Can I brush my dog’s teeth with coconut oil?
Original Question: Is alternative toothpaste for your dog that is made up of 2 tbsp baking, soda 2 tbsp of coconut oil and 1 drop of peppermint oil safe? - Anonymous
Thanks for your question.
My immediate reaction is that I want you to stop using this formulation as an alternative. The reason is that coconut oil has been known to be toxic to pets. I always consider alternative formulations to mainstream or store-bought drugs and products. There are many clients that like the idea of using natural products as opposed to something with so many chemicals in it and I’m all for that. The only thing I get concerned about is whether it actually works.
Many of these products or recipes may not have been well studied so we don’t know their efficacy, but if the formulation is safe, they rarely do any harm. In this particular case, there is the potential that the coconut oil could do some harm so I would eliminate that ingredient. You could look for a substitute that is safe.
I would also encourage you to look at products that have been well researched with evidence that they work. Many toothpastes for pets perform two functions. One is to help abrade the teeth and remove surface plaque. The second is to have an anti-microbial affect to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and prevent dental disease. Many veterinary recommended toothpastes will have an enzyme that helps achieve this effect. They often are not very expensive and there’s one or two in particular that have been extensively researched and are really safe and reliable. I’m always open to friendly to the idea of using a natural product but if you’re actually putting in the work into brush the teeth, which is a pretty big challenge, I always encourage people to use a really good product. I refrain from promoting products and services on this website because my license restricts me from doing so, with that said, your veterinarian should be able to guide you in this decision.
All the best.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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