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Is Human Toothpaste OK for Dogs?

Dangerous when Swallowed; Toothpaste for Dogs is Safe & Effective


Is it ok to use people toothpaste to clean dog’s teeth?


Dr. Nichol:

Human toothpaste would be fine for our dogs except that they swallow it, leading to potentially big trouble. The major brands contain additives including sudsing agents that make it foam when we brush. It’s not a problem for us humans but a dog who ingests enough of it can develop liver damage.


There’s more. Many human toothpastes are sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute also found in some sugar-free gum, throat lozenges, and chewable vitamins. Dogs who absorb it internally are at risk of a surge in insulin followed quickly by a precipitous drop in blood sugar. It can also cause severe liver disease.


It makes a lot of sense to brush your dog’s teeth. The plaque on those choppers takes 24 hours to begin converting to tartar (that hard brown stuff on the sides of the teeth), so you only need to brush them once daily. Chicken and beef flavored canine toothpastes are safe and well-accepted by most dogs. Even the fussy ones will go along if it’s introduced gradually.


I recommend rewarding good behavior with a small treat. If you lose your patience, and force the issue, your dog will learn to feign rabies when he sees that *@#%! toothbrush in your hand.  If you have trouble getting cooperation ask your veterinarian for help. And be careful to grab the right tube in your morning fog. A mouth full of meat flavored toothpaste could change your whole outlook on the day ahead.