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. There are a variety of ways you can use coconut oil to care for your pet too.
Coconut oil is great to use as a flea treatment and prevention, a gentle cleanser, and a food supplement. On top of that, you can even use coconut oil to brush your dog’s teeth!
Here are the reasons why you should be using coconut oil on your canine’s canines.
Why 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 helps nourishes your dog’s skin and coat, prevent and kill off ticks and fleas, aids digestion, helps joints, and boosts 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. Coconut 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!
Most dogs love the taste of coconut oil, so teeth brushing becomes less of a chore for both you and your dog. Yup, simple as that.
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. But 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 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. Mix ingredients together well and store in an airtight container. You can adjust ingredients as needed for the right texture.
The broth makes it smell and taste better to your dog. 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).
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. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
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 be sure to get the back of the mouth.
- Never use human toothpaste on dogs – if you don’t use coconut oil, buy a toothpaste that is formulated for dogs.
Oral Care and Your Dog’s Health
Proper oral care is very important for your dog’s overall health. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can help prevent painful diseases and infections in your dog’s mouth. Late stage periodontal disease can even cause infection in your dog’s internal organs like the kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, and brain. This can be very damaging to your dog’s health and even shorten his life.
Besides brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you should consider incorporating dental chews and natural oral supplements, such as PlaqueOff (Amazon), but also have his teeth professionally cleaned as recommended by your vet.
Any regular checkup for your dog should include examining your dog’s 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.
While brushing your dog’s teeth at home 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 professional cleanings.
If your dog is displaying signs of a dental problem, don’t wait for a professional cleaning to solve the issue. You should take your dog to the vet if he’s showing the following symptoms of a dental problem:
- Trouble chewing or refusal to eat
- Yellow or brown plaque buildup
- Swollen, red, irritated, or bleeding gums
- Very bad breath