How Much Toothpaste is Toxic to a Dog?

dog getting teeth brushed with toothpaste

It’s hard to put an exact measurement on how much toothpaste is toxic to dogs. It depends on several things, such as the concentration of xylitol and fluoride, how physically big the dog is, and the dog’s age.

Most veterinarians are shocked to find out that many dog owners think it’s safe to use human toothpaste on pets. Long story short – it’s not. In fact, it can be lethal.

But how much is considered lethal? Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to how much toothpaste is toxic to a dog. You need to take the dog’s age, size, and any medical abnormalities into consideration.

However, one thing is for sure…Human toothpaste can be quickly lethal to dogs. If your dog is behaving abnormally (nausea, seizures, or labored breathing) and you know they recently ate some toothpaste, take them to the vet immediately.

If you’re able, take the tube of toothpaste with you so the veterinarian will be able to approximate how much your dog ate and the concentration of harmful chemicals.

Why is Human Toothpaste Harmful to Dogs?

Human toothpaste contains xylitol, which is tolerable for humans but very dangerous for dogs. Additionally, the toothpaste that humans use contains baking soda and fluoride, both of which can also be harmful to dogs.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that impacts a dog’s insulin production. Xylitol forces the dog’s pancreas to excrete an excessive amount of insulin, which causes the dog’s blood sugar level to drop. This could lead to a quick death for dogs (less than an hour).

On the other hand, in humans, xylitol has no effect on the pancreas and is considered safe for humans.

Baking soda is excellent for cleaning and getting rid of odors around the house, but it’s not good for your dog’s stomach.

When baking soda comes into contact with an acidic substance, it expands, which will cause gas to build up in your dog’s stomach if ingested. In extreme cases, a dog consuming baking soda can cause heart failure and seizures.

Finally, fluoride will upset your dog’s stomach. While this doesn’t sound like a big deal, it actually is. If your dog ingests too much fluoride, they’ll throw up whatever they eat. Fluoride will also give your dog diarrhea, causing dehydration.

These are the 3 main ingredients in human toothpaste that are harmful to dogs. Dog toothpaste contains ingredients that won’t negatively affect dogs if swallowed, so please DO NOT use human toothpaste on dogs.

Symptoms Of Human Toothpaste Poisoning In Dogs

Symptoms of toothpaste poisoning are the same symptoms as any other mild or serious ailment: vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures, and muscular spasms.

In other words, if your dog is doing anything that differs from their normal behavior, take them to the vet immediately.

Dog Toothpaste is Completely Safe

We’ve already established that you shouldn’t use human toothpaste on your dog to brush their teeth. But what if their breath smells terrible and you want to prevent dental issues? Use dog toothpaste! Here are some benefits of dog toothpaste:

1. Keeps Dog’s Teeth Healthy

Just as human toothpaste keeps our gums and teeth healthy, dog toothpaste does the same for dogs. All animals are susceptible to periodontal disease, which is a severe gum disease. Using dog toothpaste can prevent plaque build-up, which will prevent periodontal disease.

2. Doesn’t Foam

Human toothpaste foams, which isn’t a big deal to humans since we spit it out, but dogs don’t like the foam. It will create an uncomfortable feeling, which will cause your dog to swallow the toothpaste to get rid of the discomfort.

While the foam, which is caused by sodium lauryl sulfate, won’t cause damage or distress to humans, dog’s toothpaste is made without this particular ingredient.

3. Harmless if Swallowed

One of the biggest advantages of dog toothpaste, and the main reason you should use it, is that it’s harmless to dogs if swallowed.

Since dogs don’t know to spit the toothpaste back out, it was made with the understanding that the toothpaste will inevitably be swallowed.

4. Your Dog May Actually Like it

Although every dog’s attitude towards getting their teeth brushed is different, dog toothpaste isn’t only made with the traditional minty toothpaste. Dog toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors, such as chicken, beef, and more!

5. Helps Eliminates Bad Breath

It’s not your dog’s fault if they have bad breath. Nor does it mean your dog’s mouth is unhealthy. A dog’s mouth often stinks because of the food they eat.

Brushing your dog’s teeth will help keep bad breath at bay, which is excellent news for all dog owners.

Human Toothpaste is Toxic For Dogs

Although it’s impossible to say how much toothpaste is harmful to your dog, we can say with certainty that even a small amount can produce symptoms. If your dog recently ate some of your toothpaste, it’s better to be smart and take them to the vet right away, even if they aren’t showing any signs of illness.

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