I'll be the first one to admit that there are a lot of things that I'm horrible at: running, cooking, cleaning, and too many more things to list.
I once saw an ad in a magazine that read, “a mechanic’s only as good as his tools.” Indeed, I blame my selection of low-grade tools for how horrible I am with all types of machinery.
I'd argue that you can definitely say the skilled can be handicapped by poor equipment, and the same can go for some aspects of caring for your dog!
Brushing your dog’s teeth without the right kind of brush is a perfect example of this problem. It’s darn close to impossible to clean them properly. And the right brush with the wrong paste is nearly as bad.
Tooth and gum problems are very real concerns for your dog, so you want to make sure you are taking proper care of their oral hygiene. Even daily brushing will be less effective without the right tools.
So, what should be in your doggy dental kit to give your pet optimum oral care? Read on to discover 4 of the best dog toothpaste and toothbrush.
At a Glance: Our Choice of 2 Each Top Dog Toothbrushes and Dog Toothpastes
- PUPTECK - Dual Double Headed Toothbrush Kit with Soft Bristles for Puppy Teeth
- TenTen labs - Toothbrush Set - Two Dual-Headed Brushes for Large and Small Pets
- Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste Dog Poultry Flavor
- Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
Note: Some of the links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What Type of Toothbrush is Best for My Lab?
- Don’t Double Up
- Can I Use A Toothbrush Made For People?
- Top 4 Best Toothbrushes For Dogs
- Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Dogs
- Can I Use My Toothpaste For My Dog?
- Top 4 Toothpastes For Dogs
- Shop Smart
- Happy Mouth, Happy Life!
What Type of Toothbrush is Best for My Lab?
First off, you want to choose a toothbrush specially designed for dogs.If you’ve never thought about brushing your dog’s teeth before, you might be surprised to learn there is such a thing!
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly!)
The most effective brushes are actually quite simple. Of course you want a medium to large size brush for a fully-grown Labrador, but your puppy can make do with a smaller brush. Look for one with a long handle so you can easily reach each tooth.
A good dog toothbrush has an angled head, making it much easier for you to control and reach every spot. Bristles should be soft, and firmly rooted in the brush head so as not to dislodge and stick between teeth.
There are brushes on the market that have 2 or 3 sets of bristles attached to the head. The idea is that you surround the dog’s tooth with bristles and clean all surfaces at once. In theory, that’s a great idea!
In practice, however, unless your Lab’s teeth are just the right size, it’s not going to fit properly. Also, it forces you to brush facing your dog straight on, or from behind, neither of which is easy to do. Stick with the single-head brush.
Another idea that sounds great on paper, these brushes slip right on your finger. With bristles at your fingertips, reaching every nook and cranny becomes a piece of cake (or kibble, more appropriately).
Being a one-size-fits all device, you’d best hope your index finger is small enough to be accommodated. Personally, I suspect I lack the dexterity in my pinky to brush effectively.
Don't forget about this potential drawback:
The biggest disadvantage of finger brushes is the need to stick your finger in your dog’s mouth. My Lab would never, ever bite me on purpose, and yours is probably the same. But if something suddenly spooked him, or if I made him gag by accident… who knows? Personally, I wouldn’t risk it.
Don’t Double Up
If you own more than one dog, have a separate brush for each. Using the same brush for both could result in cross-contamination if one dog is sick.
Can I Use A Toothbrush Made For People?
Your first inclination might be to reach for one of the extra toothbrushes you have in the washroom from your last visit to the dentist. After all, teeth are teeth, right? Not so fast there!
Too Rough for Those Who ‘Ruff’!
Many toothbrushes for humans have bristles that are either too sharp, or too firm for your dog’s gums. As well, the angle of the head will not allow for easy access; they’re designed to reach into your own mouth, not someone else’s.
Child and Baby Toothbrushes
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) does approve the use of child-size toothbrushes that meet American Dental Association (ADA) standards. The rounded ends of the bristles are gentle enough for your dog’s gums.
Those who have to purchase these brushes anyway may choose to go this route. However, you might find the small size of the brush difficult to manage in your Lab’s rather large mouth. If this site were called “Chihuahua Training HQ” I’d say go for it.
Top 4 Best Toothbrushes For Dogs
There are many brushes on the market, but not all are created equal. I’ve sifted through the selection for you, and here are the best bets:
Playpaw Dog & Cat Dual Double Headed Toothbrush
With one of the longest handles on the market (8.8 inches) and a wide brush head, this is a properly sized toothbrush for a medium to large dog. The bristles are soft and the head is angled, making it suitable for cleaning at the gums without causing discomfort.
The bristles are soft and the head is angled, making it suitable for cleaning at the gums without causing discomfort.
This product is new to the market, but is already receiving rave reviews. Best of all, you get 4 different colored brushes in the package - awesome for people living with a pack!
Ten Ten Labs Premium Dog and Cat Toothbrush
Sticking with the “more is more” philosophy, here’s a great two-pack of double-ended brushes. Soft bristles protect your Lab’s gums from damage, and the nearly 9-inch handle protects your fingers from damage!
As with any good brush, the heads are angled so as to clean both the teeth and the gums.
Want to know the best part?
They offer a 100% money-back guarantee, but given that only one out of 100 Amazon reviews was lower than 4 stars, I’m guessing they don’t have to cash out often.
Master Pet Dog & Cat Toothbrush Set
This set provides both value (you get two brushes in the package), and quality.
The long handle (8.5 inches) is great for big Labrador mouths, and the angle of the head allows you to easily brush along the gum line, which is critical.
The second, smaller head at the opposite end of the brush is useful for brushing small teeth, or for those who also own a puppy, small dog, or cat.
Round Paw Dog Toothbrush 4-pack
Another great value, this time with 4 dual-ended brushes in the pack. With a very long (8.7 inches), but flexible handle, you’ll have no trouble reaching your Lab’s entire mouth from a safe distance.
The bristles are a bit on the firm side, but this shouldn’t be a problem so long as you keep the pressure light.
At 1.6 ounces, these brushes are heavier than most, but aren’t exactly wrist-strainers. This would be a great set for multiple-dog owners.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Dogs
Another product category for dogs you never knew existed! It takes two to tango, so naturally you’ll want to pair your new toothbrush with some good paste. And how do you know what’s the best dog toothpaste?
Why Use Toothpaste On Dogs?
Simply brushing your dog's teeth isn't enough. If you want to really protect your dog's mouth health, you need to use both a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Using toothpaste can help reduce and solve the following problems that dog's might have:
Oral hygiene is important for dogs just as it is important for humans. With the right care, toothbrush, and toothpaste, your dog's mouth will be in tip-top shape!
A Matter of Taste
Getting a dog to sit still and have his teeth brushed won’t be easy at first, or maybe ever. Choosing a flavor of toothpaste that your Lab enjoys should make things go more smoothly.
Flavor options include:
Some common ingredients in dog toothpaste include:
- Silica – a gentle abrasive for removing plaque and tartar
- Enzymes – proteins that work to reduce bacteria in your dog’s mouth (and thus reducing bad breath!)
- Emulsifiers – salts that help control tartar build-up
- Sorbitol – a sweetener for taste which occurs naturally in some fruits (not to be confused with Xylitol, which is also a natural sweetener, but is toxic to dogs)
These ingredients (plus some others) are what helps dog toothpaste prevent periodontal disease and gum disease from every becoming problems for your dog. With the right dental care, you won't have to worry about mouth bacteria such as tartar buildup becoming a larger issue in your dog's life.
Some people even make homemade dog toothpaste, but you can get some of the best dog toothpaste options online, so that isn't necessary for you to learn how to do.
Can I Use My Toothpaste For My Dog?
There are many ingredients in toothpaste for humans that are not fit for consumption, even if you want to rid your dog's mouth of plaque and tartar immediately. We are ok to use human toothpaste because we are taught from an early age to spit, not swallow our paste.
Now, you've got to remember this:
Your Lab, of course, cannot spit. (Though he can drool like a champ!)
Therefore all the non-edible ingredients, like fluoride, will go straight into the digestive system. Some of these ingredients can cause serious harm to your dog, especially in products like whitening toothpaste.
No matter how much you care about helping improve your dog's dental health, absolutely never use human toothpaste for your dog.
Top 4 Toothpastes For Dogs
Of course every dog has different tastes, and flavor is a major consideration when buying dog toothpaste.
It’s impossible to know which formulation your Lab will enjoy (mine would take anything but lemon, I’m sure), but here are some of the best options for you to try if you want to improve your dog's oral care:
Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste by Sentry
The best seller on Amazon out of over 160 products, and with an amazing 80% 5-star rating – that’s nearly 800 perfect reviews!
How the good people at Sentry managed to make a poultry flavored toothpaste freshen breath, I’ll never know.
Disease-causing bacteria, and tartar build-up are targeted by this paste, which comes in a generous 6.2-ounce tube (a 2.5-ounce size is also available).
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste
Virbac is a leader in pet health care and they offer a complete line of dental products.
Using a dual-enzyme formula, this paste offers a great defense against disease- and odor-causing bacteria. And for picky pooches it comes in the following flavors
- vanilla mint
Petrodex Natural Toothpaste
For those who feel more comfortable with a shorter list of ingredients, this peanut-flavored paste should do the trick.
Containing natural products like eucalyptus oil and mushroom extract, and with no artificial flavors, this is effective toothpaste that you might feel better about using on (and in) your Labrador.
KissAble Dog Toothpaste
An all-American company offering a natural alternative to standard dog toothpastes: what’s not to like? They care about your dog's dental health, but they also care about treating your dog with natural products that don't include controversial ingredients such as sodium benzoate and potassium thiocyanate.
Kissable uses interesting ingredients like Kaolin, a fine white clay for polishing, and Tea Tree oil as an antiseptic agent.
Be aware of this:
While there are alarmists out there who point out Tea Tree oil is toxic when swallowed (which it is), they invariably forget to note that it’s toxic in its undiluted form. In very small amounts (such as in this, and other oral medicines), it’s not only harmless, it’s helpful.
Once you’ve figured out what the best dog toothpaste and toothbrush are for you and your Lab, shop around a bit. You might find that you can buy them in larger quantities or in brush & paste combo packs, and save a few dollars.
Happy Mouth, Happy Life!
Even if your dog is older, it’s not too late to start brushing to help them with their dental care. You’ll be doing your friend a great favor that can improve their oral health removing excess plaque, tartar, and other dangerous build-ups from their life.
As an added bonus, you can reduce the amount of bad breath from dog mouth in your life – now that's a win-win!
Product image credits: © Amazon.com
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All content on this site is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be nor can it be considered actionable professional advice. It must not be used as an alternative to seeking professional advice from a veterinarian or other certified professional.LabradorTrainingHQ.com assumes no responsibility or liability for the use or misuse of what’s written on this site. Please consult a professional before taking any course of action with any medical, health or behavioral related issue.
Jim lives east of Toronto, where he writes and designs marketing material for small businesses. He can be reached at [email protected]"
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