Does Dog Toothpaste Expire?

Photo by Alex Beattie on Flickr

Did you know that upwards of 80% of dogs have diseased gums and teeth? As we know in humans, our health begins in our mouths.

For a dog, periodontal disease can be especially devastating because it can lead to a loss of teeth and a whole host of health problems.

That’s why many dog owners brush their pet’s teeth. A clean mouth is vital to people’s health, so it’s no surprise that the same would hold true for dogs as well.

But how do you know if the dog toothpaste that your pooch is using has expired? After all, it is made up of many of the same ingredients as human toothpaste.

Hopefully, by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a complete understanding of the shelf life of your dog’s toothpaste and also some products that you should avoid in your attempt to keep your pooch’s mouth spotless.

Why do dogs need to brush their teeth?

Oral hygiene is just as crucial for a dog as it is for a human. This is why so many dog owners instill the habit of tooth brushing from a very early age.

It can become a very natural and agreeable activity for both the dog owner and the pet.

By brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you’ll be able to keep their teeth in good condition and help them avoid oral health problems as they age.

How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth naturally?

Allowing your dog to chew on things such as sticks, bones, and even carrots can naturally remove the plague from their teeth.

You can also find treats at your local supermarket or pet shop that can help remove plaque. These are all things that your dog will love to chew on, and you aren’t going to have to force them to do it.

What dog doesn’t like to chew on a stick and make a mess all over the place?

What are the main ingredients in dog toothpaste?

Here are the ingredients for Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste:

Sorbitol, dicalcium phosphate anhydrous, purified water, hydrated silica, glycerin, dextrose, xanthan gum, vanillin, titanium dioxide, sodium benzoate, methyl salicylate, potassium thiocyanate, glucose oxidase (aspergillus niger) and lactoperoxidase.

Here are the ingredients for Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic Poultry Flavor Dog Toothpaste:

Sorbitol, Dicalcium Phosphate, Water, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Poultry Digest, Dextrose, Xanthan Gum, Acidified Calcium Sulfate, Disodium Phosphate Duohydrate, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract.

As you can see, the ingredients are very similar. The truth is, most dog toothpaste is made up of the same ingredients.

The significant difference between these two is the poultry flavoring. As evidence shows above, you aren’t going to see the ingredients deviate much from brand to brand.

It should be noted that the latter toothpaste is considered a discount brand, and its ingredients are similar to the other, which is sold at a premium price.

The top ingredients in dog toothpaste are:

Sorbitol, Dicalcium Phosphate, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, and, Dextrose

Let’s take a look at what each of these are


Sorbital is a sugar alcohol found in fruits and vegetables. It is often used as a sweetener and is said to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Dicalcium Phosphate:

Dicalcium phosphate is a white powder with a little odor. It is effective as an abrasive and can help to scratch the teeth. It also may act as an antibacterial agent.

Hydrated Silica:

Hydrated silica is another abrasive, but it is more gentle on the teeth than Dicalcium Phosphate. It is also used to make cosmetic products such as facial creams and powders.


Glycerine is a chemical found in many foods and is used as a base for toothpaste. It also occurs naturally in mucus and body fluids.


Dextrose is a sugar that occurs naturally in all types of plants. It is used as a bulk agent in toothpaste and can help kill bacteria present in your dog’s mouth.

These are all common ingredients, and you’ll see them across the board in almost every dog toothpaste on the market. You shouldn’t feel alarmed when seeing any of these ingredients because they’re safe for your dog. None of these ingredients are harmful or toxic.

Can dogs use human toothpaste?

The short answer is no. The reason is because of xylitol. What is xylitol?  Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is used as a sweetener. The reason xylitol is terrible for your dog is that it can cause severe illness and even death.

Xylitol can cause low blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure in your dog. That’s why you want to keep your human toothpaste as far as possible from your dog so they can’t get anywhere near it.

Why has dog toothpaste got an expiry date?

Dog toothpaste contains fluoride just like your human toothpaste does. Floride over time may degrade and become less effective.

As such, the toothpaste may need to be replaced more often than you might have originally thought. As a result, the expiry date is put on the label so that you’re aware of when it should be thrown out.

If you have multiple dogs, using the toothpaste before its expiration date has expired shouldn’t be a problem.

If you have one dog, you need to pay close attention to the date when buying it at the store. The expiration date should be clearly marked on the package of the toothpaste.

If you’re unsure of the expiration date, ask someone who works at the place you’re buying the toothpaste, and they should be more than happy to help you find it.

Can you still use expired dog toothpaste?

Yes, when it comes to expired toothpaste, you can still use it. You should consider how far past its expiration date the toothpaste is.

If we’re talking weeks or a few months, the toothpaste is probably safe to use. However, if the toothpaste is a year or two old, toss it and get another tube.

Your dog more than likely won’t get sick from it, but still, it’s not worth the risk. If your toothpaste is that old, you probably bought it past its expiration date, and you need to shop at a place that has fresher products.

Will dog toothpaste help with bad dog breath?

Dog toothpaste helps because it effectively cleans your dog’s teeth. It removes plaque and tartar, which is the number one cause of bad dog breath.

When a dog has bad breath, it is usually caused by bacteria getting into their mouth and causing the odor. While you may be able to clean your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, there is no way to clean deeply.

That’s why it’s always recommended that you use toothpaste.

The best dog toothpaste for your dog’s teeth is those that contain active ingredients like polishing agents and that have a fluoride formula.

When it comes to picking the right toothpaste, you need one that contains all these elements if you want a guaranteed clean.

You’ll notice an immediate difference in not only the smell of your dog’s breath, but you’ll also see that their teeth are sparkling clean.

What are some of the best-selling brands of dog toothpaste?

Here are a few brands of dog toothpaste that you can find online at places like Amazon and at your local shops. 

Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste

Petrodex Advanced Dental Care Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste

Arm & Hammer Complete Care Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste

TropiClean Fresh Breath No Brushing Oral Care Gel for Pets

Yes, Arm & Hammer makes toothpaste for dogs. If you already trust this brand for your teeth, give it a try for your dogs. However, make sure that you keep your toothpaste separate from your dog’s. It’s easy to mix up the packaging when they look so similar.

Final thoughts

If your dog is one of the unfortunate 80% that suffer from gum and teeth issues, you already know how devastating it can be. It’s not just your dog that will suffer; you will too because bad breath is almost an instant turn-off for a lot of people. Beyond being smelly, there are serious health risks involved with an unhealthy mouth.

If you’ve never brushed a dog’s teeth before, the concept might seem a little silly to you. There’s nothing silly at all about proper oral hygiene, as you know from your years of experience going to the dentist and taking care of your teeth. If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life, you must take care of their teeth and gums, so they don’t end up one of the 80% of dogs who suffer from periodontal disease.

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!