Dental disease can be a real killer for dogs, as it can lead to infections and inflammation that spread to the heart and other major organs. That’s why it’s so important for you to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
Unfortunately, getting your dog to read the literature on the importance of dental hygiene can be difficult — and getting him to sit still long enough for you to brush his teeth can be more difficult still. It’s important to use a toothpaste that he’ll enjoy, as well as one that combats plaque, tartar, and other issues.
Many kinds of toothpaste do this by filling their formulas with potentially harmful chemicals. We don’t recommend using these if at all possible, but they can be hard to avoid.
That’s why we put together this list of natural dog toothpastes. In the reviews below, you’ll discover our top picks for toothpastes that will keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, without bombarding him with chemicals.
Your dog will be so happy his teeth are clean, he’ll kiss you — and you’ll finally be willing to let him.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 6 Best Natural Dog Toothpastes – Reviews 2020
1. Nylabone Natural Dog Toothpaste – Best Overall
Nylabone Natural is made with an ingredient called Denta-C, which helps eliminate plaque and the bacteria that comes with it. This helps to keep your pup’s teeth clean while also reducing the risk of an infection occurring that can spread to other parts of his body.
Getting your dog to tolerate it is fairly easy as well, as it’s made with peanut butter flavoring. While dogs seem to enjoy the taste, it doesn’t have a very strong odor, so the smell shouldn’t be overpowering, regardless of whether it’s on the brush or on his breath.
Speaking of his breath, this can work wonders on doggy breath. If you’ve noticed a rancid smell coming from your pup’s mouth, using Nylabone Natural for a few days should help quite a bit.
The biggest issue we found with it was its consistency. It’s extremely runny, and so it can be quite messy. This can make closing the cap difficult with extended use.
However, consistency issues aside, this is still the clear #1 in the category and represents the best starting place if you want to begin brushing your pooch’s teeth regularly.
2. SENTRY Petrodex Natural Toothpaste – Best Value
Convincing your dog to let you brush his teeth can be a challenge, and SENTRY Petrodex doesn’t require much of a financial commitment if you’re worried that the whole experiment won’t last very long. Despite its low price point, however, we feel this is the best natural dog toothpaste for the money.
Like the Nylabone Natural, this has a peanut butter flavor to it and a subtle smell. However, dogs don’t seem to enjoy the taste of this as much, but neither are they repelled by it; most seem fairly indifferent. Still, that may make it a tad more challenging to introduce the concept to your mutt, which is why this ranks a spot below the Nylabone model.
It’s good at reducing plaque and tartar buildup, and each small tube lasts a couple months, even with everyday use. The color is easy to spot in your dog’s mouth as well, so you can tell which parts have been brushed and which haven’t.
We’re big fans of the SENTRY Petrodex, but it would be nice if they improved the flavor. Still, you won’t be out much if your dog refuses to try it.
You may balk at the idea of giving your dog a toothpaste that likely costs several times more than the brand you use, but Pura Natural’s Pet is worth every penny.
It doesn’t use xylitol, chemicals, dyes, or other artificial additives, so you can be sure your dog isn’t ingesting anything harmful if he swallows some. Instead, it’s crafted with food-grade ingredients, and the manufacturer uses cruelty-free practices, so your conscience will be as clean as your pup’s teeth.
As mentioned above, though, it is expensive, and it’s difficult to regulate how much you use, as the paste tends to shoot out of the tube. This leads to a lot of waste, which can be terribly frustrating. If you can get the proper amount out, though, you’ll find a little goes a long way.
All in all, you’ll likely see results from Pura Naturals Pet that will make the high price worth paying, but we’re not so sure it’s worth the extra money compared to our top two picks. It’s still a great option, though, especially if money is no object when it comes to pampering your pooch.
4. Honest Paws Natural Dog Toothpaste
This offering from Honest Paws is available in both vanilla ginger and an odorless, flavorless variety, so you can experiment to find which one your dog prefers. Neither one is likely to drive your dog crazy, though.
This paste is good for loosening up and removing tartar, and in doing so it can actually whiten your dog’s teeth. You can buy it alone or as part of a complete dental kit, which includes a toothbrush and dental spray.
Each tube is generously-sized and should last you a long time. The tubes make it easy to dispense the paste as well, so things shouldn’t get too messy.
Don’t expect it to do much for doggy breath, though, and if your pooch has a sensitive constitution, you may not want to risk using this, as it can potentially cause diarrhea and other digestive issues.
Honest Paws is a good middle-of-the-road toothpaste, but you can find its strengths reproduced in the options above, and with little of the weaknesses. As a result, it’s hard to rank it any higher than this.
5. Kissable All-Natural Toothpaste
Kissable All-Natural has a flavor that many dogs can’t get enough of, as it’s sweetened with vanilla and Stevia. This certainly makes it easier to convince your pet to let you brush his teeth.
That appealing flavor works against this toothpaste as much as for it, though. The problem is that it includes tea tree oil, which can be toxic to dogs in anything more than small doses. We assume you can see how making an extremely tasty toothpaste filled with toxic ingredients could be a problem.
Stevia can also cause digestive issues if consumed in large doses, so be sure to use this stuff sparingly (and, given the price, you’ll want to use it sparingly anyway). The vanilla should be fine, though.
The no-rinse formula does a good job of masking bad breath, so your dog should indeed be kissable once you’re done brushing. However, that’s not enough to make up for the use of a toxic ingredient, which is why it lives near the bottom of this list.
6. Bristly Natural Dog Toothpaste
Bristly Natural uses a prebiotic formula that’s designed to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation. It can certainly clean your dog’s mouth, but no better than some of the other options shown here, and using it is far more complicated.
It’s designed to be used in conjunction with the Bristly Tongue Cleaner, which is a chew toy with grooves on it. That involves an added expense (and the toothpaste isn’t cheap, either), and it would certainly be frustrating to buy the toothpaste only to find out you can’t use it until you buy a special accessory. However, it can be worth it if your dog takes to gnawing on the toy.
The serving size is one teaspoon, which is relatively large, so expect to go through a tube pretty quickly.
It’s technically beef-flavored, but there are a lot of other ingredients (like tangerine oil and kelp) that can overpower the taste of the cow. As a result, you may find yourself using a different paste instead.
Ultimately, we feel you should view Bristly Natural as a last resort, one you should use only if you’ve been unsuccessful in getting your dog to try other options.
The Importance of Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Listen, we get it. Nobody wants to brush their dog’s teeth (and most dogs don’t seem too enthusiastic about having their teeth brushed, either). It’s certainly a chore, but it’s extremely important if you want to keep your best friend around for a few extra years.
Tartar buildup starts in the mouth, but if it gets out of control, it can spread to other parts of the body, causing arterial blockages and other major problems. Also, plaque and tartar are filled with toxins that can spread throughout the dog’s system, causing infection, inflammation, and more.
Beyond that, it keeps your dog’s breath fresh and reduces the likelihood of dental problems, so you can both enjoy more slobbery kisses.
Why Natural Toothpaste?
Many toothpastes are filled with ingredients like alcohol and fluoride that aren’t great for dogs if they get ingested, and let’s face it, they will get ingested. This is why you should be careful about what kind of toothpaste you use and why you should never use human toothpaste on dogs.
Natural toothpastes work just as well as those with questionable ingredients, and many have flavors that dogs love. This allows you to give your dog as much as he wants without worrying about side effects (to a point, anyway — don’t let him eat an entire tube), so he’s more likely to tolerate having his teeth brushed.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t easy. In fact, it can often feel like trying to wrestle a steer or trying to get a cat to do literally anything. However, there are a few things you can do to make the process less stressful for all involved.
Build Up to It
Don’t just grab your pet and try to shove a toothbrush in his mouth. That’s a sure-fire way to make him hate the entire process. The idea is to build slowly, and the entire process should take several days.
Start by introducing the brush to him and letting him sniff it, and offering him some toothpaste on your finger.
Don’t shove the paste in his mouth or even try to get it on his teeth. Just let him investigate it and try some if he likes. If he does, praise him. If he seems disgusted, you may need to find a different paste.
You can also try gently touching your dog’s gums with just your finger. Don’t force the issue, and don’t scold him if he doesn’t cooperate. The idea is just to get him comfortable with the idea of your finger in his mouth. You may want to use some peanut butter on your finger to make this process easier.
Add the Toothbrush
Once he’s properly introduced to both the toothbrush and toothpaste, try using the brush on him. Gently lift his lip and softly scrape the brush along his gumline.
He may recoil at this; that’s ok, and don’t hold his head, scold him, or do anything else that might stress him out. Just gently reassure him and either start over or try again another day.
Use Soft, Gentle Strokes
Move the brush in a circular manner, being sure to get both the tops and bottoms of each side. Don’t worry too much if you can’t get the inside of his teeth, as his tongue will generally keep that area fairly clean.
If you see any plaque buildup, focus your attention on breaking it up. This may require firmer strokes, and that may mean going more slowly or taking more time to introduce your dog to the concept.
Establish a Routine
Dogs like routine, so try to brush his teeth at the same time and in the same way every time. If he knows what’s coming, he’s less likely to freak out.
Also, your routine should end with lots of praise and a tasty treat or two. He’ll be even more receptive if he knows the routine ends with something wonderful for him.
Nylabone Natural is our top toothpaste pick, as it has ingredients that kill plaque while still maintaining a flavor that dogs love. It even helps reduce doggy breath, so you don’t have to recoil every time your pup tries to kiss you in the morning (as a matter of fact, he might be the one pulling back if you haven’t brushed your teeth yet).
SENTRY Petrodex is an inexpensive option that performs almost as well as Nylabone Natural at reducing plaque and tartar. It’s a cheap place to start if you’re not sure if your pup will take kindly to having his teeth brushed, and the distinctive coloring makes it easy to see if you missed a spot.
Choosing a natural dog toothpaste can be surprisingly complicated, and we hope our reviews have made the whole process a bit easier for you. Regardless of which option you pick, the important thing is to maintain a regular dental hygiene practice.
Now, if we could just convince our dog to use a tongue scraper…
Featured Image: Natural Dog Toothpaste/Bristly, Amazon
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 6 Best Natural Dog Toothpastes – Reviews 2020
- Buyer’s Guide