Coconut oil is a popular superfood with a wide range of uses. Not only can it be used in cooking or as a dietary supplement, but many use it as a moisturizer, sunscreen, lip balm, hair treatment, and much, much more.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can use this magical oil to care for your pet, too!
Coconut oil is great to use as flea treatment, gentle cleanser, and food supplement. On top of that, you can even use it to brush your dog’s teeth.
Here are some of the reasons why you should be using it on your canine’s canines.
Why Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth with Coconut Oil?
1. It’s Antimicrobial
Coconut oil is made of about 50% lauric acid, a monoglyceride that helps kill off viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The lauric acid in coconut oil can help destroy the harmful things in your dog’s mouth that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
2. It’s Safe (And Beneficial) to Swallow
Although most toothpastes formulated for dogs can be safely swallowed in small amounts, coconut oil is actually healthy for your dog if he eats some while you brush his teeth.
Ingesting coconut oil not only helps nourish your dog’s skin and coat, but it may also aid digestion, reduce joints inflammation, and boost the immune system.
Just be sure your dog doesn’t swallow more than a spoonful amount during brushing, as too much oil can cause an upset tummy.
3. It’s Cheap and Accessible
Instead of making a special trip to the pet store to buy dog-safe toothpaste, you might already have coconut oil in your kitchen pantry. This oil is inexpensive and has many uses beyond brushing your dog’s teeth, so it’s always a good idea to keep a jar handy.
4. Dogs Love It
Dogs love the taste of coconut oil, there’s no question about it. That means that teeth brushing becomes less of a chore for both you and your pup. Yay, everybody wins!
3 EASY Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipes
You can certainly brush your dog’s teeth with plain coconut oil, either in its solid form or melted into a liquid.
However, if you’re looking to add some more benefits to your dog’s toothpaste, or if your dog is resistant to allowing you to brush his teeth with plain coconut oil, the following recipes are a fun way to make your own dog toothpaste at home.
1. Simple Toothpaste
Combine coconut oil with baking soda for extra cleansing properties for your dog’s mouth. Baking soda has the added benefit of whitening teeth, removing stains, and adding a grainier, more paste-like texture to the coconut oil.
2. Toothpaste for Dogs Who Hate Getting Their Teeth Brushed
If your dog still doesn’t like getting his teeth brushed with plain coconut oil, this recipe should help make brushing a little easier for you both.
Combine and mix half a cup of melted coconut oil, a tablespoon of liquid broth, one and a half tablespoons of baking soda, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
Obviously, the broth makes it smell and taste better to your dog. So, be sure to use a broth flavor that you know your dog likes (for example, if you know your dog loves chicken, use chicken broth instead of beef).
Feel free to adjust the top ingredients as needed for the right texture.
3. Fresh Breath Toothpaste
The term “dog breath” doesn’t exist for no reason! If your dog’s breath is especially stinky, or he got into something yucky he shouldn’t have eaten, try this freshening recipe for toothpaste.
Combine two tablespoons of baking soda, two tablespoons of coconut oil, one tablespoon of water, a pinch of salt, parsley sprigs, and mint leaves or peppermint oil in a food processor, and pulse until a gritty, wet paste forms.
You may adjust the first three ingredients as needed for texture, but don’t add too much peppermint or parsley, as excessive amounts can cause a stomach ache.
Quick Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
- Use a toothbrush designed for dogs, and make sure it’s size-appropriate for your dog’s mouth (a brush too large can be painful and less effective).
- Use gentle strokes to avoid hurting your dog’s gum or make him wary of teeth cleaning, and don’t forget to get the back of the mouth.
- Never use human toothpaste on dogs–if you don’t want to use coconut oil, buy a toothpaste that’s formulated for pets.
Oral Care and Your Dog’s Health
As you probably already know, proper oral care is very important for your dog’s overall health.
In fact, brushing his teeth regularly can help prevent painful diseases and infections. Late stage periodontal disease can even cause infection in your dog’s internal organs like the kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, and brain.
Needless to say, this can be very damaging to dogs and even shorten their life.
Although this isn’t a substitute for professional cleaning by a vet, it can drastically lower the risk of diseases and infections, and increase the amount of time in between expensive vet visits.
Any regular checkup for your dog should include examining his teeth to see if it’s time for a professional cleaning, which is typically performed under anesthesia.
During a professional cleaning, your vet will scale and scrape plaque and tartar off your dog’s teeth, and see if there are any infections or diseases in the mouth or any teeth that need to be pulled.
If your dog is displaying signs of a dental problem, don’t wait for a professional cleaning to solve it. Always take your pup to the vet if he’s showing the following symptoms of a dental problem:
- Stinky breath
- Yellow or brown plaque buildup
- Trouble chewing or refusal to eat
- Swollen, red, irritated gums
- Bleeding gums