be able to call itself natural is vague.

Here are a few doggie toothpastes I found that may interest you

Petrodex Natural Toothpaste

toothpaste for dogs

Made in the U.S.A., this peanut flavoured toothpaste is made with all natural abrasives to help control plaque and fight bad breath

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste

Virbac Cet Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs

Suitable for dogs and cats, this toothpaste inhibits the formation of plaque, helps eliminate mouth odors, and because it contains no foaming agents it is safe for pets to swallow. This product is very highly rated by consumers (and their pets!)

PetzLife Oral Care Gel Original Peppermint

Petzlife oral care gel toothpaste for dogs

Made in the U.S.A., this peppermint flavoured gel is made with all-natural holistic ingredients, removes plaque and tartar and kills the bacteria that causes bad breath. A toothbrush can be used but isn’t necessary, perfect for dogs that are a bit “uncooperative” when it comes to having their teeth brushed. 

Vet’s Best Dental Gel

Vets best dental gel toothpaste for dogs

Uses natural ingredients of neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, aloe, and enzymes

Gel has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities to fight bacteria that cause bad breath

Use a brush or your finger to apply

For best results, no food or water 30 minutes before and after application

Tropiclean Fresh Breath Plaque Remover Pet Clean Teeth Gel

Tropiclean clean teeth gel toothpaste for dogs

Made of quality ingredients sourced in the U.S., this tooth gel helps fight periodontal disease by reducing plaque and tarter. It’s as easy as applying a couple of drops to your dog’s teeth every day, no toothbrush required but you can use one if you prefer. 


Toothpaste for dogs – conclusion

There are so many toothpastes available, you’re bound to find one your dog is happy with. I presented just a few, but if you’re looking for a bigger selection, this link will take you there.

I’m so glad you’re doing what you can to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy. I’ve been through dental surgery with more than one dog, so if you can avoid it all the better. I hope you found this post on toothpaste for dogs helpful, and if you’d like to tell us which toothpaste yours prefers I’d love to hear from you. 



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Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a dog trainer, pet care consultant, long time animal welfare advocate, and future director of The Saffy Pearson Retirement Home for Animals. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats.


  1. Rawl

    HI Hindy. I’m not concerned so much about the toothpaste as I am how to brush my dogs teeth. I don’t mean the act of brushing. I mean, how do you get a dog to be still enough to brush their teeth? I’ve told you about Duke and Baby. Duke is the calmer of the two but even he won’t be still and Baby is just down right stubborn.

    At the vet they put her to sleep to brush them because she’s not cooperative. Do you have any tricks or suggestions on how to do this without so much stress for her and me?

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Well my friend, that is the age old question. My vet can’t even get near Red’s mouth. Of course it’s ideal to start when they’re younger, but if you don’t have them then… You can try the whole “desensitisation” thing – hold the toothbrush, if she’s fine give her a treat, move it closer and closer until it’s near her mouth – at each stage giving her a treat, and of course doing this over several days, or however long it takes. Putting some toothpaste that they love may motivate them. Having said all that, you could try a finger toothbrush. I am meeting with limited success, but success nonetheless, with wrapping gauze around my finger. It’s a lot easier to put my finger in Red’s mouth then a toothbrush. As far as my other dog is concerned, I’m starting the desensitising thing with him.

      1. Rawl

        Hey Hindy,

        I’m laughing at the desensitization because when I pick up a napkin or tissue to clean baby’s eyes she runs. She knows what’s coming so she tries to hide before I can catch her. I’m laughing because I can only imagine what trying to desensitize her will look like but I’ll try it. It is researched to work so I’ll give it a go. Thank you.

        1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

          That sounds about right! My other dog Jack runs when he just catches a glimpse of a brush. Good luck!

  2. Brad

    Hindy, I have a minature yorkie poo and her breath is always bad! Which product do you find works best to help cure this issue? Maybe I don’t brush her teeth enough? It can be embarrassing when visitors smell her breath. Thanks for all the super useful information 🙂

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Brad, I wouldn’t worry about the treats right now, but I do recommend you take your dog to the vet to have her teeth checked as soon as possible. Contrary to popular belief, bad breath in dogs is not a given, but it does signal some kind of dental issue. Dental disease can cause serious health problems, so the sooner you tackle this, the better for your dog. If dental surgery is needed for a good cleaning, then you can keep up with her oral hygiene with regular brushing and dental chews. You can get veterinary chews, or antlers (just make sure there are no sharp pieces), or any kind of good quality chew with as few ingredients as possible. Raw bones are apparently good too, but I would speak to your vet about that first. I have an article publishing soon about dental chews, so keep an eye out! Hope this helps, and let me know what happens.

  3. Shaz

    Great site Hindy – one that I’m sure a lot of pet owners with senior dogs will love. I am not a dog owner myself but I’m going to share this website with a few people I know so they can benefit.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Shaz, thank you, I certainly hope people with senior dogs will find the information here helpful. I would appreciate the share, thank you!

  4. cathy

    Hi – very helpful info. I’m wondering about Sorbitol being the #1 ingredient in Sentry HC Petrodex, beef flavor. Isn’t Sorbitol the same as Xylitol and just as much of a risk to your dog, young or old?
    Thanks in advance for any clarification you can make on this.

    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Cathy, thanks very much for your comment and question. Sorbitol isn’t the same as Xylitol. They sound similar, and are both sweet tasting, but my research suggests that Sorbitol is safe for dogs. You may see mild vomiting or diarrhea in some dogs if they’ve eaten quite a bit of it. Personally I like to find products that contain as few, high quality natural ingredients as possible.


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