Dog Toothpaste vs. Human Toothpaste

By Catherine Lovering

Dogs have a tendency to swallow almost anything that goes into their mouths. This includes toothpaste, which may not be very appetizing to the average human, but to a pooch, may be a tasty treat. Human toothpaste can be unhealthy for dogs. Caring for your dog's teeth is important to keep him healthy, but be sure to use toothpaste designed for pets.

Stomach Irritation and Toxicity

Human toothpaste typically contain fluoride, which can cause stomach irritation when swallowed. In large amounts, fluoride can be toxic to your dog, and for puppies under 6 months of age, fluoride can prevent tooth enamel from properly forming. As much as your pup may seem able to handle eating almost anything, human toothpaste contains ingredients his body just wasn't designed to process. On the other hand, canine toothpaste comes in appealing flavors like chicken and beef, which Fido will enjoy much more than mint or cinnamon.

Not All Pet Toothpastes Are Equal

Choosing a toothpaste designed for pets is ideal. However, it's important to be discerning when choosing a brand. Ask your vet for advice. Some dog toothpastes may contain xylitol, which when ingested in amounts larger than the label directions, can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and potentially cause liver failure, according to the ASCPA.

Make Your Own Dog Toothpaste

The ASPCA recommends using a paste made out of baking soda and water to brush your dog's teeth, as an alternative to toothpaste made for dogs. Baking soda can be as effective as a commercial dog toothpaste and will not cause your pup any adverse health effects.

About the Author
Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law). She was a trained SPCA volunteer for three years and a veterinary hospital volunteer for three years.