How Much Human Toothpaste Is Bad For Dogs? GUIDE

The question of how much human toothpaste is bad for dogs is bothersome, especially if your dog has consumed human toothpaste. 

We’ll go over why human toothpaste is bad for dogs and what to do if you know or suspect your dog has ingested your toothpaste.

Exactly How Much Human Toothpaste Is Bad for Dogs?

There is not a safe amount of human toothpaste for your dog.

If the toothpaste contains xylitol, even a tiny amount can be deadly to your dog and requires immediate emergency intervention.

A small amount of toothpaste without xylitol is bad for your dog, but may not require emergency services.

Have the tube in-hand and call your vet immediately to see if the ingredients require immediate intervention.

Why Is It So Important To Use Toothpaste Designed for Dogs?

Dogs may be tempted to eat human toothpaste.
Some human toothpastes contain high levels of sodium which may make your pet ill, while others may contain xylitol which is toxic for dogs.

Human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs if they consume any amount, depending on the ingredients. It can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and even vomiting.

Some ingredients, like xylitol, can cause liver damage with consumption of less than a tenth of a gram.

Many people might not think twice about using human toothpaste on their pets, and some go so far as to recommend its use for dogs, but the truth is that it’s not as effective as dog toothpaste.

That’s because human toothpaste is designed to clean and protect our teeth, which are different in shape and size from dogs’ teeth.

Also, our teeth have different bacteria, enzymes, and pH than dog teeth.

Dog toothpaste, on the other hand, is specifically made to clean and protect dogs’ teeth, which have a different surface area and need different ingredients than human teeth.

Dog toothpaste contains enzymes and antimicrobial agents that are the most effective at cleansing your dog’s teeth safely.

Read our related article on How to Make Dog Toothpaste at Home for an easy DIY recipe to clean your dog’s teeth SAFELY!

9 Reasons Why Human Toothpaste Is Dangerous For Dogs

1. It usually contains fluoride, which is poisonous to dogs and can cause serious health problems.

2. It often contains detergents like sodium laureth sulfate and other chemicals which can be toxic to dogs if ingested.

3. Many toothpastes (especially non-fluoridated formulas) contain xylitol or other artificial sweeteners which are fine for humans, but cause liver damage or even be deadly for dogs.

4. The flavoring in some toothpastes can be harmful or even fatal to dogs if ingested.

5. Toothpaste ingredients like glycerin can often cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs, such as vomiting and diarrhea, especially if they are consumed in larger quantities.

6. If swallowed in large amounts, the high sodium content in toothpaste can cause electrolyte imbalances in dogs, leading to a potentially life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia.

7. Some toothpaste contains abrasives that can damage a dog’s teeth if used regularly. Dog toothpastes contain safe abrasives and enzymes that do the work of cleansing in a species-appropriate way.

8. Ingesting toothpaste can sometimes cause choking in dogs because it is thick and sticky.

9. Swallowing toothpaste can also lead to blockages in a dog’s digestive system because it is very difficult to digest the detergents and abrasives.

If you suspect your dog has ingested toothpaste, call your veterinarian immediately. If it is after hours, contact your local veterinary ER for assistance.

Have the tube handy so you can read the ingredients over the phone.

Symptoms of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

Human toothpaste can poison a dog
Human toothpaste should not be used on a dog. If a dog has eaten human toothpaste, call the vet immediately.

If your dog ingests human toothpaste, it may experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.

In more severe cases, your dog may have trouble breathing or experience seizures. These symptoms are signs that your dog is potentially suffering from organ damage.

If you think your dog has ingested too much toothpaste, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately. 

The vet may want to induce vomiting or pump your dog’s stomach, depending on the ingredients in the toothpaste. The dog may need IV fluids to prevent dehydration.

The dog may need hospitalization if organ damage is suspected or has occurred.

How Can I Keep My Dog From Eating My Toothpaste?

Keep human toothpaste away from your dog
Keep your toothpaste away from your dog, and only dog toothpaste for cleaning your dog’s teeth.

1. Keep toothpaste out of reach. Store it in a cabinet or drawer that your dog cannot reach. If your dog has a taste for your toothpaste, and gets into everything, use a locking cabinet.

2. Always use dog-safe toothpaste. There are many brands of toothpaste made specifically for dogs. These products are safe for your dog to ingest and will not cause any health problems.

3. Be vigilant when brushing your teeth. Don’t leave your toothpaste lying around while you brush your teeth, because your dog will take advantage of your oversight and eat it while he can.

Our dogs love to be a part of everything we do, so we take advantage of this by brushing their teeth at night after we brush ours.

They look forward to this time when they get a delicious meaty enzyme toothpaste scrubbing. When we’re done we give them a Greenie dental chew as a reward which helps to clean areas we may have missed.

This routine keeps their teeth clean, breath fresh, and keeps them out of our toothpaste because they know theirs tastes better and they get to have some soon.

If you want to keep your dog’s mouth cleaner but it doesn’t like having its teeth brushed, we recommend keeping your dog’s mouth busy with dental chews as often as possible.

They can’t replace brushing and dental vet visits, but they really help to loosen plaque and cut down on the amount of tartar buildup.

Read our related article on How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth the RIGHT Way! Give your dog the best in-home dental care possible with our tips and tricks.

Final Thoughts

So, how much human toothpaste is bad for dogs?

Human toothpaste can cause serious health problems if your dog eats any amount. If you think your dog has eaten human toothpaste, call your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

With prompt medical care, most dogs will recover from human toothpaste poisoning without any lasting effects.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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