Dog Teeth Cleaning and Care

At home dog teeth cleaning and care will keep your dog's teeth healthy. It will also minimize or even eliminate the need for cleanings done by a vet.

Because dental problems are becoming dogs' number one health issue, don't ignore your dog's oral health.

By the way, when a vet cleans your dog's teeth, he performs the procedure under general anesthesia. As you can guess, it's not cheap…   

The hardest part of dog teeth care is… starting. But once it becomes a routine, you'll see that teeth cleaning is not complicated and does not take a lot of time.

Lets take a look at some dog dental care basics first and then I will show you how to clean your dog's teeth. I also have a short video on how to brush your dog's teeth...

The Basics...

While dogs can get cavities, they are rare. Plaque, on the other hand, can build up and if not removed, will turn into tartar (hardened plaque) and cause gum irritation, called gingivitis.

Some signs of gingivitis are reddening of the gums right next to teeth and a bad breath (bad breath can also be a sign of puppy worms).

If you don't stop it, tartar buildup can lead to periodontal disease, which in turn may lead to infections of the heart, kidneys and liver.

Dog teeth cleaning can prevent all of the above…

Dog Teeth Care

I examine Bo's teeth every time I brush them, which is daily. Don't get scared, it doesn't take a lot of time.

What I look for are…

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tartar buildup or stains
  • Cracked teeth

Before I show you proper dog teeth cleaning technique, let's review the effects of dog food and dog chew toys on dog's teeth.

Dog Food

According to numerous studies, hard kibbles are better for your dog's teeth than soft canned food.


They provide "natural" dog teeth cleaning by fighting plaque accumulation on your dog's teeth.

According to Veterinary Oral Health Council, some foods and treats are much better than others for keeping your dog's teeth healthy. Here are some of the products that have received their seal of approval…

(To see the complete list, go to the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal Of Acceptance).

Dog Chew Toys

Like hard kibbles, chew toys also provide "natural" dog teeth cleaning.

Bo likes 2 types of toys…

dog toyRope toys such as this KONG Goodie Bone with Rope Dog Toy (it's made out of rubber and rope).






Rubber Kong Dog ToysRubber toys that you can stuff with food, such as this Classic KONG Dog Toys for Average Chewers.

You can stuff it with small pieces of Greeniesicon that I mentioned earlier, or use any dog treat.



Rawhide chips are also very good.

Visit chew toys to learn why chew toys are so important for all dogs.

Dental Products

There are two types of dog toothbrushes. One looks like a "regular" toothbrush, similar to the one you may use yourself (though it's smaller, the bristles are softer and the shape a little different). The other is a finger toothbrush.

DOG FingerToothbrush

I find finger toothbrushes more convenient and use Petrodex Finger Toothbrushicon.





Dog toothpastes come in several flavors. You will need to experiment until you find the flavor your dog likes. The brand is not important, as long as you avoid any toothpaste not intended for dogs.

Dog Toothpaste

I use C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpasteicon (poultry flavor) on Bo, and the results are very good.

This toothpaste also comes in beef flavor.  




Dog Teeth Cleaning Technique

OK, lets get back to the subject of dog teeth cleaning…

Try to brush your dog's teeth on a daily basis.

Start slowly. Don't restrain your dog too much, or you'll scare him. Initially, go through the motion of cleaning your dog's teeth with your finger to show him that there is nothing to be scared of.

After your dog is comfortable, you are ready to advance to a toothbrush.

I find finger toothbrushes are less invasive and dogs are less scared of them. Don't use toothpaste until your dog is comfortable with a toothbrush.

Before you actually start brushing your dog's teeth with a toothpaste, put some on your finger and let your dog smell and lick it. Since dog toothpastes come in many pleasant flavors, he will not mind!

When your dog is used to a toothbrush and toothpaste, you are ready to begin dog teeth cleaning on a daily basis. Again, start slowly and make sure the experience is a pleasant one for your dog.

Here is a short video that demonstrates some of the dog teeth cleaning techniques I discussed above. I hope you find it helpful...

In addition to the products I highlighted above, there are a lot of other good products intended for dog teeth cleaning. Visit Oral Hygieneicon to learn more about dental rinses, dental cleaning pads, and other dog teeth cleaning aids.

Related Articles

You may also wish to explore the following articles:

Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

As a dog owner, you are responsible for your puppy's health. A good source for dog health information, including puppy care and preventive medicine, how to protect your pet from worms and ticks, dog food, and how to recognize if your pet needs immediate medical attention, is the Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.


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Dog Teeth Cleaning » Puppy Care

I hope you will find this information useful and it helps you to recognize some common dog health problems your pet may be experiencing. However, if you suspect your pet is ill, immediately contact your veterinarian.  He or she will be able to help you decide the best course of action when it comes to caring for your pet.

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