Dog Dental Water Additive - What It Is and How to Use It

When caring for your pet's dental health, your vet has probably mentioned giving a dog dental water additive for your pooch's teeth and gum health.

Or maybe, you haven't really thought about your dog’s dental hygiene at all!

But as a pet parent, it should be at the top of your priority list.

Did you know that in humans, poor dental health is linked to diabetes and other diseases caused by bacteria in the bloodstream?

Okay… but what does that have to do with my dog?

Well, experts say that it's safe to assume the same for dogs!

In fact, clinical specialist and dental hygienist Kimi H. Kan-Rohrer, RDHAP, BSDH of the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in UC Davis said:

“Because pets are living longer, dog dental care has become more important to address as it can be connected to other health issues

This is especially true as your pooch ages.

So you see?

It's really important not to ignore your dog's dental health!

Veterinary dentist Dr. Bert Gaddis, DVM, DAVDC of the Animal Dental Specialists in Pelham, Alabama, advised:

“You should brush your dog’s teeth daily or every other day because plaque is easily brushed away and takes about 48-72 hours to harden and calcify. Once it’s calcified, it needs to be scraped off by a professional.”

By regularly maintaining your dog’s dental health, not only you'll give him a sparkly white smile, but you'll also decrease the number of bacteria in his mouth.

Said bacteria may enter the animal's bloodstream and may cause damage to internal organs, teeth, and gums.

The Epidemic of Dental Health Problems among Dogs

Over 85 percent of dogs (VIN reports) three years or older experience dental hygiene problems that require treatment by a professional.

During routine dental checks, the common problems that veterinarians find are stained teeth, bleeding or inflamed gums, and a buildup of plaque and tartar.

These problems can be prevented by using the proper products aimed at helping your dog's overall mouth health.

One such product is the dog dental water additive.

Dental rinses and water additives are designed to complement traditional toothbrushing,

-Dr. Bert Gaddis, DVM, DAVDC

If you haven't heard of what dental water additives are, keep on reading!

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Dental Care

Best Dog Dental Water Additive Heres What It Is and How to Use It

What's a Dental Water Additive for Dogs?


It's Listerine for dogs that are safe to consume!

They have also been recently endorsed by veterinarians and the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

As of February 2023, there's only one water additive supported by the VOHC from the HealthyMouth® brand. (source, PDF).

What's a Dog Dental Water AdditiveDental water additives and water rinses for dogs are a relatively new way to help keep your dog’s mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.

So how do they work?

All you have to do is add them to your dog's drinking water daily.

This can help your dog’s mouth, similar to how you use mouthwash.

Some additives claim they can decrease bad breath, prevent calculus buildup, and kill microbes in a dog's mouth.

A dog dental water additive works by using chemicals, natural and/or non-natural, to break down plaque and minerals that collect in the dog’s mouth.

Some of these chemicals act as antibacterial and antiseptic agents.

But did you know that water additives will not only keep your pooch's mouth clean?

It'll also help keep his water clean!

As reported, pet bowls are often riddled with different bacteria, posing another layer of danger.

By reducing the bacteria in your dog’s water (with the help of water additives, of course!), you can also keep their immune system healthy!

Now, a head's up.

Each brand of a dog dental water additive and dental rinse may have slightly different instructions for use.

However, they are all fairly similar and simple in terms of usage.

How Do I Use a Dog Dental Water Additive?

So how do I have my dog take them?

First, as always, check with your vet for the proper use and advice before beginning any new supplements or additives.


To make sure that they don't interfere with your pooch's preexisting condition or any meds that they're on!

If you get your vet's go signal, refer to the instruction on the additive's packaging.

This typically involves dispensing a predetermined, measured amount of the additive into a specific amount of water in your dog’s bowl.

For example, to use Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Tartar Remover combine one tablespoon of the additive with 32 ounces of water:

Nylabone water dental additive for dogs

Most dog dental water additives should be added to your pet's drinking water daily unless otherwise noted on the label.

Your dog's bowl should also be cleaned thoroughly once the water containing the additives has been consumed.

Can't I just brush my dog's teeth or give him dental chews? Why should I buy an additional dental water additive?

I hear you.

Below are some of the advantages of using dental water additives for your dog.

What Are the Pros of Using Dog Dental Water Additives?

As noted above, dental water additives for dogs help keep your dog's mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.

This will also help break down plaque and tartar buildup between brushings and routine cleanings.

Treat and Prevent Oral Bacteria

Adding dental water additives to your pup's water will also kill harmful bacteria.

Killing the harmful bacteria in a dog’s mouth can help freshen their breath and keep the bacteria out of their bloodstream.

Many users of dental water additives report that the brown stains on their dog's teeth have decreased.

They have whiter teeth in addition to the removal of plaque.

Easy to Use

You've probably sustained a couple of shallow bites from your dog when brushing his teeth.

I know I have.

The beauty of dental water additives is they're easy to use.

Dogs do not have to be trained to sit and behave like when someone is brushing their teeth.

Safer & Cheaper Compared to Routine Cleaning

They're much safer than a routine cleaning which requires the use of anesthesia.

Routine cleaning, by the way, is still the ultimate way to clean your dog's teeth, according to vets. 

But using dental water additives is way cheaper as compared to getting the cleaning done in the vet's office.

That sound's good! But… is there a catch?

Well, there's one tiny thing that you should know about water additives.

What Are the Cons of Using Dog Dental Water Additives?

Like most similar products, there are some potential cons to using dog dental water additives, albeit small.

Possibly Unsafe Chemical Ingredients

Some chemicals found in a few brands of dental water additives for dogs are not necessarily safe for pets to consume.

However, the jury is still out for a judgment.

Here are the two main suspects they're looking at:

Chlorhexidine gluconate. This one chemical is often found in some dental water additives.

It is known to increase calculus formation, salivary glands, and inflammation of the mouth and gums.

This chemical is also harmful if it comes in contact with your dog's eyes.

It is also dangerous to felines, so they are not suggested for use in households with cats.

Xylitol. This is another infamous chemical found in some dental water additives for dogs.

Xylitol is not only harmful to dogs, but it can be fatal.

Always check a specific dog dental water additive's ingredients list before purchasing to ensure the product does not contain xylitol.

But while there's no definite conclusion, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Make sure that whatever brand you're buying doesn't include these two ingredients.

Misperception of Using a Dog Water Additive

Before we proceed to the best dog dental water additives, let's get one thing straight first.

Dental water additives are not a replacement for brushing your dog's teeth.

It's not.

There are benefits to using a dog dental water additive, sure, as we have discussed above.

But nothing will replace the benefits of manually brushing your dog’s teeth on a routine basis and taking them to the veterinarian for routine dental checkups.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are the best dog dental water additive products you can use in addition to dog toothbrush and toothpaste.

Best Dog Dental Water Additive Products

What are the Best Dog Dental Water Additive ProductsAs I've mentioned, be careful about your brand.

Make sure they don't contain those few potentially harmful chemicals we discussed above.

For more details on their use, take a look at Samantha's review of the Oxyfresh additive.

Most brands are very similar in their dog-safe ingredients and how those additives work or are administered.

Here are a few of our (and most other pet owners') favorite dog dental water additive brands:

Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Care Solution:
– Vet-Recommended Dental Water Additive for Dog

Oxyfresh Premium dog water additive

With just a capful of this dog water additive, you can guarantee your dog's healthy teeth and gums.

Its quality and safety for your pooch make it highly recommended among veterinarians across the country.

It's odorless and completely safe for dogs, cats, and even birds!

It doesn't have flavor, so it easily blends into your dog's drinking water. 

However, the only downside of this dental water additive for me is it does not produce the freshness of breath that I expected.

I've seen a couple of reviews online, and it looks like I'm not the only one who noticed.

However, it's still a double-plus factor for me that the experts recommend this one.

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Water Additives
– Highly Effective Dog Water Additive

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Water Additives for DogsThis water additive for dogs is created with the Denta-C formula, which is proven to lessen plaque and bacteria.

It's also a proud product of the United States.

You will only need a tablespoon of this solution and mix it into your pet's water.

You can even use it daily, especially if you have difficulty brushing your dog's teeth.

Unlike other brands, this dog water additive comes in three flavors: original, green tea, and peppermint.

My dog and I personally like the peppermint flavor.

And yes, me too, because his breath smells like peppermint, indeed, after a week's worth of use.

Online reviews from pet owners also love how effective this dental water additive is in making their pet's breath fresh! 

However, you may find this product a bit beyond your budget, as some pet owners do.

Still, there are coupons available whenever you want the best water additive for dogs, so no worries.

Zymox Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Oral Care Water Additive
– Trusted Water Additive for Dogs

Zymox Oratene dog dental water additiveThe Oratene water additive is easy to use since you only need to add two pumps to your pet's drinking water.

It's safe for both dogs and cats.

It has no flavor, so adding this water additive for dogs shouldn't be a problem for sensitive pooches.  

This product improves teeth and gum health as well as reduces bad breath.

Aside from this, it also helps with dry mouth, as seen in their cracked lips and tongue. 

Holistic oral care has never been this easy and achievable with this dental water additive for dogs.

TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care
– Best Water Additive for Dogs

TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care Water Additive for DogsThis dental water additive for dogs has a unique formula that eliminates plaque, tartar, and bad breath in your pooch in less than two weeks with daily use.

And you only need half a cap every time you put this into your dog's water.

It is the best water additive for dogs because it has adhered to the high-quality standards regulated.

This dog water additive also has variations with added nutrients that facilitate hip, joint, coat, and skin support.

You can even opt for a version of this solution with advanced teeth-whitening ingredients.

It's safe for dogs of all ages.

Both dogs and pet owners seem to love this solution!

Are There All-Natural Dog Dental Water Additives?

No. Currently, there are no all-natural products that wouldn't contain some type of chemical.

These products will have certain chemicals that must be added to fight plaque, tartar, and bacteria in a dog's mouth.

You may understand those pet owners would like to avoid any and all chemicals.

However, at this time, none of the ingredients found in these products have been said to be dangerous or harmful to dogs.

Here's the list of ingredients from the four best dog dental water additive brands we have included above:

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

Water, Glycerin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Methyl Salicylate, DiSodium EDTA, Sodium Borate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Potassium Sorbate.

Pet King
Glycerine, Sorbitol, Purified Water, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Rosemary Extract, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Chloride, Lysozyme, Lactoferrin, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase, Potassium Thiocyanate, Mutanase, Dextranase.

Purified Water, Citric Acid, Cetylpyridinium Chloride, Chlorophyllin, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, and Green Tea Leaf Extract.

If you like to avoid chemicals at all costs, there is no brand of dog dental water additive that would work.

Fortunately, sticking with regular brushing teeth is still the best way to maintain good dental hygiene for your dog.

You can also use a natural dog dental spray like Liba III Natural and Herbal Dog and Cat Dental Spray in addition to teeth brushing.

FAQs about Dog Dental Health and Dog Dental Water Additives

What Else Can I Do for My Dog's Teeth?

Dental water additives for dogs aren't the only thing.

There's plenty more you can do to keep your pup's dental health in top shape.

First and foremost, it's brushing their teeth daily (I can't stress this enough!)

But there are a few other things veterinarians recommend for pet owners.

Here's a full list, including some things that can be done at a vet clinic only:

  1. Brush your dog's teeth regularly.
  2. Choose rawhide chews with chlorhexidine additive, a dental disinfectant.
  3. Apply dental sealant to hinder plaque attached to the gingival margin.
  4. Pour some dog dental water additives into your pet's water bowl.
  5. Use soluble zinc salt gel as an antibacterial agent to prevent bad breath.
  6. Apply waxy polymer to decrease calculus and plaque formation.
  7. Give your dog soluble dental pet chews that will mechanically remove plaque.
  8. Or try dental dog chews that contain delmopinol, an anti-plaque agent.
  9. Use dental dog wipes with plaque control agents to prevent buildup.
  10. Pick a diet formulated for your dog's dental care (hard, dry kibble with increased fiber content and texture that promotes chewing and maximizes contact with teeth).

With all these options, your dog's teeth will be in better shape than yours.

Do Dog Water Additives Work?

Dental water additive for dogs does work, but it may not be enough.

These solutions improve your dog’s oral health but shouldn’t entirely substitute for brushing their teeth.

When used properly along with other dog dental care practices, your pooch will enjoy good oral health without you ever worrying about tartar buildup, bad breath, or other gum diseases.

Are Dental Water Additives Safe for Dogs?

Most dog dental water additives have been screened and regulated, making them safe to use.

If you’re still hesitant, you can consult with your vet on which reliable water additive for dogs to use.

Keep in mind that not all dog water additive has the same dosage. Putting higher amounts may harm your dog’s health in the long run.

Dog Dental Water Additive: In Summary

A dog dental water additive product can be very beneficial to the overall hygiene and health of your dog’s mouth when used in conjunction with regular brushing, dental cleanings, and dental exams at the vet's office.

All you must do is add them to your pet's daily drinking water.

Also, make it a habit of checking the ingredients list before buying one.

Avoid harmful ingredients for dogs, like xylitol and Chlorhexidine gluconate.

And finally, whatever's indicated on the packaging, do not ever forego brushing your dog's teeth just because you're having him take a water additive.

If you're interested to learn a couple more things about how to take care of your dog's dental health, check out our related articles below!

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Guide on Dog Dental Water Additive - Here's What It Is and How to Use It

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Kelly works as a veterinary technician in Austin, TX as well as regular animal rescue volunteer. She's been an animal lover and dog owner since childhood, and has worked in different dog related fields over the last twenty years. Currently she lives with three dogs and a cat.