Choosing the right toothpaste for your Tzu is a vital part of dental hygiene. Using human products is a serious misstep that can cause dangerous toxicity. And using a cheap paste can greatly decrease the effectiveness of the brushing.
Why human toothpaste is so bad
- Some owners make the mistake of thinking that warnings to stay away from human products is part of a marketing plan to see more canine-specific products; however this is not the case at all.
There are 2 ingredients in human toothpaste that can cause terrible poisoning with dogs and for toy breeds like the Shih Tzu, not much is needed:
1) Fluoride -
This chemical was first used mainly as an insecticide to kill bugs and as a poison to kill rodents (mainly rats). As preposterous as it may sound, it is a by-product of manufacturing (chiefly of the aluminum, copper and iron industries) and in the 1930's when governments did not have a good idea how to possibly dispose of it, they decided to add it to water supplies and toothpastes since in low quantities it appeared to help with tooth decay.
During the 1970's and 80's dentists would put gobs of fluoride in mouth-guard type devices and have children sit for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the fluoride to sink into the teeth.
Studies have proven that when you consume too much it has devastating health consequences. Two things to note: #1, Dogs swallow toothpaste, thus they WILL ingest it and #2 the line of 'how much is too much' is blurry at best.
It can cause teeth to weaken to the point of crumbling away, it can damage the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and for humans, it causes close to 10,000 bone cancer deaths per year in the US. Shocking? Yes. A reason to never brush your Shih Tzu's teeth with human toothpaste? Absolutely.
2) Xylitol -
If reason #1 above was not enough, the other ingredient that can be harmful is xylitol, which can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels and can cause liver disease.