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Taking care of your canines’ canines is a vital part of their daily care, right along with exercise, brushing, and feeding. And while there are plenty of ready-made dog toothpastes on the market, why not DIY? Here’s how to safely and quickly make homemade dog toothpaste.
Making your own dog toothpaste ensures you’ll always know exactly what your dog is ingesting. You’ll be able to tailor the ingredients to their specific needs and preferences, which can help make toothbrushing time easier for everyone and can be a necessity for dogs with allergies.
Plus, it’s just plain fun! Who doesn’t love a kitchen project? It’s a little bit of science, a little bit of cooking, and a whole lot of love.
Real Quick: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
For a quick refresher on dog dental care, you can’t miss this video of little Olive getting her teeth brushed.
Dog-Friendly Toothpaste Ingredients
The key to homemade dog toothpaste is striking a balance between yummy, savory ingredients your dog will love, and mild abrasives and herbal breath fresheners that will leave their mouth kissably clean. Fortunately, these ingredients are often affordable, easy to find, and may even come in dog-specific versions, such as this coconut oil.
A lot of homemade recipes include broth or bouillon (extra points if you DIY the broth too!) because dogs adore the meaty flavor. Coconut oil is another common ingredient that’s not only easy to get a dog to accept but is also good for maintaining a shiny, healthy coat.
You can use baking soda for its mildly abrasive texture and as an odor neutralizer. Use no more than the amount suggested below, as baking soda in excess can upset your dog’s tummy.
You can also use mint leaves or parsley for a more herbaceous path to clean teeth. Cinnamon is also a dog-safe breath freshener.
Why Homemade? Can’t Dogs Have Human Toothpaste?
Human toothpaste contains a slew of ingredients that can be harmful to dogs. Your dog doesn’t spit out their toothpaste as you would, and while fluoride, foaming agents, and detergents are fine in small doses, your dog would swallow much higher than the recommended dose.
Watch Out for Xylitol
Xylitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free formulations of just about everything, is often used in human toothpaste and is extremely dangerous for dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, a dog’s consumption of xylitol can result in seizures and vomiting or diarrhea. In extreme cases, xylitol can cause liver failure and even death.
3 Recipes for Homemade Dog Toothpaste
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon water or broth
Mix into a paste and apply a small amount to a toothbrush specially made for dogs (like this simple, affordable dual-ended brush). Brush surfaces of teeth and inner cheeks thoroughly.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 cube of chicken or beef bullion
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- 6–7 mint leaves
Put ingredients into your food processor and pulse until fully combined. This homemade dog toothpaste mixture will keep for two weeks, stored in an airtight container in your fridge. Use a pea-sized amount.
Spice it Up
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon of hot water
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
Why Not Wing It?
Now that you’ve got some basic recipes down, you can play around with different combinations and ratios of ingredients. Just start with a basic baking soda and broth paste, and add other safe ingredients to your dog’s preference. Try a cinna-mint combo! Run out of coconut oil? Throw in some peanut butter!
Get playful with ingredients, but always make sure all ingredients for your homemade dog toothpaste are on the safe list, and take note of which flavors your dog prefers so you can customize future batches to their tastes.
After Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth With Homemade Paste
Reward your pup’s good behavior and patience with a treat or dental dog chew, and some extra snuggles and kisses. Remember, brushing should be a daily habit, so you want to make it as pleasant as possible for you and your dog. Make it a bonding experience where you’re totally focused on your canine companion, providing them with love, care, and affection. If your dog enjoys a good game of tug, try out some rope toys that can help floss your pup’s teeth between brushings while you play, making oral hygiene more fun.
In addition to daily brushing, your dog should have their teeth regularly cleaned by a veterinarian or veterinary dentist for the best possible oral health—and longevity. If your dog has bad breath that doesn’t get better with brushing, or if you notice redness or inflammation in the gums, schedule a dental exam ASAP.
Want more info on keeping your dog’s pearly whites healthy? Check more of our dog dental health articles below.
Featured Image: Pixabay
Nia Martin grew up with cats, dogs, horses, and a goldfish that lived for eight years. Based in Seattle, her writing and photography have appeared in Seattle magazine, The Seattle Times, The Fold, Cascadia Magazine, and Bitterroot Magazine, among others. When not working, you can find her petting dogs and visiting her family’s charismatic tabby, William of Orange.
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