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The best dental water additives for dogs

Updated August 19, 2021

Created By

Whitney Williams,
More than two-thirds of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of periodontal disease. Left untreated, secondary health problems are a big possibility. Here are 7 dental water additives our vets recommend to help eradicate and prevent gum disease in dogs.
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The essentials

  • Dental additives do more than cure bad breath — They contain a number of ingredients that can help prevent tartar formation and protect your dog’s teeth and gums.
  • Gum disease is one of the most common issues for dogs — Fortunately, there are several simple habits that go a long way to prevent the building of bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
  • Ask your vet about professional dental cleanings — Some breeds need more help than others. Even dental water, daily teeth brushing, and regular dental treats and wipes might not be enough to keep your dog’s pearly whites pristine.

The best dog dental water additives

Comparing the three most highly recommended products

During our research, we pored over reviews, analyzed ingredients, and most importantly, we asked our vets what they recommend on a regular basis. There were three dental additives that stood out from the rest of the pack: Oxyfresh, Healthymouth, and Vetradent.

Oxyfresh is an odorless, tasteless, dye-free dental water. Most users say their dog doesn’t seem to notice anything is different in their water dish. Up against the worst pet breath has to offer, Oxyfresh seems to come out victorious. One reviewer says “My Toy Fox Terrier has breath that smells like a sack of dead crawfish that have been in a dumpster for three days in 95° New Orleans heat.” After the first day of putting [Oxyfresh] in her water bottle, the dead crawfish was GONE.”

You can try it for less than twenty bucks for a 16-ounce bottle, or go full speed ahead and purchase by the gallon. Patented ingredient, Oxygene [stabilized chlorine dioxide] eliminates mouth bacteria instead of masking smell. Other popular dental waters offer a minty smell that doesn’t always treat the root issue. Sodium citrate prevents the tartar formation that so often leads to gum disease. Powerful ingredients and an affordable price tag make this a great choice for your pup.

Oxyfresh Ingredients
Water (Aqua), Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide (Oxygene®), Zinc Acetate, Sodium Citrate, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate

Healthymouth is the only dental water approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. The company seeks to educate on how oral health affects the well being, longevity, and comfort of your pet. Made with human-friendly ingredients, you could literally drink a bit yourself.

Unlike Oxyfresh, Healthymouth has conducted clinical studies in live animals. The price point is well above average at $67.47 per 8-ounce jug, but you’ll only need a little over a tablespoon per gallon of water. Though tasteless to your pet, the additive will turn the water a pleasant shade of apple green. Currently, you can only buy Healthymouth off their website or from participating vets.

Healthymouth Ingredients
Papain, Yucca, Cinnamon, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Clove, Chlorophyll, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Zinc gluconate

Dechra is an international company that creates all kinds of pharmaceuticals for vets. You can still purchase their dental products through VetSource or Vet’s First Choice. Research and clinical studies are behind their products. One study showed a 25% lower tartar score in dogs treated with their dental water.

Dechra’s Vetradent dental water uses a formula called Biotrate technology. The formula actually alters the environment in your pet’s mouth. Reducing bad breath is an added benefit. The water is flavorless, and the ingredients are food grade. Be aware that Amazon is not an authorized reseller of the water. One reviewer describes receiving a product that looked okay but smelled like perfume. Ask your vet about purchasing this one.

Vetradent Ingredients
Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Zinc Chloride, Potassium Benzoate, Disodium EDTA

How we picked our favorites

We started with proven results — We built a list of uber-popular products on Amazon and Chewy that had fantastic reviews. We looked specifically for comments about how well a product worked to freshen breath.

Next, we scrutinized the ingredients — We compared our list with recommendations from our vets and considered the quality of the ingredients. Only one dental water additive touts the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of acceptance, but we didn’t discover any products that were unsafe.

What are dental water additives?

Dental water additives are liquids formulated to clean and freshen your dog’s mouth. Just add a few drops to your dog’s water bowl every day — it’s that simple. Think mouthwash for your fur baby. Most pet parents look for dental water to combat offensive breath, but it’s also a holistic way to promote oral health.

Though dental water additives are no replacement for daily brushing, they offer many benefits. Ingredients like zinc chloride and citric acid can help inhibit the release of sulfuric compounds (read: block bad breath). Sodium citrate, another star ingredient, can prevent bacterial growth and tartar buildup. All in all, they can be very helpful in fighting plaque, reducing tartar buildup, and ultimately preventing gum disease.

How to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy

There are several facets to proper puppy oral care. For starters, we recommend brushing once per day and professional cleaning once per year. To get your pup used to teeth brushing, introduce the process slowly. Make sure to use proper pet toothpaste, and let your dog taste it first. (Or make your own — it’s pretty simple.) Treat breaks are fair game as you get your pet used to sitting still. All it takes is 30 seconds per day to get a good brush in! Over time, your dog should grow accustomed to the routine, allowing you to get a good cleaning in.

👉 Learn how to brush your dog’s teeth

Even with daily brushing and annual cleanings, tartar can sometimes form below the gumline. Tartar formation is a breeding ground for the bacteria that leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontal disease (gum disease), the leading health problem in dogs. Look for common symptoms like bleeding gums, problems eating, and bad breath. Drops of blood left on toys or food dishes, as well as mouth sensitivity should also be discussed with your vet.

A yearly professional cleaning is generally recommended, but that can vary by breed. Some breeds, like Dachshunds and Chihuahuas, seem to be predestined for oral health problems. Other breeds with less crowded teeth may be alright with preventative care at home. It’s always best to provide excellent care at home and stay in communication with your vet.

👉 Take a look at our guide to gum disease for more

Wipes, sprays, and chews can help too

Supplementing daily brushing with dental water with other products can make a difference. Consider incorporating one of these vet-approved plaque wipes for freshening sprays into your dog’s daily routine.

Our favorite wipes and sprays

  • Healthy Mouth Anti-Plaque Oral Spray
  • Pets Are Kids Too Premium Dog Dental Spray
  • Healthy Mouth Anti-Plaque topical wipes for dogs
  • Pet MD Chlorhexidine Wipes


Do dental water additives for dogs work?
Dental water additives are like mouthwash for dogs which clean and freshen your dog’s mouth. While dental water additives are no replacement for daily brushing, they’ll freshen your dog’s breath, prevent bacterial growth, fight plaque, and reduce tartar buildup.

What can I put in my dog’s water for teeth?
Add a dental water additive to your dog’s water, a liquid created to clean your dog’s mouth and freshen their breath. Just add a few drops per day into your dog’s water bowl, which will clear up bad breath and promote oral health.

How can I remove tartar from my dog’s teeth naturally?
Many dental water additives have benefits such as fighting plaque, reducing tartar building up, freshening breath, and preventing gum disease. Many have the main ingredient of sodium citrate, which can help prevent and clear up tartar naturally.

Can I use Listerine on my dog’s teeth?
Don’t use Listerine on your dog’s teeth. They can’t gargle with a mouthwash like humans can, which means they’ll be swallowing or ingesting chemicals like methyl salicylate, menthol, and ethanol, which can be dangerous for their health. If your dog swallows Listerine, it’s best to contact your vet.

Can you put peroxide in a dog’s mouth?
It’s best not to give your dog peroxide. Peroxide will induce your dog to vomit, so occasionally your vet may prescribe it if your dog has ingested something they shouldn’t. But typically, unless your vet recommends it, you shouldn’t give your dog peroxide — especially not to clean their mouth or teeth.