Why you shouldn’t brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste

Close-up portrait of a happy looking Border Collie dog in a green garden.
(Picture: Getty)

Dog owners have been warned not to brush their pup’s teeth with human toothpaste after research suggested it was being used to treat bad breath.

The RSPCA says the toothpaste is no good for your pets, as the fluoride and occasional use of artificial sweetener could prove toxic to dogs if it was to be swallowed.

The research, commissioned by pet food company Lily’s Kitchen, comes after a survey of 2,000 owners showed that nearly 8% had tried to cure their dog’s bad breath with human toothpaste.

But the fluoride in it can give dogs gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea and vomiting, as it reduces the calcium in the blood and increases potassium levels.

A little dog getting his teeth brushed isolated on white.
(Picture: Getty)

The presence of sweetener xylitol in certain types of toothpaste could prove even more serious – potentially leading to death if left untreated.

Caroline Allen, London veterinary director at the RSPCA, said: ‘Not only will pets be less likely to tolerate the foaming and the minty flavour of human toothpaste but there is also a risk to their health from swallowing human toothpaste.

‘While there is a potential risk to pets from the ongoing swallowing of fluoride…the inclusion of the artificial sweetener xylitol in toothpastes is a more serious concern as this is much more toxic and products containing this ingredient should not be given to dogs.’

Alongside toothpaste, the survey also found that dog owners were giving their animals mints to cure their bad breath.

A spokeswoman for the charity advised long-suffering owners to instead brush their pet’s teeth daily with specialist toothpaste.

A purebred golden retriever dog is showing the importance of animal dental health. In this frame the dog is holding a toothbrush in his mouth.
(Picture: Getty)

‘While we applaud owners who take responsibility for caring for their dogs teeth, we would also stress that only toothpaste formulated for dogs should ever be used,’ the Kennel Club spokeswoman said.

‘Some specialist toothpastes for human-use contain ingredients which are unsafe for pets, for example xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is very poisonous to dogs.’