The 5 Best Natural Dog Toothpastes of 2021

Give your pup the pearly whites they deserve.

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The Rundown
USDA-certified organic gel made with coconut oil, sweet potato, and cinnamon.
Toothpaste that has the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of acceptance.
USDA-certified organic and cruelty-free pet toothpaste that comes with a bamboo toothbrush.
Pre-moistened, convenient wipes that you slip on your fingers.
Coconut oil-based toothpaste that comes with a bamboo brush.

Whether your dog tolerates or dreads tooth-brushing time, it’s smart to choose a natural toothpaste for your pet. That way, you are less likely to be exposing your dog to potentially harmful chemicals.

Be sure to opt for a dog-specific toothpaste, take your time getting your dog accustomed to brushing, and focus on the gumline, veterinarian Barbara Hodges, a holistic practitioner with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, tells Treehugger. The “most important area to focus on is the dividing line where the tooth meets the gum,” she says. “We want to keep the gum healthy.”

We researched the market and found dog toothpastes with the most natural ingredients that were either organic, without preservatives or chemicals, or had some certification or from a veterinary group.

These are some of the best natural toothpastes to try with your dog.

Best Overall: RADIUS USDA Organic Canine Pet Toothpaste

 RADIUS USDA Organic Canine Pet Toothpaste

Radius dental gel for dogs is USDA-certified organic with no xylitol, chemicals, pesticides, GMOs, glutens, fluoride, parabens, detergents, carrageenan, or any type of synthetics. It’s made from a mix of organic coconut oil, sweet potato, and cinnamon, and our test canine subjects (an eager puppy and leery adult dog) found it quite tasty.

You can buy it alone or as a kit with a case and toothbrush for puppies or adults based on toothbrush size and bristle firmness. We don’t love the case (it’s plastic), but we’ll admit that the brush made it easy to clean the dogs’ teeth. It has a rubbery grip with nubs all over it, so it’s easy to hold, and the bristles are soft.

Radius is a woman-owned and operated family-run business.

Best Overall Runner-Up: Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste

Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste

Petsmile has the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance, meaning it has been shown to help control plaque. Made in the United States, it uses a proprietary formula the company calls Calprox which cleans teeth, freshens breath, and stops plaque buildup. 

Petsmile uses pet-safe, human-grade ingredients. The vegan toothpaste is free of parabens, sulfates, and silica. It’s gluten-free and contains no animal byproducts. You can just rub it on with your finger and let your dog lick it around in their mouth to do the rest. It’s London broil flavor.

The company also sells a dual-ended brush for $14 with a large head and small head, although we didn’t find it that much better than other toothbrushes (and it comes in a big plastic tube).

Petsmile was launched by celebrity dentist Irwin Smigel who invented tooth bonding and a professional whitening toothpaste.

Best Eco-Friendly: Pure and Natural Pet Organic Dental Solutions CanineTooth Gel with Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush

Pure and Natural Pet Organic Dental Solutions CanineTooth Gel with Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrush

We’re big fans of Pure and Natural Pet at Treehugger, particularly the company's great organic shampoos. The company is very transparent on product labels, is cruelty-free, and everything is made in the United States. It also partners with environmental, rescue, and philanthropic organizations.

This canine tooth gel is USDA-certified organic and Leaping Bunny certified. Primary ingredients include coconut oil, olive leaf extract, fennel extract, sweet potato, cinnamon powder, and kelp extract. 

It comes with an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush, which is much more sustainable than plastic. Choose one of two sizes (large and small), so you can opt for whichever one will make it easier to work inside your dog’s mouth. We’ve found that small brushes typically are more comfortable for every size dog because you’re less likely to be clunky when you brush. But if you have a very big dog, a large brush makes for quicker brushing.

Best Dental Wipes: Jax & Cali Toothbrush Wipes

Jax & Cali Toothbrush Wipes

For some dogs, sitting through a serious tooth-brushing is just too anxiety-provoking. If your dog won’t sit still for a toothbrush and paste, these wipes are a very convenient and quick alternative, although a little more wasteful than traditional pastes. Just slip your index and middle fingers into the pocket of a pre-moistened wipe and rub it all over the surface of your dog’s teeth and gums.

The wipes are made with natural enzymes and have no parabens, alcohol, or latex. They’re cruelty-free, vegan, and made in the United States. But probably the best part is that they’re just easier to guide around the dog’s mouth, and they can be a quick solution in-between brushings. They have a fresh peppermint smell and come in a resealable pouch. The company is a female-owned and family-operated business.

“Dental wipes are a legitimate alternative,” says Dr. Hodges. “But you wouldn’t want to use one wipe for the entire mouth. Then you’re moving dirt all around your dog’s mouth.” Because these wipes have a pocket, you could wipe one side of your dog’s mouth, then flip it on your finger, and wipe the other.

Best Handmade Toothpaste: Best Friend Beauty Dirty Mouth Dog Toothpaste

Best Friend Beauty Dirty Mouth Dog Toothpaste

This small company based out of Philadelphia creates handmade bath products for people and pets using natural and organic ingredients. The main ingredient in this toothpaste is coconut oil which can help fight bacteria and lessen plaque. The toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride, and it’s vegan.

Dirty Mouth comes with a sustainable bamboo toothbrush, and it’s available in four flavors: vanilla bean, peppermint vanilla bean, orange, and peppermint. (The peppermint oil used is a very small quantity and should not be harmful to pets, but check with your vet if you are concerned.)

Because coconut oil can melt in warm temperatures, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes if it separates. Take it out and shake and refrigerate again. Store in a cool place.

Final Verdict

Radius Organic Canine Dental Gel is our top pick because it’s USDA-certified organic (view at Walmart). Our test dogs found it tasty and the brush was easy to use. Petsmile was a close second (view at Amazon). It has the VOHC seal of acceptance and uses pet-safe, human-grade ingredients.

What To Look For in Dog Toothpaste

Dog-Specific Toothpaste

You should never use human toothpaste on a pet, says Dr. Hodges, whether it’s natural or not. “We know we’re not going to ingest our toothpaste. We gargle, and we spit it out,” she says. “That’s why human toothpaste can be so bad for pets. They are definitely going to ingest it.” 

There are multiple ingredients in human toothpaste that could potentially be toxic to pets. “Xylitol is a no-no. Fluoride is a very reactive chemical,” she says. “There is saccharine and sugars in pediatric toothpaste to get little kids to think, ‘Yum, I’m eating candy.’” 

Make sure the toothpaste you buy is approved for the pet you’re using it for. “I tell clients, If you have a dog and the product doesn’t have a picture of a dog on the package, then don’t use it,” Hodges says. “It’s the same with cats.” 

Ingredients

Besides potentially harmful ingredients that are often found in human toothpaste, check for other things that you may want to avoid. Some toothpastes have unnecessary chemicals, preservatives, and dyes.

Flavors

Dog toothpastes come in an assortment of flavors to make the product more appealing to your pup. “Flavors offer positive reinforcement to your pet,” says Hodges. That’s why so often dog toothpaste tastes like meat instead of mint.

FAQs

How important is brushing your dog's teeth?

Don’t feel bad if you can’t brush your dog’s teeth every day or can’t brush them at all, says Hodges. “Brushing teeth for animals is a wonderful thing and is great if you can do it. But it’s not always possible in my experience with clients,” she says. “They can’t always do it, or they get frustrated.”

Just like with people, brushing doesn’t take care of all plaque and tartar, and eventually, most pets will need a professional dental cleaning. That’s where they are sedated, and they are given a thorough exam, X-rays, and their teeth are scraped of tartar buildup.

How should you brush your dog’s teeth?

Like anything else that’s new, start slowly, Dr. Hodges suggests. Sit calmly and quietly with your dog during cuddle time, she says, and start just by rubbing your finger in their mouth. “Get your pet used to your fingers in their mouth and then move on to gauze, which is fairly rough,” she says.

From there, you can graduate to a toothbrush or a finger brush, which goes on the tip of your finger and can be easier to maneuver. “Make it a positive experience,” she says. “You don’t want to try to brush your dog’s teeth when you’re late for work, and you’re rushing out the door.”

Why Trust Treehugger?

The proud mom of a rescue dog, author Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than three dozen dogs and puppies and tried to get many of them used to teeth-brushing. We also consulted with a veterinarian about toothbrushing and what to look for in dog toothpaste and tested top products on our own pets.

For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent more than six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand. Treehugger has been reporting on natural and eco-friendly products for over a decade.