You’ve probably heard of people using coconut oil for many things, from cooking to skincare. But did you know you can also use this superfood to care for your pet? Coconut oil is great to use as a flea treatment, a gentle cleanser, and a food supplement, and yes, you can even brush dog’s teeth with coconut oil.
Why should you brush dog’s teeth with coconut oil?
Before we talk about how to use coconut oil for proper doggie dental care, let’s go through some reasons why you should be using it on your canine’s canines.
Coconut oil is antimicrobial
Coconut oil is made of about 50% lauric acid, a monoglyceride that helps kill off viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The antimicrobial properties in coconut oil can help destroy the harmful bacteria in your dog’s mouth that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
Coconut oil is safe (and beneficial) to swallow
Although most toothpaste formulated for dogs can be safely swallowed in small amounts, coconut oil is actually healthy for your dog if they eat some while you brush their teeth.
Ingesting coconut oil not only helps nourish your dog’s skin and coat, but may also aid digestion, reduce joint 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.
Coconut oil is 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.
Dogs love coconut oil
Most dogs love the taste of coconut oil, so teeth brushing becomes less of a chore for both you and your dog.
Yay, everybody wins!
3 coconut oil toothpaste recipes
You can certainly brush your dog’s teeth with plain coconut oil.
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 their 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. Fresh breath toothpaste
The term “dog breath” doesn’t exist for no reason!
If your dog’s breath is especially stinky, or they got into something yucky they shouldn’t have eaten, try this freshening recipe for toothpaste:
Combine two tablespoons of coconut oil, two tablespoons of baking soda, 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.
3. Toothpaste for dogs who hate getting their teeth brushed
If your dog still doesn’t like getting their teeth brushed, this recipe should help make brushing a little easier:
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 the fridge in a sealed container.
The broth makes it smell and taste better to your dog, so use a flavor that you know they like (for example, if you know your dog loves chicken, use chicken broth instead of beef).
Again, feel free to adjust the top ingredients as needed for the right texture.
How to brush your dog’s teeth properly
- 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 (you don’t want to hurt your dog’s gums, or make them wary of teeth cleaning), and be sure to get the back of the mouth.
- Never use human toothpaste on pets — if you don’t want to use coconut oil, buy a toothpaste that’s formulated for dogs.
- Besides brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, consider incorporating dental chews or other natural oral supplements, such as PlaqueOff.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly, but also have their teeth professionally cleaned as recommended by your vet.
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 visits.
When to worry
If your dog is displaying signs of a dental problem, don’t wait for a professional cleaning to solve it. Always take your pet to the vet if they’re showing the following symptoms:
- Trouble chewing or refusal to eat
- Swollen, red, irritated gums
- Very bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Yellow or brown plaque buildup
Brushing your dog’s teeth with coconut oil can be a great addition to their daily dental routine. The oil has natural antimicrobial properties that improve overall dental health and ingesting it can help with a number of health issues. Coconut oil is also easy to find and is relatively inexpensive.
That said, always introduce coconut oil slowly and in small amounts to avoid digestive upset. You can use it plain, add a bit of mint for fresh breath, or mix it with your dog’s favorite broth for flavor.