Dogs just love to chew. And they’ll chew anything they can fit their jaws around. As you have now realized, this can even include tubes of toothpaste. But how dangerous is this substance for dogs and what do you now need to do? This should be your approach.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten toothpaste? First and foremost, you want to prevent your dog from consuming anymore. Check your dog’s throat thoroughly to ensure the tube or any plastic has not lodged – removing it if necessary. From there, contact a veterinarian at the earliest opportunity; even if only a small amount of toothpaste, or plastic, has been consumed.
The truth is, it will be impossible to tell how much your dog has ingested.
Perhaps you even thought of brushing your dog’s teeth with a toothpaste designed for humans, before wondering whether this is a good idea.
Either way, toothpaste can be very dangerous for dogs as we shall soon explore below.
Try not to panic, but act promptly and get the help of the experts as fast as you can.
So do this first.
And then familiarize yourself with the following once you’ve made that all-important contact.
- 1 Is Toothpaste Bad For Dogs?
- 2 Will Toothpaste Hurt My Dog?
- 3 What To Do If Your Dog Eats Toothpaste?
- 4 How Are Dogs Who Ingest Toothpaste Treated?
- 5 Is It Okay For Dogs To Swallow Their Toothpaste?
- 6 Finally
- 7 Related Questons
Is Toothpaste Bad For Dogs?
How bad toothpaste is for dogs depends on the ingredients of the formulation and how much is consumed. Generally, however, human toothpaste provides little benefit for dogs; and the risks typically outweigh any pros.
We’re talking about human toothpaste here of course.
This is precisely why dog toothpaste is a thing.
It’s a carefully devised formulation that does not include any of the nasty and potentially dangerous ingredients that can harm a dog.
But more on those shortly.
What you need to know is human toothpaste should be exclusively off-limits for your pooch.
If you want to brush their teeth, which is advised, you must get a product designed for them – such as this bestseller on Amazon.
And that also means being very careful and mindful of where your toothpaste is kept.
Keep it in concealed cupboards – not in loose bags, on the side, or in an open bag lying around the house.
Otherwise, dogs will likely go for it.
And it can seriously harm them as we will now see why.
Will Toothpaste Hurt My Dog?
Toothpaste will likely harm your dog; although the severity of the symptoms depends primarily on the ingredients of the toothpaste and how much they manage to consume.
Nevertheless, pretty much all toothpaste designed for humans will contain at least one of, if not several of the harmful following:
Fluoride is a chemical compound found in pretty much all of the major toothpaste brands – why because it has been studied extensively and shown to reduce dental cavities and support dental health.
Nevertheless, it is only supposed to be used in small quantities – and can lead to fluoride poisoning in dogs if swallowed.
Besides, chances are your dog will have consumed quite a lot of fluoride if they got to your bottle of toothpaste.
And fluoride is one of the main ingredients of this tooth cleaning product.
In terms of dosages to give you some kind of reference point.
When we relate this back to your typical tube of toothpaste, (a 100g tube), there will be enough fluoride in there to cause symptoms in any breed, but smaller breeds under 35 pounds will be particularly vulnerable.
The signs to look out for with fluoride toxicity are digestive upset (diarrhea), vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate.
Consumption of the fatal dose would likely result in seizures, worst case – death.
It must be said that Xylitol is not found in all toothpaste, but you will find it in some brands from time to time.
Xylitol is a sweetener and is added to some toothpaste to make them sweeter and therefore more enjoyable for us humans.
But Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs according to Renee Schmid DVM at the Pet Poison Helpline.
And here is why.
It can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in as little as 10-60 minutes after ingestion – which can be life-threatening. Especially in smaller dogs.
Of course, it depends on how much Xylitol is consumed, but even in small amounts dogs can suffer from weakness, lethargy, and vomiting.
Chewing gums often contain this sweetener too – so be sure not to leave any packets lying around either.
Again another ingredient not found in all toothpaste, but often seen on the labels of the major brands for its cleansing effect on teeth.
You’ll also likely recognize it from your baking too (as the name suggests).
And you may or may not already be aware, but baking soda is used as a leavening agent.
When it comes into contact with acidic ingredients and a liquid – carbon dioxide is produced and the baked good expands and rise.
Does that sound familiar to a dog’s stomach?
Acidic and liquid?
So as you can imagine, a dog that ingests baking soda is going to have that expansion inside of them.
This can be problematic for several reasons.
It can result in stomach or in intestinal blockage, it can result in excessive gas, and all sorts of other digestive issues.
A small amount is unlikely to cause drastic effects, but a small dog or a considerable amount of toothpaste being consumed can cause very adverse reactions – such as severe bloating, vomiting, lethargy, electrolyte imbalance, and diarhea.
Lastly, we have to consider the plastic of the tube/cap itself – which can be very dangerous too.
Not only is it a choking hazard that can get lodged in the throat and lead to suffocation, but if swallowed, can result in intestinal blockage or bowel obstruction (which can be fatal).
Some dogs may be able to pass it through, others may even vomit it back up.
Either way, you cannot take any chances here and it can be difficult to know what, when, and how large a piece of plastic is ingested.
And depending on how far it digests or where it ends up, symptoms may not arise for a long time after ingestion.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Toothpaste?
If your dog has eaten toothpaste, you should seek professional advice from a veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline, or the ASPCA at the earliest opportunity. Treating your dog yourself is not advised as it can exacerbate the problems and result in the loss of invaluable time in getting your dog treated.
The exact plan of action should come from those experienced and with the knowledge in helping your dog during this time.
And they’ll likely need to act fast to ensure that any toxic ingredient swallowed is safely and quickly removed from your dog’s body.
It is also advised that you have your exact brand (and bottle) of toothpaste to hand.
This will allow you to show or read out the ingredients to the professional you are talking with.
It will also enable them to inspect what, and how much has been consumed.
Treatment options may vary, as we will now take a look at below.
How Are Dogs Who Ingest Toothpaste Treated?
How a dog is treated following toothpaste ingestion depends primarily on what, how much, and when it was consumed. Vets will often take a tailored approach to ensure that any toxic substance is quickly and safely removed from the body.
We’ll first take a look at how harmful ingredients are often treated before we turn to how a vet will remove any swallowed plastic as that can result in a somewhat different approach.
Flouride, Xylitol, Toxic Substance Treatment
Treatment here is primarily centered around getting the toxic substance removed from your dog in a safe manner.
If the toothpaste was consumed very recently, your vet will likely induce vomiting in your dog.
The idea here is that toxic substances are removed long before the substance is absorbed.
But they will need to act quickly here and this is not always an option.
Nevertheless, your vets will likely hospitalize your dog for 24-48 hours.
Here, they will ensure your dog has optimal hydration and a balanced blood sugar level through the use of intravenous fluids and sugar solution via a drip.
This also will help to treat any potential hypoglycemia and electrolyte imbalance.
This will help your dog to naturally flush the substances out.
It requires close monitoring, and other tests (blood/urine) to check the organs of the body and to ensure they have not been damaged.
After your dog has been discharged, it is likely that you will need to return for additional tests in the days/weeks following.
Plastic Ingestion Treatment
If your dog consumed plastic, instead of or along with the toothpaste itself, your vet will also consider induced vomiting.
Whether they do this depends on when the plastic was swallowed and where it likely resides in your dog’s body. It is most likely if your dog has plastic in its stomach.
While inducing vomiting can be achieved at home, it is strongly advised that you do not attempt this yourself.
It can be very dangerous – particularly if plastic is stuck in your dog’s throat, you use the wrong substances to do so, or you fail to support your dog during and following.
Depending on the size of your dog and the plastic; your vet may even decide on trying to let the plastic naturally pass through.
This again requires the expertise of a professional; and close monitoring and tests along the way.
Sometimes these tests will result in more thorough investigations, such as X-Rays and/or Ultrasound.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Swallow Their Toothpaste?
It should be okay for a dog to swallow a toothpaste designed for dogs. This is because all potentially harmful and toxic ingredients are not included. Still, it is not beneficial nor advised that they routinely do so.
So, be sure to use a small amount.
And do so with a toothbrush designed for dogs too; which often is smaller in size and has smaller bristles.
Or you can always get a dog chew toy and put some dog toothpaste on that.
Nevertheless, if you opt for a vet-approved dog toothpaste, like this one from Amazon, you should find a very limited ingredient list.
Of course, there are other options and brands on the market, but why take the risk when this formulation is available at such a great price.
- SOOTHING AND EFFECTIVE - Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dental Gel Toothpaste is a veterinarian formulated soothing and effective mix of aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, baking soda, and enzymes
- CLEANS AND FRESHENS - Freshens breath and gently cleans away plaque and tartar
- PART OF A HEALTHY REGIMEN - Supports your dog’s dental hygiene between annual cleanings at your vet’s office
- NATURAL FLAVORS - Your dog will love the great taste. You will love how it brightens and whitens teeth while freshening the breath
- SAME FORMULA, NEW PACKAGE - The same great Vet’s Best dental gel is now available in an easy to use squeeze tube
Never leave your toothpaste lying around and never use your own toothpaste on your dog.
That’s really the lesson to be learned here.
And while it may be something we use on a daily basis for better dental hygiene and health, it’s easy to forget that this is a small package of toxic substances for dogs.
And it can be fatal if they do ingest it, as you will have learned here today.
Thankfully, most dogs who do consume toothpaste never really consume the toxic amount.
And those that are treated quickly typically make a full recovery.
But that’s the all-important word here.
You need to act promptly.
And get the right advice, from professionals only.
Even then, not every dog or every owner is so lucky.
And sometimes if a dog does ingest the fatal does but does manage to elude death, they can be left with long-term health complications.
It can seriously affect their quality of life.
So you must remain vigilant to ensure that this does not happen again.
Colgate is not safe for dogs, in any amount. Instead, you should get a Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approved toothpaste designed specifically for dogs.
A small amount of human toothpaste is unlikely to cause severe symptoms in your dog. Although, you may notice some digestive upset along with other adverse reactions. You will need to monitor your dog very closely and be willing and able to contact a vet if symptoms worsen.
Human toothpaste can kill a dog, but only in certain cases where a lot of toothpaste has been consumed and a dog is not quickly treated. Nevertheless, human toothpaste should never be used on a dog, and even in small amounts, can cause dangerous adverse reactions and require immediate veterinary support.
Concerned or wondering what other things your dog can/cannot eat. Check out my related guides below:
- My Dog Ate A Bandaid [Here’s What You Now Need To Do]
- My Dog Ate A Baby Wipe [It Is Crucial That You Now…]
- My Dog Ate Aspirin [This Is What You Must Now Do]
- Dog Ate Cough Drops [This Is What You Know Need To Do]
- My Dog Ate Poop How Do I Clean His Mouth? [The Best Options]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.