According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, 78% of dogs have some dental problem. But, many of these problems are entirely preventable. If these dental conditions go untreated, they can cause issues throughout the body.
Dental water additives are designed to protect and strengthen a dog’s teeth with little effort. They are simply placed into a dog’s water bowl, which is far easier than brushing most canine’s teeth.
They don’t necessarily replace regular teeth brushing. However, they can help your dog’s teeth stay clean and healthy.
Not all dog dental water additives are made equal, though. In this article, we’ll review several possible water additives you could choose for your canine.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive
|Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Dental Water Additive
|Oratene Brushless Oral Care Water Additive
|Oxyfresh Dog & Cat Oral Hygiene Solution
|Dental Fresh Advanced Plaque & Tartar Water Additive
The 10 Best Dog Dental Water Additives
1. TropiClean Fresh Breath Dog Dental Water Additive – Best Overall
The TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive is explicitly designed to treat bad breath. However, foul odors in your dog’s mouth usually indicate dental problems. By clearing away the odor-causing bacteria, this water additive also protects your pet’s teeth overall. When used as directed, the formula stays active for 12 hours at a time, ensuring that your pet’s teeth are also protected.
You should notice a difference in 2 weeks after you begin using this product. It doesn’t work instantly, as it needs time to build up in your pet’s mouth. It is odorless and flavorless, so your pet shouldn’t even know that it’s in their water. This formula works for very picky pets for that reason. If your pet drinks water, they’ll drink this additive.
All you have to do is add this additive to your pet’s water every time you refill their water bowl. They can’t overdose on it or anything of that sort, as all the ingredients are natural and safe. Overall, we think this is the best dog dental water additive you can find.
2. Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Water Additive – Best Value
Out of all the water additives we reviewed, Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Dental Water Additive is by far the best dog dental water additive for the money. Compared to other water additives, this one is very inexpensive. Like many additives, this one is completely flavorless and odorless (for the most part). You simply add a capful of the solution to your dog’s water any time you refill it.
It includes baking soda to clean and deodorize your dog’s teeth naturally, as well as enzymes to break down your pet’s tartar buildup. The solution is straightforward to use, as you need to add it to your dog’s water. There is no hard brushing necessary. You don’t even have to measure carefully since you simply use a capful for every 8 ounces of water.
It is formulated with only natural ingredients and is entirely safe.
Related: Arm & Hammer Dog Shampoo Review
3. Oratene Brushless Dental Water Additive – Premium Choice
While Oratene Brushless Oral Care Water Additive is more expensive than some of the other options on the market, it seems to work a bit better. If you’re looking to go all out on your canine’s dental health, this may be the option for you.
This formulation includes only wholly safe ingredients. There is no chlorhexidine, xylitol, or alcohol included. It does include enzymes, which help counteract the plaque and bacteria buildup in your pet’s mouth. It also freshens breath, mainly by killing the bacteria that cause bad breath, to begin with. It is 100% safe for daily consumption. Your canine cannot overdose on it.
This formula is very gentle, so your canine won’t even know that their teeth are getting clean. There is no burning sensation or anything of that sort. We liked that this formula binds to plaque and makes it water-soluble, and therefore unable to bind to the tooth.
4. Oxyfresh Dental Water Additive for Dogs & Cats
Oxyfresh Dog & Cat Oral Hygiene Solution is a non-toxic alternative to teeth brushing. It includes a patented blend of ingredients that are designed to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. It protects your dog’s complete dental health, fighting against periodontal disease and gingivitis. It includes zinc acetate, which helps your dog’s teeth stay clean.
The formula is straightforward to use. You add it to your pet’s water any time you refill it. It is tasteless and odorless, so your pets shouldn’t be able to tell that it is in their water. It is made in the USA and was not tested on animals. This solution can be used for both cats and dogs. If you have multiple species in your pet, then this can be a dependable benefit.
5. Dental Fresh Water Additive for Dogs
Dental Fresh Advanced Plaque & Tartar Water Additive is a veterinarian-recommended formula designed to protect against moderate and severe periodontal problems. It is made to be used as part of your dog’s daily care routine. It can decrease the frequency your dog needs professional cleanings and make those cleanings quicker and easier.
It is a double-strength formula explicitly designed to help with advanced dental issues, such as swollen gums and discolored teeth. It also kills the bacteria that make your dog’s breath smell bad, which is always a nice plus. It fights plaque-causing bacteria and strengthens your dog’s enamel over time. It can also whiten teeth, though it takes a while to see the difference.
The main issue with this product is that it doesn’t sit on some dogs’ stomachs very well, which can cause digestive problems. Some dogs seem to be obviously in discomfort after starting this product.
6. Ark Naturals Plaque-Zapper Dental Water Additive for Dogs
Unlike most other water additives, the Ark Naturals Plaque-Zapper Water Additive comes in little packets—instead of in a bottle like most water additives. This makes them relatively easy to use since they’re already pre-portioned.
This water additive also works a bit differently from most. It neutralizes pH levels in your dog’s mouth, which helps keep the gums healthy. It also prevents harmful bacteria from growing, as this can cause dental problems and bad breath.
You’re supposed to pour one packet into your dog’s water three times a week. The mixture is tasteless and odorless, so your dog shouldn’t even notice that it is there. Plus, it’s specifically crafted in the USA. It does include enzymes, which form a protective barrier on your pet’s teeth and clear away the plaque.
The main problem with this additive is that your canine can overdose. It is essential to follow the dosing carefully for this reason.
7. Nylabone Oral Tartar Remover Freshener Water Additive
The Nylabone Advanced Oral Tartar Remover Freshener Water Additive is relatively similar to most other water additives we’ve reviewed. It freshens breath and helps clean your dog’s teeth. All you have to do is pour it into your dog’s water every time you change it. Your dog cannot overdose on it, so you want to ensure that they’re drinking it properly.
It is made with a patented formula scientifically proven to reduce bacteria in your pet’s mouth and reduce plaque. No brushing is required for this additive to work. It is made in the USA as well. While it is advertised to be specifically for dogs, many pet owners report using it for their cats.
However, there were a few reports of dogs getting sick after using this additive. Of course, we have no way of knowing whether these users were following the dosage instructions correctly or if their dogs had any underlying conditions. Furthermore, this additive doesn’t seem to be completely odorless and colorless.
8. Petlab Co. Dental Wash Teeth Cleaner Water Additive
While the Petlab Co. Dental Wash Teeth Cleaner Water Additive is very easy to use, it isn’t our favorite for a few different reasons. All you need is a small amount of this concentrate in your dog’s water every time you refill it. It is 100% free from alcohol, sugars, and detergents. This dental wash is specifically designed to decrease the number of bacteria, plaque, and tartar in your dog’s mouth, which can help keep their teeth healthy.
It also helps maintain your dog’s fresh breath, as it destroys odor-causing bacteria. It is made and developed in the USA.
This water additive is a bit more expensive than most other options. However, it doesn’t work significantly better than other options either. For this reason, we don’t recommend it to most. It isn’t bad, but you can get better for your money elsewhere.
9. Petpost Dental Solution Water Additive
The Petpost Dental Solution Water Additive is another more expensive option on the market. All you have to do is add it to your dog’s water bowl, similar to other options on the market. It does not include any bleach, antibiotics, or harsh chemicals. It also has minimal flavor, so your dog shouldn’t taste the difference. It is made in the USA, and the company is quite environmentally conscious. All packaging is recycled, and the ingredients are entirely natural.
This company does have a 100% happy dog guarantee. If you don’t like the water additive after regular use, you can get your money back.
There are a few reports of this substance making pets sick. However, there are no official reports or anything of that sort. The company still stands behind its product and claims that it is entirely safe. The effectiveness of this additive seems to be hit-or-miss. Some reported that it worked very well for their dogs, while others reported that it wasn’t beneficial.
10. Pet King Brands Zymox Water Additive
Out of all those we reviewed, Pet King Brands Zymox Water Additive is quite expensive. You’ll going to be paying just as much as most other expensive water additives. However, you’re getting a much smaller bottle. That leads to you paying even more for a very similar product.
This formula is designed to improve bad breath and remove plaque without too much brushing. It can be used for dogs and cats, which makes it most suitable for homes with multiple species. You simply add this solution to your dog’s water, similar to most other water additives. It supports pets with dry mouths as well, as it ensures that your dog’s mouth is clean from all the harmful bacteria.
Like many other water additives, there are some reports of this one harming dogs. However, there is no scientific evidence that this additive harms other dogs. There are other reports that this additive leaks everywhere, which can cause quite a mess. Some people even reported that their bottle arrived half empty.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Dental Water Additives For Your Dog
Many water additives are relatively similar to each other. Most require the same routine and have similar ingredients. The main differences are the branding and the bottling—in all honesty. Most are designed to reduce the number of bacteria in your pet’s mouth. These bacteria are the cause of bad breath. However, if your dog also has gum disease, these bacteria can find easy access to your pet’s bloodstream, where it can find its way to your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys.
While bacteria are a significant problem, there are other issues that the average water additive has to tackle. Plaque and tartar can both lead to severe problems, such as gum disease. However, this problem is harder for water additives to handle, as some abrasion is typically necessary to remove it.
In this section, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know to choose the best dental water additive for your canine.
The Limitations of Water Additives
While water additives can help a canine’s teeth stay clean, they do have some limitations. They are not designed to replace brushing your dog’s teeth thoroughly. There is no abrasion in a water additive, so it isn’t suitable for removing the tartar. There are very few that are genuinely effective against plaque and tartar. Most of the time, they’re just suitable against bacteria.
Some water additives include ingredients that don’t settle well on a dog’s stomach. This can cause digestive problems and may cause your dog quite a bit of discomfort. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re dangerous. Just like some ingredients don’t settle on your stomach, some ingredients don’t settle well on your dog’s stomach.
In many cases, water additives are just going to be effective when used alongside other dental products. Chew toys, dental treats, and teeth brushing are all nice additions to water additives.
While most are designed to be tasteless and odorless, there are quite a few that some dogs may turn their nose up to. What one dog doesn’t notice; another dog may refuse to drink. You may have to try a few different additives before you settle on one.
Why You Should Use a Water Additive
While water additives are not a magic bullet for all teeth problems, they can help for a few different reasons. They are very good at freshening a dog’s breath, as they can directly kill all the bacteria in your dog’s mouth. They do this every time your dog drinks, so there will be little time for bacteria to set up and make your dog’s mouth stinky.
Water additives do an excellent job of delaying dental problems. This is mainly because they prevent the bacteria from forming and can prevent tartar from binding to teeth. These additives can also prevent the accumulation of bacteria in your dog’s water, acting as a purifying agent. This isn’t a directly advertised benefit of water additives. However, it can be an unintended consequence.
If your dog likes the flavor, it may encourage your dog to drink more water. Simultaneously, some dogs may not like the flavor, which can cause them to avoid their water altogether. It’s a hit-or-miss. However, if your dog does start drinking more water, that’s usually considered a good thing.
Because water additives kill bacteria, they prevent these bacteria from ending up in the heart, kidneys, and liver. This can prevent certain conditions, some of which are rather serious. These water additives can prevent your canine from needing as many teeth cleanings if it works as intended.
Some misconceptions revolve around the ingredients of water additives. Some ingredients can raise mild alarm due to their chemical-sounding name. However, many food authorities are watching the composition of water additives at all times. They ban certain ingredients that are deemed harmful. For this reason, you don’t have to worry too much about the ingredients in water additives. They are regulated.
However, some ingredients aren’t necessarily toxic but may still not be very good for your canine. Chlorhexidine is one of these ingredients. It is considered a disinfectant and antiseptic, which is great if you’re looking to eliminate bacteria. This ingredient may cause inflammation when it comes into contact with our dogs’ eyes, nose, or mouth. For this reason, it is best to avoid them. Most dental water additives do not include it anymore, as its harmful effects are known.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is sometimes used in water additives. It makes the mixture taste better, which is sometimes necessary if the resulting solution doesn’t end up tasting very good. However, this sweetener may upset some dog’s stomachs. It isn’t necessarily dangerous, but some dogs may not be very comfortable after eating it.
Sodium Benzoate is a preservative that is sometimes used. However, in high amounts, it can cause cancer. It needs to be dosed at reasonably high amounts, though. Usually, it is very low in most dental products. In most cases, this won’t be a problem if you’re giving it to your dog day in and day out, though you may see how it can cause problems eventually.
Glycerin is another sweetener. While this sweetener doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits, it is non-toxic for dogs. There is no reason to worry about it in moderation. You just don’t want your dog to be eating glycerin all the time. Chlorophyllin is another additive that is sometimes found in water additives. It is commonly found in grass naturally and is a green pigment. It also works as an effective agent to freshen a dog’s breath.
Potassium Sorbate is a bacteria-fighting chemical. It is safe for dogs in low amounts, which is usually what water additives contain. Sorbitol is another flavoring agent. However, it can have a laxative effect in large quantities. You don’t want your dog drinking a whole bottle of water additive at once. However, the small amount that occurs in a standard dose shouldn’t be a problem.
Are dental water additives safe for dogs?
Because dental water additives are regulated, many of them are perfectly safe. This doesn’t mean they are made with excellent ingredients, of course. Some may contain low amounts of chemicals that can be harmful in higher amounts. However, because your dog consumes such a small amount of water additive, this usually isn’t a problem.
However, you should still check any water additive’s ingredients before deciding to purchase it and give it to your dog.
Can dental water additives help with bad breath?
The primary purpose of most dental additives is to combat bad breath. They can quickly kill most bacteria, which is the root cause of bad breath. For this reason, if your dog has bad breath, then this may be a reliable option.
While there are tons of dog dental water additives on the market, TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive is the best of the best. It is made with safe and natural ingredients. You should be able to see results in about 14 days. It can combat tartar, plaque, and bacteria.
If you’re on a budget, then the Arm & Hammer Tartar Control Dog Dental Water Additive is probably the better option. It is much cheaper than most other options, but it works very similarly. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, we highly recommend this one.
Hopefully, our reviews helped you navigate all the very similar dental water additives available.