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Can Dogs Use Human Toothpaste?

Written by Amber LaRock
Published: October 20, 2022
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Dental health is something that is often glossed over in our canine companions. Dogs can suffer from dental pain and infections just like you and I can, which is why your vet will instruct you to brush their teeth a minimum of four times per week. Once you are on board with caring for your dog’s dental health moving forward, you will need the proper supplies to do so!

If you are ready to start brushing your dog’s teeth at home, you may wonder if you can use the same human toothpaste that you brush with each day. While human toothpaste does the job for us, human toothpaste should never be used in dogs. To make sure you understand the dangers of human toothpaste use in dogs, let’s break down everything you need to know below!

Why Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

One of the best ways to eliminate or prevent bad breath in your pooch is to periodically brush their teeth.


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Before we discuss the details of safe tooth brushing in dogs, we should first introduce you to why tooth brushing is so important for dogs in the first place. We encourage you to look at your dog’s dental health similarly as you do your own, as our canine companions can suffer from many of the same dental complications that we can.

If you do not brush your dog’s teeth at least four times per week, this will lead to the buildup of plaque on its teeth. The plaque will then harden into tarter within 48 hours of it being formed, and this is a thick layer of film that can no longer be removed with tooth brushing. The presence of plaque will cause bacteria to collect on the surface of the teeth and around the gums, which creates the perfect environment for a dental infection to brew. Not only are tooth and gum infections incredibly painful for our pups to endure, but these bacteria can also enter their bloodstream and cause systemic complications.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way to prevent dental disease in your beloved pet. If you brush its teeth every other day, you can prevent the formation of tartar buildup on the teeth, which will help to prevent any dental or gum infections down the line. Brushing your dog’s teeth can also cut down on the amount of professional dental cleanings it will require down the line, so it ultimately helps to save you money!

Can Dogs Use Human Toothpaste?

groomer brushing dog teeth
Human toothpaste should never be used for dogs.

©Aquarius Studio/

Now that you are aware of the importance of brushing your dog’s teeth, it’s time to gather your dog’s dental care supplies. You may wonder if you can simply reach for your tube of human toothpaste and get to work, but we’re here to warn you that you should never use human toothpaste for dogs. We know that we should not swallow our toothpaste when brushing, but dogs do not know this. For this reason, you must only use toothpaste that is created with a dog’s safety in mind. Let’s break down why human toothpaste is dangerous to dogs in detail below!

Why Is Human Toothpaste Dangerous for Dogs?

So, why is human toothpaste bad for dogs? It’s not that the ingredients themselves are dangerous for dogs during the act of brushing, but they pose a threat to our dog’s health when they are swallowed. We do not swallow our toothpaste for a reason, but we cannot stop our dogs from swallowing the paste each time they brush. This is a natural response in dogs, and human toothpaste contains ingredients that can make a dog sick when it is ingested.

Most human toothpastes will contain an ingredient called xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is incredibly toxic to dogs. Xylitol can cause a deadly drop in a dog’s blood sugar, which can lead to the onset of seizures if the dog does not receive immediate vet care. Xylitol ingestion in dogs can even lead to permanent liver damage and death in many unlucky pups, which is why it is an ingredient that your pup should never have access to.

Even if your human toothpaste does not contain xylitol, it will likely contain high levels of sodium. These high sodium levels can cause a major disturbance in your dog’s digestive tract, which will ultimately lead to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. As you can see, using human toothpaste in your dog’s dental care routine is just not worth it.

Is There a Toothpaste for Dogs?

A corgi smiles while getting its teeth brushed.
There are many types of dog toothpaste that you can use to clean your dog’s teeth.


Thankfully for the canine friends in our life, there are many types of dog toothpaste that you can use to clean your dog’s teeth! These forms of toothpaste are created specifically for dogs, so you do not have to worry about your pup swallowing any harmful ingredients in the paste as you brush its teeth. Dog toothpaste is also flavored to appeal to dogs, so you will often find them in flavors ranging from chicken to peanut butter. These qualities are not only safer for dogs to consume but much more enjoyable for them as well!

If you need some help with finding the best dog toothpaste for your dog, we compiled a list of our favorite dog toothpaste options here. Not only is each toothpaste option perfectly safe for your pup to consume, but each sport a delicious flavor that your pup is sure to love. Before you know it, your dog’s tooth-brushing routine will turn into a fun reward!

If you need any guidance on how to best care for your dog’s teeth, we suggest checking out our dog teeth cleaning guide here!

Final Thoughts

You may not be able to use human toothpaste for your dog, but you can choose from the many dog toothpaste options in the product guide we linked above. By making your dog’s dental care a priority, you can prevent painful dental complications down the line!

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groomer brushing dog teeth
One of the best ways to eliminate or prevent bad breath in your pooch is to periodically brush their teeth.
© Aquarius Studio/

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About the Author

My name is Amber, and I am a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. My love for animals and their pet parents drove me to work remotely in this field, aiming to provide pet education and guidance whenever it's needed. There’s nothing I love more than helping you feel empowered about your dog or cat’s care!

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