How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth

Bad breath is a sure sign that your dog needs help, but it’s not the only effect of poor oral hygiene. Plaque, tartar, and bacteria can lead to infection or disease in the organs and blood vessels connected to the mouth. Brushing your pup’s chompers daily may sound like a pain, but it’s just as important as taking him on a walk or feeding him dinner—and if you start early enough, you can help him beat those doggy dental problems before they have a chance to start!

Brush your dog’s teeth daily.

Your good friend the dentist recommends brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a day and preferably twice. If you can’t brush them daily, brush them at least once a week. You will want to use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs since they have smaller mouths than humans and different sized teeth.

Use dog toothpaste, not human toothpaste.

You may be tempted to use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth, but this isn’t a good idea. Human toothpaste is made with a different formula than dog toothpaste, and it can actually be dangerous for dogs to swallow. It’s also not designed to be tasty or easy-to-use—and these are important factors in caring for your pet’s oral health.

Dog toothpaste is designed specifically for dogs’ mouths, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re using it when brushing your pup’s pearly whites.

Buy a toothbrush designed for dogs.

If you have a dog, it’s important to brush their teeth daily. You can buy a toothbrush designed for dogs at a pet store or online. It is also possible to use one that was made for humans—but make sure that the bristles are soft so they don’t hurt your pup’s mouth as much.

Make sure your dog likes having his teeth brushed.

You’ll want to make sure your dog is comfortable with having his teeth brushed. You can do this by using a treat or a toy as a reward for him when he lets you brush his teeth. Be sure not to use an intense treat that might hurt your dog if it falls on his gum line and gets stuck there, though!

If treats aren’t working out for you, think about using something like a wet washcloth to wipe over the surface of your dog’s gums. This works well with some dogs but not all, so be ready to move on if it doesn’t work out with yours.

Choose a time when your pup is calm.

The ideal time to brush your dog’s teeth is in the evening, when they’re calmer and quieter. Choose a time when your pup is calm—this will make it easier for both of you. Use gentle words and a soft voice, making sure not to use treats as rewards during this process, as this could cause them to associate brushing with something negative (e.g., being reprimanded). If you have an aggressive dog who doesn’t react well to daily brushing, it’s best not use a brush until he or she has calmed down considerably.

Introduce brushing slowly.

To get your dog used to the idea of brushing, start by rubbing his teeth with a wet washcloth. After that, use a regular dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Then, graduate to using a finger brush. Finally, use an adult human toothbrush and dental floss. Take it slowly!

Gently lift your dog’s lips and touch his teeth and gums with the brush.

  • Gently lift your dog’s lips and touch his teeth and gums with the brush.
  • Brush your dog’s teeth in a circular motion, starting at the back of his mouth and working towards the front. If you have an adult dog, start with cleaning two or three small areas at a time and work up to brushing all four sides of all of his teeth.
  • Avoid pressing too hard as this can irritate his gums or cause tooth fractures.
  • Brush for no more than one minute per session; it takes about 30 seconds for plaque to turn into tartar on a healthy mouth.

Give your dog lots of praise during and after each session.

Your dog needs to know that he is doing a good job, and positive reinforcement is an easy way to reward him for doing so. Dogs like to please their owners, so once you start praising him for keeping his teeth clean, your dog will be even more motivated to continue doing so.

If you have a lot of time on your hands and want to build up your dog’s confidence, it’s also possible to teach him how to brush his own teeth using the same techniques you used when brushing them yourself. You can use treats or toys as rewards as well!

Don’t forget to clean the back of the teeth as well as the front.

When you brush only the front of a dog’s teeth, you might miss parts of the tooth from which bacteria can grow. It is also important to keep an eye out for plaque buildup on other areas of a dog’s mouth (such as along the gum line). If you notice any patches like this, gently use some gauze or a damp cloth to wipe it away.

You can start today if you haven’t started already!

It’s never too late to start caring for your dog’s teeth! If you haven’t started yet, go ahead and get a toothbrush and some dog-friendly toothpaste, then introduce your dog to the routine. It will only take a few minutes once or twice daily, but that time will pay off big in the long run.


That’s it! You’re ready to care for your dog’s teeth. Remember, cleaning your pup’s teeth is an important part of his overall health and well-being, and it’ll help prevent problems like gum disease and tooth decay down the line. And remember, if you have any questions or concerns, always consult your veterinarian first. They can also demonstrate how to brush your dog’s teeth safely and effectively.