It’s estimated that less than 1% of dog owners brush their dog’s teeth on a regular basis, and nearly 80% of dogs suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Your dog’s dental health is vital to their well-being.
After years of neglect, your dog’s teeth may be more than an unsightly color — they may be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to serious health issues. Fortunately, periodontal disease is reversible and preventable. Besides paying your veterinarian for professional cleaning, you can consider more affordable and daily options.
If you’re new to the world of dog teeth hygiene and aren’t sure where to start, read on. We’ve ranked and reviewed the 10 best dog plaque removers and included pros and cons lists for your quick reference, as well as a thoughtful buyer’s guide to help you make an informed purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites for 2022
The 10 Best Plaque Removers for Dogs
1. Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste – Best Overall
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste is designed to prevent the formation of plaque, as well as remove plaque that has already formed. It does not contain foaming agents, which means that it is safe for your dog to swallow.
It has also been formulated so that it has an appealing smell and flavor for your dog, making it easier to convince them that toothbrushing is not to be feared. This particular paste is not only good for dogs but can also be used on cats, which makes it a great choice for multi-pet households.
While this has proven popular and successful with a lot of pets, there will still be those that simply do not like its aroma or its flavor. Conversely, having a toothpaste that your dog likes the taste of can actually make cleaning their teeth more difficult if they try to lick or swallow the toothpaste straight away. All in all, though, the popular taste and the effectiveness of this toothpaste makes it the best dog teeth cleaner and overall dog plaque remover on our list.
2. Arm & Hammer Dog Dental Care – Best Value
For the best dog plaque remover for the money, we suggest Arm & Hammer dog dental care. For a low price, this kit comes with everything you’ll need to properly clean your dog’s teeth. In addition to Arm & Hammer toothpaste, the dental care kit comes with a dual-end brush and finger brush to accommodate all sizes of dog.
Intended for use two or three times a week, the baking soda-based toothpaste is safe and gentle for all dogs, including puppies. If your dog will allow you to brush their teeth, this product successfully reduces tartar buildup, freshens bad breath, and whitens your dog’s teeth.
We found that this product works quickly and noticeably. However, the toothpaste may have an unpleasant odor and a large number of dogs do not care for the taste. With all that said, we think this is the best plaque remover for dogs for the money this year.
3. Oxyfresh Dog Oral Hygiene Solution – Premium Choice
A lot of dogs hate having their teeth brushed. Performing the task once can be a nightmare, nevermind trying to properly brush their teeth three or more times a week. But dental hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for people. If their teeth become painful when they eat, they will avoid eating or eat less, which means that they won’t be getting the food that they need to thrive.
Oxyfresh Dog Oral Hygiene Solution offers a solution to this problem. It is a non-toxic additive that you put in their water and that combines oxygen and zinc. It gets rid of bad breath and improves their overall dental health. It has no taste or smell, which means that even the most alert and suspicious dog won’t be able to detect it.
This has been a highly popular product for years, but some owners have recently complained that the liquid has been discolored and has an odor, which has made it difficult to give it to their dogs.
4. Nylabone Dog Liquid Plaque Remover
For another convenient product that you simply add to your dog’s water bowl, Nylabone Advanced Oral Care plaque remover simply requires you to add one teaspoon to 32 ounces of water a day for deep teeth cleaning.
This product works by altering the pH in your dog’s saliva to control tartar buildup, reduce plaque, and freshen your dog’s bad breath. Plus, it costs significantly less than our premium choice.
We placed this product at lower ranking due to most dogs detecting it in their water and then refusing to consume it. Also, this product also contains ingredients that some researchers caution as potentially unsafe, such as sodium benzoate, sodium hexametaphosphate, and the artificial color FD&C Blue 1.
5. Proden Plaqueoff Animal Powder
Ideal for dogs who aren’t fans of tooth brushing, Proden Plaqueoff animal powder can be added to your dog’s wet or dry food. Within two to eight weeks, most dogs will have noticeable improvements in their bad breath, as well as reduced plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth and gums.
This product works through saliva to clean and protect teeth. Produced to target unwanted bacterial biofilm in your dog’s mouth, Proden Plaqueoff is made with a specific strain of seaweed harvested from Scandinavia that’s known to create a protective barrier in dogs’ mouths.
Human grade and human tested, this product does not contain additives or chemicals. However, we found that some dogs experienced an upset stomach with this product. Additionally, your dog may not like the taste, and the level of effectiveness may vary. Also, the cost is moderately expensive.
6. Petrodex 484023 Enzymatic Toothpaste
If your dog tolerates toothbrushing and you’re in the market for an effective toothpaste, look into Petrodex Enzymatic toothpaste. This product is specially formulated to reduce plaque and prevent tartar while fighting bad breath and periodontal disease while whitening your dog’s teeth.
The patented enzymes in this toothpaste do not create a foam, which eliminates the need for rinsing. You can use this toothpaste with your own dog toothbrush or purchase the compatible soft-bristled Petrodex dog toothbrush. When used two or three times a week, you should see positive results in a short amount of time.
This toothpaste has a poultry flavor that most dogs find agreeable but most humans find foul-smelling. While most dogs saw whiter teeth, many did not experience improvements with bad breath. Also, this product may cause an upset stomach, and it contains the potentially harmful ingredient, sodium benzoate.
7. TropiClean Fresh Breath Gel
If you’d like to ditch the toothbrush route, you may be interested in TropiClean Fresh Breath Gel. With this product, you simply apply two drops of the gel directly into each side of your dog’s mouth.
Intended for daily use, this gel has a unique blend of natural ingredients, including green tea extract, which works to remove plaque and tartar, prevent new buildup, and provide fresh breath. You should see improvements in the health of your dog’s teeth and gums within 30 days.
We placed this product lower on the list due to varied levels of success from dog to dog. Also, some dogs developed stomach upset. This product contains alcohol, which may dry and irritate your dog’s gums after several uses.
8. Warren London Doggy Dental Spray
Applied directly to your dog’s teeth and gums or added to your dog’s water bowl, Warren London Doggy Dental Spray fights tartar, plaque, and gum or periodontal disease. It also freshens your dog’s bad breath. This dental spray is intended to be an alternative to toothbrushing and works well to maintain your dog’s oral health between professional cleanings.
Made with six all-natural ingredients — distilled water, peppermint extract, cinnamon, honey, cloves, and aloe vera — you can feel confident that your dog won’t suffer an adverse reaction. You’ll most likely enjoy the spiced smell of this product, and we found that most dogs enjoy the flavor.
The few drawbacks of this spray include less effectiveness with whitening your dog’s teeth. Also, it likely will not remove the initial buildup of plaque and tartar in your dog’s mouth.
9. Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste
Included with the Vet’s Best Enzymatic dog toothpaste is a three-headed toothbrush that is designed to reach fully around your dog’s teeth for a more thorough cleaning. When used with the enzymatic toothpaste, your dog will have whiter teeth, with reduced tartar and plaque buildup, healthier gums, and fresher breath.
Veterinarian formulated for effectiveness and soothing qualities, this enzymatic toothpaste contains aloe, neem oil, grapefruit seed extract, baking soda, and enzymes. While studies are inconclusive, the ingredient neem oil is considered questionable for safe use. We did find a few instances of dogs reacting with stomach issues.
We placed this product as our second-to-last pick for two issues. First, we learned that a significant number of dogs did not like the taste. Second, many dog owners did not care for the toothbrush’s specially designed ability to properly clean their dog’s teeth.
10. EcoTime Dog Dental Wipes
With a swipe of EcoTime Dog Dental Wipes, you can clean your dog’s teeth of debris after mealtime. As long as your dog is agreeable to it, you can easily use this product twice a day without the mess of toothpaste.
These wipes remove both plaque and unhealthy bacteria while leaving your dog’s breath freshened. However, they’re not as astringent as a toothbrush and may not be able to remove hard tartar buildup.
While EcoTime promotes that it contains natural and safe ingredients, we found that it does contain methylparaben, sodium hexametaphosphate, and sodium benzoate, which have been found to cause adverse side effects in dogs.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dog Plaque Remover
After reading through our detailed reviews, along with our handy pros and cons lists, it’s understandable that you may still have questions about which dog plaque remover product is the best choice for your dog. In this quick buyer’s guide, we’ll go over which cleaning method is best, as well as which ingredients to avoid if you’re worried about adverse reactions.
What’s the most effective method of cleaning my dog’s teeth?
The answer to that question has to do with your dog’s willingness to allow you to work on their mouth. If you have an agreeable dog, then toothpaste and a toothbrush should remove most tartar buildup and the daily adhesion of plaque. However, any type of dental care is better than nothing at all.
You may also like: How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost? (2021 Update)
Which ingredients should I avoid?
If possible, try to avoid the following ingredients that could potentially cause adverse reactions in your dog, from stomach issues to more severe reactions. These include alcohol, fluoride, grapefruit seed extract, methylparaben, sodium hexametaphosphate, artificial colors such as FD&C Blue 1, artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate, and antibacterial elements such as triclosan, in addition to possibly neem oil.
Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste earned our top pick as the best overall dog plaque remover. This convenient powder has a high level of success for reducing both plaque and tartar, as well as freshening your dog’s breath. You’ll see positive results within a month. This product contains multiple beneficial ingredients, and most dogs like the flavor.
For the best value, Arm & Hammer SF8170 Dog Dental Care comes in a kit that includes toothpaste, a dual brush, and a finger brush. The multiple brush sizes accommodate all sizes of dog. The safe, gentle, and effective toothpaste yields quick and noticeable results for reducing tartar, whitening teeth, and freshening breath.
Finally, we selected Oxyfresh Dog Oral Hygiene Solution as our premium choice for an easy-to-use product that you add directly to your dog’s water bowl for effective daily dental cleaning. This product works well to reduce plaque and tartar, strengthen gums, whiten teeth, and freshen breath. Dogs will not protest to the flavor, as it’s tasteless. While this product does not contain sugar, alcohol, detergents, or additives, it does incorporate sodium benzoate, which could be harmful.
Your dog’s oral care shouldn’t have to be a worry or a hassle to accomplish. We hope that our top 10 list and buyer’s guide have given you a few options to try, as well as plenty of important information about improving the health of your dog’s teeth. With the right dental care product and routine, your dog will not only have whiter teeth and fresh breath but better overall health, which may add years to your beloved companion’s life.
Featured Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock