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6 Water Additives For Dog’s Dental Health
Dental Cleanings

6 Water Additives For Dog’s Dental Health

Dental cleaning products like water additives or oral mouthwash are used to eliminate bad breath in dogs.

Water additives are like mouthwash for dogs. Oral mouthwash can help support healthy teeth and gums by controlling plaque and tartar in dogs. These water additives should be added daily to your dog’s water bowl.

These products are not a replacement for weekly brushing or routine non-anesthetic dental cleanings, but a complement to a dog’s overall dental care plan.

Oral mouthwash may help reduce bad breath

Water additives contain enzymatic ingredients that are supposed to break down tartar and eliminate bad breath.

Many dental experts say that adding a water additive (or dental rinse) to your dog’s drinking bowl each day can help improve their oral health.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are five reasons your dog may have bad breath:


Poor diet


Kidney disease


Liver disease



Side effects of water additives

Common side effects of water additives

Digestive upset is one of the big side effects of water additives for dogs. This may include soft stool 💩 or lack of appetite 🍲. Dogs may boycott their water dish completely and may suffer from dehydration.

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Dogs with digestive issues may not be good candidates

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, these products may not be a good option. Pet parents should consult their vet before giving any water additives to their dogs, especially those with digestive issues.

Pros and cons of water additives for dogs


Ease of use. Most dental water additives come in liquid form and can be easily added to your dog’s drinking water daily. There is one product on our list that can also be applied as a gel.



Some dogs may not enjoy the taste 👅  Our experts confirmed that some of their own dogs turned their noses up at the flavor. Additionally, some dogs may have sensitive digestive systems and this may cause digestive upset.

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Pet parents need to look over the ingredients of every brand to ensure Xylitol is not used in the product.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute often associated with “sugar-free” chewing gum, mints, and in some cases peanut butter. This ingredient is highly toxic to dogs.

Dogs with advanced gum disease

Dogs with advanced gum disease may benefit

Some dogs with periodontal disease may benefit from oral mouthwash as it might help to kill the bacteria in their mouth. That being said, nothing eliminates the need for brushing, even if you only brush your dog’s teeth with water.

Best water additives

6 Best water additives to buy

Look for VOHC (Vet Oral Health Council) approved products as part of the criteria for dental cleaning products for pets.

1. TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive

TropiClean Fresh Breath Water Additive

Why we like it: The product uses green tea, which combats plaque and tartar while also fighting bacteria that causes bad breath.

This additive is recommended for stagnant water and should not be used with a water fountain.

2. Staff favorite: Oxyfresh Water Additive

Oxyfresh Water Additive

Why we like it: It’s 100 percent non toxic and uses the ingredient Zinc to help eliminate bad breath.

Many pet parents tell us that their dogs don’t notice the additive at all. Business Insider rated this as best overall.

3. Petlab Co. Dental Formula Water Additive

Dental Formula Water Additive

Why we like it: Pet parents tell us it’s odorless and easy to use.

The brand recommends adding only one teaspoon of this canine dental formula to eight ounces of drinking water. A new teaspoon of dental wash needs to be added to a clean bowl every day.

4. Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Tartar Remover

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Tartar Remover

Why we like it: This product is known to alter the pH of a dog’s saliva to control tartar production and remove bad breath.

Note that this product is not suitable for cats. This is a dog-safe product only, so don’t use this if you live with felines

5. Staff favorite: Virbac C.E.T Aquadent Dog & Cat Dental Solution

Virbac C.E.T Aquadent Dog & Cat Dental Solution

Why we like it: This product uses natural ingredients. It combines three ingredients including a natural sweetener, a prebiotic, and a natural antioxidant.

This formula is made with Virbac’s FR3SH Technology, which uses erythritol, pomegranate, and inulin. Erythritol is a natural sweetener, and pomegranate is a natural antioxidant that helps combat plaque and bacteria.

6. pet::ESSENTIAL™ HealthyMouth® with NutriNeeds™ by W. Jean Dodds, DVM

HealthyMouth with NutriNeeds

Why we like it: It’s certified by the vet oral council and it can also be applied as a gel.

According to the product literature, clinical trials and field use revealed that plaque, and bacterial reduction continues to improve the longer the product is used and that any remaining plaque is significantly softened, making the use of tooth brushing, dental diets, and dental chew-bones even more effective for small animals.

Establish a home dental care routine 🏠

Water additives should be used as a complement to a regular at home dental care routine of brushing, proper diet, and the use of toys to help scrape away plaque and reduce bacteria buildup in the mouth.

Our staff also recommends pets be given healthy chews and dental treats between regular professional cleaning appointments.

Implementing water additives as a part of your regular home dental care routine can help strengthen the overall impact of additional healthy dental care habits you already have in place for your pet.


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Christy Caplan

Christy Caplan has over 10 years of experience covering the pet industry. As a certified veterinary technician, she uses her knowledge to inform stories on health and wellness topics.

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