Can You Brush A Dog’s Teeth with Human Toothpaste: Yes or No?

can you brush a dog's teeth with human toothpaste
5 min read

Can you brush a dog’s teeth with human toothpaste? The answer is “no”. Human toothpaste is very harmful to dogs.

It contains substances that are not okay for your dog. Dogs usually swallow toothpaste so it is important to have a safe and dog toothpaste when brushing their teeth.

Reasons for the unsafety of human toothpaste for dogs

Here are the top reasons to answer whether you can you brush a dog’s teeth with human toothpaste or not

1.) It contains additives

The presence of additives and surfactant agent is not good for dogs. These additives are used to make foam. However, humans can spit them out and rinse their mouth while dogs tend to swallow them.

This is especially dangerous to dogs because they end up with liver damage. An example of a surfactant agent is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It can cause gut problems in dogs if swallowed in quantities.

2.) Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that is used substitute in human foods and hygiene products. It has been linked to preventing tooth decay in humans.

This is the reason that it is added to toothpaste as a sugar free sweetener that improves and maintains teeth health.

It causes two problems. They are hypoglycemia and liver damage.

can you brush a dog's teeth with human toothpaste


When your dog consumes xylitol, it tricks the body into thinking that it consumed sugar.

When sugar is consumed, the pancreas releases lots of a hormone called insulin. So your dog’s body makes insulin when there really isn’t any sugar consumed.

As a result, this insulin takes blood sugars in the body out of the bloodstream. Because there is already no sugar consumed, your dog ends up with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

Liver damage

The liver works on digesting and converting nutrients into energy, removes toxic substances from the blood, and stores vitamins and minerals.

Xylitol causes liver damage and drives blood sugar levels down. Liver damage causes the liver to become inflamed and cause liver cell loss which causes serious problems.

In addition, Xylitol acts as a slow releasing toxin that over time can cause poisoning to your dog and lead to death.

Signs of xylitol poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness, collapse, seizures, tremors. These signs usually appear within the first 15 minutes from ingesting xylitol.
  • From nine hours and even to three days, there may be signs of liver failure that appear such as yellowing of gums, yellowing of the skin, and yellowing of the white in the eyes.
  • Blood in stool
  • May include bleeding internally or externally due to blood clotting difficulty.
  • Neurologic problems due to liver not taking out toxins out of the blood.

3.) Fluoride

Human toothpaste contains fluoride because it prevents tooth decay in humans. However that’s not the case with dogs, fluoride , in a high dosage, can be toxic to your dogs.

The reason is that dogs tend to swallow human toothpaste. It is possible to have one of the two cases of poisoning.

The first happens where a large dose of fluoride is consumed causing poisoning and is least likely to happen. The second that is more prevalent is the exposure over time to fluoride toxins which over months or even years can lead to poisoning.

The signs differ in both cases.

Signs of high dose of fluoride

  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Weakness and seizures
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Sudden death

Signs of chronic poisoning from fluoride

  • Discoloration or mottling of teeth
  • Dog limping
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

What to do if your dog is poisoned from human toothpaste

can you brush a dog's teeth with human toothpaste

Call and go to a veterinary emergency hospital immediately. This is a very serious and life threatening condition that will lead to your dog’s death if left untreated.

Treatment plan

Xylitol poisoning

If your dog has Xylitol poisoning, your vet will try methods that make your dog vomit so they can expel the toxins. However, this partially treats the problem.

Your dog has low blood sugar levels so your vet will place them on a fluid therapy.

Fluoride poisoning

A high dose of fluoride poisoning will lead to death if not treated in first few hours. If it is ingested recently, your vet will tell you ways to induce vomiting in your dog.

Your vet can also give your dog milk to reduce the absorption of the toxins. Although, the method isn’t very successful and most cases end up dead.

If your dog has chronic fluoride poisoning, your dog is also in danger. Because once the signs appear, reversal of the poisoning is unlikely to happen.


  • Keep the products containing these harmful substances in a place that is far away from your dog.
  • Read the labels to know which products contain these harmful substances in them.

What kind of toothpaste to use on your dog and how to apply it?

You should use a dog toothpaste. They often come in flavors that your dog likes such as poultry, meat, malt and other varieties that your dog accepts. Never use human toothpaste as it is very harmful to dogs.

Steps when to use dog toothpaste

can you brush a dog's teeth with human toothpaste
Credited: AKC
  • Use a dog toothbrush
  • Never use human toothpaste. Instead use a toothpaste that is for dogs with flavors that they will love.
  • Give your dog a small piece of toothpaste so they get to know the taste.
  • Lift the lip so you can see the outside surface of the gums and teeth of your dog.
  • Brush with gentle motion and clean the outside surface of the teeth. Try to clean the inside surface of the teeth because most dogs don’t let you clean them.
  • Also reach the back upper molars and canines because these teeth become quickly infected with tartar.
  • Reward your dog with praise and treats for doing a good job.

How often to you brush your dog’s teeth?

Ideally, your dog’s teeth should be brushed everyday. There are many dental care products, pastes, chew toys, and dental diets that maintain your dog’s dental health.

How often to have your dog’s teeth brushed professionally

Even if you brush your dog’s teeth at home, you need to take your dog to the vet to clean your dog’s teeth at least for once per year. These cleanings prevent tartar build up, gum disease, and other diseases that can be fatal to your dog’s life if left untreated.


In conclusion, we covered the answer to can you brush a dog’s teeth with human toothpaste. Human toothpaste is very harmful for your dog’s health. It can cause serious symptoms and may lead to their death.

To learn more about cleaning your dog’s teeth naturally, check Top 7 Ways on How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Naturally



Welcome to my bio everyone, my name is Nada. Ever since I was little, I have loved animals because they are so loving and kind. All they need is you attention, love, and care but I didn't understand them very well because I didn't get the chance to raise them. Well, That changed when my family and I got our first dog Rocky, a German Shepherd. Rocky was fun and loving with funny quirks. Being loyal and protective of us, he made me see the nature of a German Shepherd. Now, we have another German Shepherd named Mia. She is a wonderful dog and a rescue who just needed a second chance in life. Mia has long grown from being a terrified dog to the brave and caring German Shepherd that she is today. P.S: Here is a picture of our beautiful German Shepherd, Mia.

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