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Everything You Need To Know About Pet Toothpaste

By Monty C. Charne
October 2, 2017

Has your vet been telling you to brush your pets’ teeth for years? Have you been too intimidated or confused to ever really give it a shot? You are not alone! Pet dental care is an important facet of your pet’s health, but few pet owners feel comfortable with the care and keeping of their furry friend’s teeth. One of the first hurdles a pet owner encounters is buying the right products to make dental hygiene safe and easy. So what do you need? The very first step is buying the right toothpaste.


Use only toothpaste intended for petsIt might be tempting to give your cat or dog minty fresh breath, but most human toothpastes contain ingredients (particularly fluoride) that are toxic to our pets, so make sure to never use that on their brush. Our pets don’t know to spit out the toothpaste they use, and even just a small amount of fluoride can get absorbed through their stomach and cause illness and death.


Now that you know not to use your favorite human brand, how do you pick which toothpaste to use? When talking about active ingredients in pet toothpastes, there are three real categories to choose from:

1. The first is Calprox, an ingredient licensed for use by one manufacturer. This ingredient is a great choice as it is the only toothpaste formula approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council to be used without brushing; Calprox toothpastes can be applied to your cat or dog’s teeth through a chew toy or any other method and be effective in fighting plaque.

2. Your second option is enzymatic toothpastes. These toothpastes work by killing some of the bacteria that form plaque and stopping bacteria from turning into tartar. These are a great choice if you can do the work of brushing your pets’ teeth (this formula requires the brushing to activate).

3. The third is a natural formula that uses a diluted form of tea tree oil and a mild abrasive to clean teeth and fight bacteria. There is some debate over the use of these toothpastes as tea tree oil in high doses can be toxic for pets, but these toothpastes are a low enough dose that they should not be dangerous.

Once you have chosen an active ingredient, your final consideration should be taste. What flavor do you think your furry friend will like best? Toothpastes come in flavors ranging from chicken to fish to vanilla and peanut butter. Choose the one that you think will make brushing a treat for your pet!