Running out of dog toothpaste stinks, especially if you can’t run to the store to grab more.
But have no fear, homemade dog toothpaste recipes are here!
We’ve scoured the howling halls of the internet and found the best homemade dog toothpaste recipes with pup-friendly ingredients to save the day when you run out of your pup’s regular toothpaste.
Below, we’ll chat about what to look for in a homemade dog toothpaste and what to avoid, as well as dive into some deep-rooted dental questions.
DIY Dog Toothpaste: Key Takeaways
- Store-bought dog toothpastes are usually best, but you can make one at home in a pinch. Most DIY dog toothpastes only require a few simple ingredients, and they’re typically easy to make.
- Most DIY dog toothpastes contain something to clean your dog’s teeth, something to take care of odors, and something to make it taste good. For example, baking soda is a good cleaning agent, mint is a good odor-eliminator, and beef bullion is a good flavor enhancer.
- Whether you use a store-bought toothpaste or go with a DIY option, the important thing is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Twice a day is ideal, but even a few brushings a week will help keep your dog’s teeth clean.
What’s In Homemade Dog Toothpastes?
Dog toothpaste is surprisingly easy to whip up, and you likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
Like our own toothpaste, the goal of a dog toothpaste is to clean your pup’s teeth and gums. This is typically achieved by using baking soda, which is a well-known cleaning agent and odor neutralizer. It’s also slightly gritty and helps power through buildup.
You mix a portion with something that can form the paste consistency needed to coat teeth, which is where coconut oil or water comes into use.
Some homemade dog toothpaste recipes also include fresh mint or cinnamon for freshening your pupper’s breath, while others seek to make the combination tastier for your pooch with a flavor booster, like peanut butter, chicken broth, or beef bouillon.
You can typically substitute the flavor your dog likes best between recipes, which makes them ideal for pickier pupperonis.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid When Making Dog Toothpaste?
As with any homemade dog recipe, use caution with the ingredients used in any DIY dog toothpaste.
Dogs are sensitive to many common items in our pantries, including a major hidden one: xylitol. This artificial sweetener can be found in some peanut butters, so read the label carefully before adding any to your pup’s toothpaste (or just check out our article about dog-safe peanut butter).
Spices are another place to have some pause.
Not every spice is dog-friendly, with spice cabinet staples like nutmeg, garlic powder, onion powder, and more causing problems for pooches. If you’re unsure, give your vet a call to be safe.
Another potential hazard is the additives in any bouillon or flavor boosters. Pups should not have garlic or onion, which are sometimes included in these flavor packets. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple and always err on the side of caution.
If you’re not sure what’s in something, just skip it.
Five Great Homemade & DIY Dog Toothpastes
With safety in mind, we’ve rounded up five of our top picks for DIY dog toothpastes to get you by in a pinch. These vary from well-known recipes to some that use less common ingredients you may have lying around.
1. Modern Dog Magazine DIY Doggy Toothpaste
About: Modern Dog Magazine’s DIY Doggy Toothpaste contains a blend of easy-to-find ingredients with the breath-freshening power of mint. Better yet, the addition of tasty bouillon makes it tempting to even the pickiest of pooches.
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 cube chicken or beef bouillon
- 6 to 7 mint leaves
Add all ingredients to your blender and pulse until fully combined. Add a pea-sized amount to your pup’s favorite toothbrush and brush away for fresher breath. This recipe has a shelf life of about two weeks.
- Recipe yields quite a bit of toothpaste
- Shelf life of about two weeks
- Mint leaves help freshen your pup’s breath
- You may not have fresh mint on hand
- Coconut oil can make this DIY toothpaste a bit messy
2. Dog Day Getaway Homemade Dog Toothpaste
About: Dog Day Getaway’s Homemade Dog Toothpaste is a traditional recipe that ups the ante with sea salt and cinnamon. Not only do these add a little flavor for your pup, but both add grittiness that can help with teeth cleaning.
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Optional: 6 sprigs parsley or 6 mint leaves
- Optional flavoring: ½ teaspoon beef or chicken bouillon or vegetable broth
For the base formula, simply combine the ingredients and let the mixture stand for one hour before use. If using the fresh parsley or mint, blend your ingredients in a food processor and then let it stand. Store any leftover mixture in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
- Recipe is easy to customize
- Sea salt adds grit to help clean teeth
- Cinnamon gives it a different scent and flavor than many other common recipes
- Coconut oil may make this toothpaste a bit messy
- Including parsley or mint means the toothpaste may stain some surfaces
3. Organic Authority Homemade Dog Toothpaste
About: Organic Authority’s Homemade Dog Toothpaste is a coconut-oil free solution that’ll work great if you’re short on oil. Containing ingredients almost everyone has lying around, it’s the perfect fix if you’re in a pinch.
- 6 tablespoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cube beef bouillon
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon water
Mix the ingredients together in a bowl or plastic container and use immediately. Store and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.
- Oil-free formula is less likely to cause a mess
- Pretty simple, easy-to-mix recipe
- Oil-free recipe may be hard to spread
- Some dogs don’t seem to like the texture
4. K9 Instinct Homemade Dog Toothpaste
About: K9 Instinct’s Homemade Dog Toothpaste is a dog-friendly formula with a spiced mixture to help clean your dog’s teeth. It makes a good amount of paste, too, so you’ll have plenty to go around in your pack.
- 1 cup coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon kelp (diced or dried)
- ⅛ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Combine ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator between uses.
- Turmeric adds a bit of grit
- Turmeric may provide health benefits
- Kelp provides antioxidants and minerals
- You probably don’t have kelp on hand
- Recipe may yield much more paste than you need
- Contains no flavor boosters to please your pup’s palate
5. Animal Wellness Magazine Easy DIY Dog Toothpaste
About: It doesn’t get much easier than Animal Wellness Magazine’s 3-Ingredient DIY Dog Toothpaste. It’s a mint-forward formula that kicks stinky breath to the curb.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon finely minced mint leaves
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or plastic container. Use the paste immediately and then store leftover mixture covered in the refrigerator.
This makes a relatively small amount, so you don’t have to worry about storing a ton. The consistency is also a plus, with the coconut oil providing just enough moisture to keep things comfortable while brushing.
- Produces a nice consistency, which is easy to use
- Yields a very small amount of paste, eliminating the need to mess around with storage
- Doesn’t have any flavor boosters that your dog will like
- Requires fresh mint, which few have on hand
- No flavor boosters your pup will like
The Importance of Doggie Dental Hygiene
Like us, our dogs need regular dental care to prevent decay and dental diseases (and no, dog’s mouths are no cleaner than our own). Not only does good oral hygiene keep your pup’s breath fresher, but it can prevent pain and tooth failure down the road.
This primarily means doing three things:
- Purchase a doggy toothbrush and a quality dog toothpaste (beyond a quick homemade recipe) to keep your pooch’s chompers healthy long-term.
- Establish a regular dental routine. In a perfect world, you’d brush your doggo’s teeth daily, but we know life happens, so in that case, shooting for 2-3 times a week is likely sufficient in most cases.
- Give your dog the occasional dental chew. This won’t completely eliminate the need to brush your doggo’s teeth, but it can be a helpful component of a complete dental-care routine.
We know it can be a pain, but as is the case in humans, it’s a lot easier to do the work now than pay for the damage later.
This kind of damage is expensive to fix, too. Veterinary dental cleanings typically require sedation, which usually means preoperative blood work and other expenses.
If your dog is scheduled to have any veterinary procedure requiring sedation, go ahead and have your vet clean your canine’s teeth while he’s under.
This will save you some money and eliminate the need to have him sedated an additional time.
DIY Dog Toothpaste FAQs
You might be a little confused about all this toothbrushing talk, and you’re not alone. Doggy dental hygiene is one of the most forgotten areas of pupper health, but it’s arguably one of the most important to maintain.
We’ve got you covered with the answers to your top doggo dental questions, below!
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?
Ideally, you want to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, but if you can’t swing that, shooting for two to three times a week is great. You can also incorporate dental chews or other products into your routine to keep your canine’s chompers in tip-top shape.
What kind of toothbrush do I need?
Opt for toothbrushes specifically made for dogs. Not only are they easier to work with and sturdier, but they’re also longer so that you can easily access your doggo’s back molars.
That said, a human toothbrush would work in a pinch.
Can you use human toothpaste for dogs?
No. Human toothpastes contain ingredients that can be harmful (or even deadly) to dogs. As a general rule, never use human products on your pup. It’s just not worth the risk.
Can you brush your dog’s teeth with your finger?
It isn’t ideal, but in a pinch, it’ll work. Remember that while puppy kisses are cute, your dog’s mouth is loaded with bacteria, so wearing a glove is a good idea to prevent any from entering any cuts or scrapes you may have.
Always wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly afterward. Note that you can also buy dog toothbrushes designed to fit around your finger, if that seems easier for you and your pooch.
How long should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Thirty seconds per side should be sufficient. While you might not be able to get every tooth every time, you want to focus on those hard-to-reach back molars that tend to collect the most plaque and buildup.
Is brushing your dog’s teeth messy?
It can be. Remember — your dog isn’t spitting his toothpaste out like we do, so it might get a bit messy if you have a drooler. To prevent any lasting messes, brush your dog’s teeth in an easy to clean area, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
When should I start brushing my puppy’s teeth?
As with nail trimming, you’ll want to introduce your dog to tooth brushing at an early age. Just try to keep it fun and positive, so your dog will establish a positive association with the procedure.
Sometimes, it’s best to start with desensitizing your dog to having his mouth manipulated, which means checking along his gums and even his tongue.
From there, introduce the brush slowly, letting him sniff and check it out before slowly working your way into a tooth brushing routine.
How can I make my dog like tooth brushing?
Not every dog will like tooth brushing, but you can make it easier by getting your pooch started early, so he’s used to it.
Using a flavored doggy toothpaste can also make it a little tastier. As always, keep the experience positive with lots of praise and breaks if needed.
Can’t I just give my dogs bones?
We typically discourage owners from giving their dogs bones, as they can lead to cracked or chipped teeth.
And while dental goodies can be helpful in removing or preventing buildup, it’s not as effective as a quality dog toothpaste and good old-fashioned brushing. We know it’s a lot of work, but your pup (and wallet) will thank you in the long run.
Have you tried any of these DIY dog toothpastes at home? Do you use another recipe? Let us know in the comments.
March 1, 2021
I’ve heard baking soda is harmful for dogs, is that true?
March 1, 2021
In large quantities baking soda can be dangerous, but small amounts (such as for toothpaste) are safe.