“My dog ate poop! How do I clean his mouth?” This question is more common than you might think.
Cleaning a dog’s mouth can be difficult. If you find out your dog has been eating poop, be it their own, another dog’s, cat poop, or even mystery poop, cleaning their mouth out is necessary to avoid becoming disgusted (or worse) by your adoring friend’s puppy kisses.
Ridding your dog’s mouth of that delightful poop taste might be a bigger job than standard household breath-freshening dog treats can handle, but those are better than nothing if it’s the only thing you have on hand.
Snacks like these are easily the most convenient way to stay on top of your furry friend’s oral hygiene when compared to the other options that we will discuss later in this article.
However, if you want to make sure your dog’s mouth is free from any remnants of poop eating, you’ll have to take it a step further.
Even though most of these recommendations will require purchasing a product, the products discussed here are good things for any dog owner to have around their house anyway. You may even already have some of the items that we’re about to mention!
(Side note: I am a member of the Amazon Associates program. From time to time I like to recommend products in my posts that I feel may truly be helpful to readers and their pets. If you do end up buying something by clicking the links on my site, I may receive a tiny amount of commission from the big guys.
And if you do end up buying something- Thank you! I really appreciate your support and I’ll always do my best to put out more quality content for you 🙂 )
- How To Disinfect A Dog’s Mouth
- Why Does My Dog Eat Poop And How Do I Prevent It?
- In Conclusion
If you’ve ever said, “My dog ate poop! How do I clean his mouth?” you might want to consider investing in mouthwash for dogs.
Even though the image of a dog rinsing their mouth out with mouthwash is downright hilarious, the reality of it is much more mundane. Periodic pet mouthwash treatments are one of the most convenient ways to clean your furry friend’s mouth.
Most dog mouthwashes work by mixing a small amount of the mouthwash in with their water and let them drink it over the course of the day.
The downside to this is that you will have to avoid your poor pooch’s mouth for a day or so while this stuff works it’s magic- but it will work.
There are many options on the market when it comes to pet mouthwash, but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that one of the main ingredients in most pet mouthwashes, xylitol, can be dangerous.
While not wholly unfounded, the dose required to produce any sort of toxicity is significantly higher than the recommended dose.
Hypoglycemia caused by xylitol will occur when a dog has more than 0.1 grams of the sweetener per 2.2 pounds (1kg) of body weight. Dosages of 0.5 grams/2.2 pounds of body weight will cause liver failure.
To paint a clearer picture of what that means, we’re going to do some maths.
An average dog mouthwash product has a xylitol content of 5mg/ml.
That means that the average 10kg (22 pound) dachshund would have to drink more than 140mls (0.6 cups) of mouthwash to be at risk for hypoglycemia, when the average recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon (14mls).
The dachshund would have to be given 10 times its recommended dosage to be in danger of hypoglycemia, which seems rather unlikely to happen.
To be at risk for liver failure under the same conditions, a 10kg dog would have to drink over 700mls (almost 3 cups!) of mouthwash.
Given that the average mouthwash bottle only contains 8 fluid ounces (1 cup), that’s a whole lot of negligence you’ve poured into your dog’s water bowl if he experiences any liver damage.
In our humble opinion, as long as you make sure to follow dosing instructions, your dog should be perfectly safe. It would be quite a feat for your dog to overdose on xylitol through canine mouthwash!
However, if you still want to steer clear of doggy mouthwashes that contain xylitol, the highly rated PetLab Co. Dental Formula Water Additive is one of the few that doesn’t count xylitol in its ingredient list.
Some dog experts have the Quick Clean Method down to an absolute science, and now you can too. They have published the in-depth instructions that professional dog walkers follow when one of their clients partakes in poop, and we cover the basics right here:
- Have the dog eat and drink some water. This will trigger the production of saliva which naturally cleanses the mouth, and water will help to rinse away the bacteria and smelly residue. You could include homemade water additives such as lemon juice to freshen your dog’s breath.
- Give the dog a dental chew. Again, saliva will help to clean its mouth as it contains a natural disinfectant. Meanwhile the ridges and edges of the treat will scrape away any remnants stuck between teeth and gums.
- Wipe out the dog’s mouth with a cloth. Wrap a piece of gauze or soft cloth around your finger. Dip it in dog toothpaste, salt water or coconut oil (contains lauric acid which is antibacterial) and wipe the inside mouth to remove any last bit of residue and, err, staining.
- Finally, fill their water dish with the recommended amount of water and mouthwash. If the dog already drank its fill earlier in step one, dip another piece of gauze or cloth into mouthwash and wipe it around its mouth.
This method is a quick and easy-to-use system that will ensure your dog’s mouth is void of any bacteria. It will have their breath smelling fresh even after eating poop or other unsavory items.
Dental chews such as Pedigree Dentastix are recommended in cleaning teeth, removing tartar buildup and freshening your dog’s breath. With a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars from 25,600+ customers, it could be the key component to having fresh and healthy teeth.
Click on the image above to buy
teeth-cleaning Pedigree Dentastix
That said, just food and mouthwash will likely be enough to clean a dog’s mouth out, but this is the surefire way to make sure it is spotless. However, for those who want to take it an extra step further, there is another option to be considered.
Yes, dog toothpaste is a thing, and it’s known to work reasonably well.
However, for some dog owners, the idea of brushing their dog’s teeth is entirely out of the question. If that includes you, then the previous methods may be better suited to your needs.
However, if your dog is docile enough to allow you to brush their teeth, this will be the fastest and most effective method of cleaning their mouth out.
Before doing this, be sure you buy dog toothpaste and refrain from using the regular human toothpaste in your bathroom. Although it seems like an easy way to save a buck, human toothpaste can pose a considerable risk to a dog’s health.
There are many reasons not to use human toothpaste, but the most prominent is because it is designed for humans and made to be spat out- a command your dog probably doesn’t have in their bag of tricks.
Also, the aforementioned xylitol is a common ingredient in human toothpastes, and as it may be added in higher concentrations it is not generally safe for your dog. Human toothpastes also contain fluoride, which is also toxic to dogs in large amounts.
Lastly, dog toothpaste is considerably tastier than the human equivalent (at least for dogs), and it is available in many canine-approved flavors such as beef and peanut butter.
The pros and cons of puppy toothpaste almost speak for themselves. It’s generally the fastest and most effective way to ensure your dog’s mouth gets cleaned- but only if your dog allows it.
If you want to ease your dog into the habit of brushing teeth, you can start initially with a soft cloth smeared with toothpaste. Once your dog has been familiarized with the feeling of its teeth and mouth being scrubbed, you can move onto finger toothbrushes.
As brushing teeth is unnatural for dogs, make sure that you reward them with treats and praise. You can either stay with finger toothbrushes to clean your dog’s mouth, however if you have a larger dog with a big jaw, you may need to then transition to a toothbrush.
Check out the following American Kennel Club vet-recommended dog toothpastes if you are interested in learning more:
- Perfect for picky dogs as it comes in 5 different flavors: Malt, beef, poultry, vanilla-mint and seafood.
- Contains no foaming agents so it is safe for dogs to swallow.
- Enzymatic: Contains enzymes that kill bacteria and reduce tartar buildup.
- The top recommended dental brand as recommended by US vets.
- All-in-one solution that includes both toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Completely organic so no harmful ingredients (chemicals, dyes, preservatives) included.
- Toothpaste is only 0.8 ounces so a bit small- however only a pea-sized amount is needed each time.
- The most economical choice out of our recommendations- Around $10 for a 6.2 ounce tube.
- Enzymatic, so very effective at removing bad breath and bacteria.
- Poultry-flavored which dogs will love.
It’s also worth mentioning that, if you’re running into situations where you find your dog eating poop every once in a while, it’s not necessarily abnormal.
While unpleasant, it is a regular part of life that many dogs go through and is not too concerning- unless it becomes obsessive.
The easiest way to prevent your dog eating poop is to remove them from your dog’s surroundings. It would also be a good idea to train your dog to recognize the “leave it” command so that you can divert your dog from any droppings during walks.
If you feel like the behavior is becoming obsessive, it could be a sign to check up on your pet’s health. Some dogs develop a condition called coprophagia, where they develop a tendency to seek out and eat poop. This can be caused by:
- A desire to balance the microbiome in the stomach.
- Unconsciously trying to pick up nutrients that a dog might be lacking.
- Behavioral reasons such as boredom, anxiety, fear or attention-seeking.
If your dog is eating or trying to eat poop regularly, make sure they are getting enough food for their weight and level of activity. Also ensure that they are getting well-rounded nutrition, and experiment with giving it grains and vegetables for carbohydrates and fiber.
It’s a well-known phenomenon that dogs tend to cause trouble when they are bored, but eating poop is one of the least destructive things they can do. A well-fed and exercised dog is much less likely to eat poop than any other dog.
If keeping your dog well-fed and entertained doesn’t work, it’s time to book an appointment with your vet as something more serious may be going on that spurs your dog to continue poop eating.
Some poop may contain toxins or parasites, so it never hurts to check with your vet as early as possible since eating a lot of poop can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and parasitic infestation.
Yes, it is true that feeding pineapple to your dog is thought to be effective in stopping your dog in its track if it has a tendency to eat poop.
This is due to an enzyme in pineapples called bromelain that changes the taste and scent of the poop to something that even your dog may find repulsive. You can implement this strategy by simply adding pineapple chunks or puree to your dog’s usual meals.
There are also other foods and substances that can provide discouragement if a dog eats poop.
Meat tenderizers are also thought to be effective in deterring a dog from eating their own droppings. This is likely due to the large amounts of MSG in most meat tenderizers that will create an abhorrent smell in dog poop- at least from a canine’s point of view.
A more extreme method may be to use hot sauce, lemon juice or bitter apple spray. No, don’t sprinkle those things into dog food!
Instead, locate some droppings or cat poop in your yard and cover it with one of the above substances. Once your dog has a taste, it will be less likely to want to try again next time in fear of another unpleasant experience.
Finally, according to the American Kennel Club, Vitamin B supplementation in particular may be helpful. Studies since the 1980’s have shown that coprophagia could have a link to a lack of thiamine in the body- namely Vitamin B1.
Dogs eat poop. That’s just a natural phenomenon that most dogs will exhibit at least a few times in their lifetime. Some dogs may even develop a condition called coprophagia, where they will have an obsessive tendency towards poop eating.
Once your dog has done the deed however, there’s not much you can do except to clean up the mess in his mouth before he gives you a sloppy kiss. Thankfully, this can be easily accomplished through a few different methods.
The best of course would be to use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste to thoroughly clean your dog’s mouth. If this isn’t possible, you can use canine mouthwash or the Quick Clean Method to make your pup’s breath minty fresh again.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to address the root of the problem and prevent your dog eating poop again, rather than merely reacting to the off-putting action. Good luck with your mission to stop poop eating!
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.