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Dental water additives for dogs

Dogs smile with their tails, not their teeth. But keeping your dog’s dental hygiene in tip-top shape is an essential part of maintaining their overall health. Daily brushing helps prevent painful dental issues, including gum disease. Pet parents can take their doggie’s oral health to the next level by adding dental water additives. These dental products are like mouthwashes for dogs. Simply pour the recommended amount into your dog’s water dish and enjoy fresh breath and less tooth decay.

There are a ton of dental water additives on the market, and they’re not all equal. Our team reviewed and tested popular options. We evaluated each one for safety and effectiveness of ingredients, clinical testing, taste, smell, “fresh breath” time, and packaging.

Dental water additives we favored

Our top pick

The TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution boasts the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance. A dental product with this seal on the packaging has been shown to effectively reduce tartar and plaque buildup during clinical trials. Of course, it’s only effective if your dog will drink the water with the additive in it — and our product reviewer’s dog did.

  • Ingredients. TropiClean formulated this dental health product with safe, natural ingredients proven to fight tooth decay, like bacteria-busting zinc gluconate.
  • Clinical testing. This dental water additive underwent clinical testing and has the VOHC Seal of Acceptance and National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal. 
  • Do dogs mind the taste? Our product reviewer, Sara Ondrako, put the suggested amount of product into her dog’s water dish. Her dog continued to drink the water normally as this product is tasteless.  
  • Smell. The Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution has a faint, fresh scent.
  • “Fresh breath” time. This dental additive claims to improve your doggie’s breath for up to 12 hours and make kisses more fun.
  • Packaging. The product arrived leaking and with a broken seal. Fortunately, it came in a plastic bag that prevented it from dripping on other items included in the order. 

What our vet thinks

Because of the VOHC Seal of Acceptance, Dr. Michelle Diener feels comfortable and confident recommending the Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution to pet owners with dogs ages 12 weeks and older. It also earned the NASC Quality Seal, which means the product went through other safety tests, undergoes an audit every two years, and met additional requirements.

She says it’s safe and formulated in the U.S. with ingredients proven to improve dogs’ dental hygiene. Though our product reviewer’s pup didn’t notice the additive in their water, Dr. Diener says other dogs may detect it and not drink water containing this additive. You’ll have to let your pup taste test to get their thoughts.

Our no-scent pick

Pet parents reach for oral care products to nix harmful bacteria and bad breath. A product can have the best ingredients in the world. But the pet has to be willing to use the product, and pups can be finicky. The smell can affect whether or not your dog accepts a dental health product. Naturél Promise takes that problem off the table with a no-scent solution.

  • Ingredients. Naturél Promise’s formula includes natural ingredients that keep your pet’s mouth fresh and clean. This product uses antimicrobial agents cetylpyridinium chloride and zinc gluconate to fight dental disease. 
  • Clinical testing. Pet parents can feel confident in Naturél Promise’s dental health solution. It went through clinical testing and earned the VOHC Seal of Acceptance and NASC Quality Seal. 
  • Do dogs mind the taste? Our dog didn’t know their water bowl was full of ingredients to bolster their oral health. They lapped their water up as normal.
  • Smell. This option is odor-free, so pups are less likely to detect it.
  • “Fresh breath” time. Naturel Promise says its product can freshen breath for 12 hours.
  • Packaging. This product arrived safe and sealed.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Diener recommends Naturél Promise Fresh Dental Dental Health Solution because it has been clinically shown to reduce tartar and plaque. It has both the VOHC seal and the NASC quality seal, so this product has undergone tons of testing and met strict requirements to receive these seals. This product is also made in the U.S. and is safe for dogs 12 weeks of age and older.

She says dogs have fresher breath within 14 days of starting this product when it’s added to their water daily as directed. But some dogs will also detect this product in the water and drink less if they don’t like the taste. “Make sure to monitor your dog’s water consumption when starting a water additive to make sure your dog continues to drink normally,” says Dr. Diener.

Our most powerful pick

TropiClean’s Fresh Breath Advanced Whitening Dental Health Solution is packed with extra ingredients that dissolve, destroy, and defend against plaque. It can also help keep your pup’s teeth looking clean and white.

  • Ingredients. Sodium, citric acid, and zinc are among the ingredients known for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy
  • Clinical testing. This product underwent clinical testing and has the VOHC seal and NASC quality seal.
  • Do dogs mind the taste? Our dog drank the dental water additive mixture with zero suspicion.
  • Smell. The dental water additive has a light, minty smell — sort of like mouthwash. But once we added it to our dog’s water, we couldn’t smell it.
  • “Fresh breath” time. TropiClean says that it can freshen your dog’s breath for half a day when used as directed.
  • Packaging. The product arrived sealed. The cap doubles as a convenient measuring cup.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Diener feels confident recommending TropiClean Fresh Breath Advanced Whitening Dental Health Solution for pups ages 12 weeks old and older because it has the VOHC seal and the NASC quality seal. She likes that it’s made in the United States. Occasionally, pups will detect this product in their water, so some dogs may not like it. “It’s important to find a water additive that your dog likes to help keep their teeth clean and breath smelling fresh,” Dr. Diener says.

Our research process

Why you should trust our reviews 

  • Dr. Michelle Diener helped us formulate this list — Our vet, Dr. Diener, reviewed every one of the products on our list and helped us narrow it down to provide you with only the best, safest, and most proven options. She ranked her favorite dental waters and shared her authentic views on each one.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — Our reviews have no strings attached. Brands didn’t sponsor or gift these products. Instead, we used our resources to purchase each dental water additive, allowing us to give you objective reviews.
  • We sent them off with our product researcher to test in the field — Much of the information in our reviews comes straight from a dog’s mouth. Our product review expert, Sara Ondrako, tested these dental water additives with her dogs to help give us insights.
  • We trialed and tested these products in The Lab — Finally, our editorial team took a close look at each product in The Lab. We also tried a few of them on our dogs to get a final stamp of approval.

How we picked

Dog trying dental waters

Pup tasting dental water additives.

We didn’t leave a stone unturned when digging for the best products. We found the most popular dental water additives on the market, including Amazon and Chewy. Our veterinarian helped us narrow down our list before we ordered them and sent them off to our product reviewer.

Sometimes, once we review a product in-person, we decide that we don’t want to recommend it to pet parents. A popular product didn’t make our list, and we think it’s important for pet parents to know why. We removed dental waters without a VOHC seal at the recommendation of our veterinarian. This important seal means a product was clinically tested to remove plaque and tartar. After our vet’s and product expert’s review, we chose a “top pick,” the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria.

At first glance

Here’s a comparison of how the products stack up against each other on paper.

Dental water additives ranked according to the price per ounce, from lowest to highest

Product Price* Amount Price per ounce
TropiClean Fresh Breath Advanced Whitening Dental Health Solution $16.99 33.8 ounces $0.50
Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution $17.99 33.8 ounces $0.53
Naturél Promise Fresh Dental Dental Health Solution $9.45 18 ounces $0.53

*Price on Amazon or Chewy at the time of our review

How we tested these products

We worked with our product expert and veterinarian to determine the most important review criteria. This step enabled us to bring you the best dental water additives on the market.

  • Ingredients. You want safe, effective ingredients, so we had our vet evaluate each product.
  • Clinical testing. Were these products tested and approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) or the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)? Only products with VOHC and NASC seals made the final cut.
  • Do dogs mind the taste? Dogs mustn’t detect or mind the dental additive in their water. Otherwise, they won’t drink it, rendering the product ineffective and causing dehydration.
  • Smell. Did the product have a strong smell? Some dogs may prefer odor-free options.
  • “Fresh breath” time. Does the product claim to freshen a dog’s breath? If so, for how long?
  • Packaging. What’s the packaging like? Does it include any helpful ways to measure the product into your dog’s water bowl?

Honorable mentions

These popular products are found all over the internet, and others recommended them. However, after reviewing, these didn’t make the top of our list because they lacked the VOHC seal. They’re OK, just not the best. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Bodhi Dog Peppermint Fresh Breath Dental Water. Our product reviewer’s pups really enjoyed the Bodhi Dog Peppermint Fresh Breath Dental Water. They weren’t put off by the smell, which Sara compared to the shampoos groomers use.
  • Dechra Vetradent Water Additive for Dogs and Cats. Though this product doesn’t have the VOHC seal, it does have proven ingredients like citric acid and zinc chloride. It’s odorless and flavorless, so your dog won’t avoid their water, and it comes with a handy measuring cup.
  • Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Care Solution. Oxyfresh claims its dental care product is flavorless and odorless, and 20/10 Sara can confirm. She also mentioned her pup’s breath seemed to smell better.
  • Petlab Co. Dental Wash. Petlab Co. claims its ingredients break down plaque. But without the VOHC seal, it’s hard to be sure.

A popular product that we don’t recommend

This popular product is a hit on the internet, and others have suggested it. However, after reviewing, we decided we can’t say the same. Here’s why.

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Water Additives for Dogs. Nylabone’s water additive may be all the rage on the internet, but pet parents will want to beware. Dog owners often want to avoid products with artificial ingredients and dyes. This product contains blue dye, which could be irritating. And Sara’s dogs didn’t find the water additives all that tasty. Though it temporarily reduced bad breath, the overpowering peppermint smell was a bit much for Sara.

Here’s what else pet parents should consider

Does your dog need a dental water additive?

Dogs of all ages can benefit from dental water additives. This is especially true if your dog dislikes teeth brushing or is a senior pet. Adding dental water additives to your dog’s dental routine is a simple step that you can take to keep their pearly whites in great shape.

Small and toy breeds and greyhounds are more prone to periodontal disease than other dogs. If you own one of these breeds, it’s a good idea to start them on a water additive or offer other at-home dental care. A dental powder, toothbrushing, or dental chews may all be worthwhile. The more at-home dental care you can provide, the more likely your dog’s teeth and gums will stay healthy.

What are dental water additives?

Dental water additives are liquids formulated to clean and freshen your dog’s mouth. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle of the water additive. It will tell you how much of the water additive to add to your dog’s drinking water daily — 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 cetylpyridinium chloride and zinc gluconate are antimicrobial agents that help to kill the bacteria in the mouth that causes tartar and plaque formation on the teeth. 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 at least two to three days per week — daily is even better — and having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned when your vet recommends it. 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 in four easy steps.

Even with daily brushing and annual cleanings, tartar can form below the gumline. Tartar formation is a breeding ground for the bacteria that leads to gingivitis in dogs. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease (gum disease), the leading health problem in dogs. Look for common symptoms like bleeding gums, problems eating, and bad breath. If you notice drops of blood left on toys or food dishes, as well as mouth sensitivity, then you should discuss these signs with a 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 OK with preventative care at home. It’s always best to give your dog excellent dental care at home and always stay in communication with your dog’s vet.

Wipes, sprays, and chews can help, too

Supplementing daily brushing with dental water additives and other products can make a difference in your dog’s dental health. According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, dental sprays may also help prevent plaque buildup. Consider incorporating one of these vet-approved plaque wipes, freshening sprays, or chews into your dog’s daily routine.

Other favorite dental products for dogs

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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?

No. Hydrogen peroxide will cause your dog to vomit, so do not give this to your dog. Only use products that have the VOHC seal of approval as these products are safe and effective in keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.