Use toothpaste designed for dogs, which you can find at pet stores or buy from your veterinarian, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This toothpaste comes in a variety of dog-friendly flavors, so experiment to find which one your dog prefers.
Never use human toothpaste on dogs, notes PetCareRX. Human toothpaste contains substances that are harmful when swallowed, and dogs typically swallow a significant amount of toothpaste while having their teeth brushed. Dog toothpastes are safe to eat, although ingesting large amounts can cause mild stomach upset, according to the ASPCA. If your dog has allergies, read the ingredients list carefully to make sure the toothpaste is safe for your pet.
For a homemade toothpaste that is safe for dogs, try mixing baking soda with beef or chicken broth to form a paste, suggests the Denver Post. This mixture can remove plaque, but it does not contain bacteria-fighting enzymes that commercial toothpastes do. Owners who use this method should also brush their dogs' teeth with a commercial toothpaste every week.
Use a toothbrush designed for dogs to apply the toothpaste, suggests the ASPCA. There are several different types available, from brushes that look similar to human toothbrushes to ones that slip over your finger. You can also make your own toothbrush by wrapping gauze around your finger and using that to brush the dog's teeth.