open tube of toothpaste

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Does your dog have a knack for sniffing out the most unlikely things? It’s a talent that often results in amusing anecdotes, but what happens when they find – and eat – your toothpaste? Imagine the scene: you walk into the bathroom only to find Fido happily munching on a tube of minty-fresh paste, tail wagging without a care in the world. Your heart drops. Panic sets in. You ask yourself, “What happens if a dog eats toothpaste?”

This comprehensive guide will not only answer your pressing question but will also give you the knowledge to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. Read on to turn your worry into wisdom and keep your curious canine safe from such unexpected dangers.

Understanding Toothpaste Ingredients

Let’s understand the two main ingredients in toothpaste that can be harmful to dogs: fluoride and xylitol.


Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste and helps in preventing tooth decay in humans. However, it’s not dog-friendly. Ingesting too much fluoride can lead to fluoride toxicity in dogs.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many toothpastes. While it’s safe for humans, it’s extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause serious health issues.

Immediate Effects of Toothpaste Ingestion in Dogs

After eating toothpaste, your dog may exhibit several symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, drooling excessively, and showing signs of nausea. In severe cases, dogs might also show signs of lethargy, loss of coordination, and even seizures.

Long-Term Effects of Toothpaste Ingestion in Dogs

Continuous or large amounts of toothpaste ingestion can lead to long-term health effects in dogs. These include dental fluorosis (discoloration of teeth due to excess fluoride), kidney problems, and in rare cases, liver failure.

How Much Toothpaste Is Toxic For Dogs?

The toxicity level depends on the dog’s size and the amount of toothpaste ingested. Generally, a small amount might not cause severe harm but it’s always best to contact a vet.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Toothpaste

Step 1: Don’t Panic

Firstly, remain calm. Panicking won’t help either you or your furry friend.

Step 2: Assess the Situation

Try to determine how much toothpaste your dog has ingested and take note of any symptoms they’re showing.

Step 3: Contact Your Vet

Call your vet immediately, provide them with all the details and follow their advice.

Preventing Toothpaste Ingestion in Dogs

Use Dog-Friendly Toothpaste

Toothpaste made for humans is not suitable for dogs due to the presence of fluoride and xylitol. Fortunately, there are many dog-friendly toothpaste options on the market that are both safe and appealing to dogs. They come in flavors like chicken or beef, making teeth brushing a pleasant experience for your pet.

brushing small dogs teeth in bathtub

Keep Toothpaste Out of Reach

As with any harmful substance, prevention is key. Always store your toothpaste in a location your dog can’t reach. This will ensure your dog stays safe even when unsupervised.


Now you know what can happen if a dog eats toothpaste. While we all want to maintain our dog’s dental health, it’s important to remember that human toothpaste is not safe for dogs. If your dog does ingest toothpaste, don’t panic. Monitor them for any signs of discomfort, and contact your vet immediately. In the future, prevent such situations by using dog-friendly toothpaste and storing your toothpaste securely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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