Can I Use Human Toothpaste in Dogs?
Brushing a dog’s teeth is one of the most talked-about issues in the pet community. Despite the fact that most experts say that you should brush your dogs’ teeth at least twice a week, some people still claim that there is no need for it.
Aside from this, one of the most debated issues about dog’s oral and dental health is toothpaste, specifically if a dog can use human toothpaste.
The answer is a resounding no.
What are the risks of human toothpaste in dogs?
Humans have a more complicated lifestyle than dogs; this is why our toothpaste contains various nutrients that may be dangerous to dogs.
The first dangerous component of toothpaste is xylitol. It is an artificial sweetener that is verified to reduce tooth decay in people while giving toothpaste a palatable taste. Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia in dogs or the sudden fluctuation of sugar levels in the blood. This can result to
dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even fainting.
Human toothpaste also has higher amounts of fluoride. An excessive amount of fluoride can be toxic to dogs. It can cause gastrointestinal problems as well as bone development problems such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
To treat fluoride’s side effects on dogs’ bones, it’s highly recommended that you introduce your dogs to Vitamin D3, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin, which can be found in the hip and joint supplements. These supplements can lessen the risk of fluoride consumption in dogs.
Aside from xylitol and fluoride, human toothpaste also has Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS that creates the toothpaste’s foamy effect. Dogs cannot digest it. Consumption of SLS can lead to stomach problems such as indigestion, diarrhea, flatulence, and vomiting.
It’s recommended that after you stop the consumption of SLS by your dogs, you also give them digestive supplements to ease its side effects. Probiotic-rich digestive supplements can help the stomach in breaking down and expelling unwanted substances such as SLS.
What should you look for in dog toothpaste?
Dog owners really don’t need to use human toothpaste as there are lots of dog toothpaste available in the market. However, just like with food, it’s important to check the nutritional contents of toothpaste. This way, you’ll be sure that your dogs will get optimal dental and oral healthcare and won’t consume any toxic substances.
The first thing that you should look for in dog toothpaste is dicalcium phosphate. It is a variant of calcium that can strengthen the teeth of dogs without any side effects. It can also be found in various dog chews.
In terms of removing plaque and stains and whitening the teeth, the component that you should look for is hydrated silica. It's the safest artificial cleaning substance for dog toothpaste.
The next one is sodium saccharin. It gives the toothpaste a palatable flavor without the risk of any side effects.
The last ingredient that you should look for is sodium benzoate. It’s used to prevent any bacterial buildup in the toothpaste. Thus, increasing its shelf life.
Giving oral and dental care to your dogs is an essential part of maintaining their overall health. So the next time you’re thinking of using your own toothpaste for your dog, you might want to reconsider!
Laura Robinson, DMV
Dr Laura practices at the Antonio Animal Hospital in California, where she was born and raised. She is an advisor to Wuffes, ensuring all our products and content is of the highest standard