how (and how Often) to Brush a Dog’s Teeth

As committed pet parents, we make the a point to take excellent treatment of our dogs. We spend time researching what to feed them with choices like fresh, organic and also human-grade dog food. Us take them come top-notch groomers. We buy them all the toys and treats they might ever want. Yet when it pertains to brushing a dog’s teeth—well, that might be a various story.

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According come research, a sizable 61 percent of dog parents say they never ever brush your dog’s teeth. However routine dental treatment at home is critical to keeping your dog’s health. In fact, dental condition affects about 80% of dogs (Source: Packaged Facts: "Pet Oral treatment Services and also Products in the U.S." 3rd Edition, 2018.).

Below, we describe why you should brush your dog’s teeth and also demonstrate how to do it right.

Do I have to brush mine dog’s teeth?

Not only deserve to gum disease lead come pain and discomfort because that dogs, yet it may also be a precursor to an ext serious health difficulties such as kidney, liver or love disease.

Dr. Milinda Lommer, Diplomate the the American Veterinary dental College, claims you must brush her dog’s this often. “As with person mouths, the variety of bacteria in a dog"s mouth doubles every 6 to eight hours,” she says. “Therefore, it"s vital to minimize their number by mechanically remove as many bacteria together possible.”

How often should i brush my dog’s teeth?

While daily brushing is ideal, Dr. Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM and also Head the Veterinary medicine at, establish the difficulty this may current when you’re busy. If you should aim come brush your dog’s teeth at the very least 1–2 times per week, you can additionally supplement with other dental treatment measures. “Pets, just like people, should have actually some form of a everyday dental routine,” claims Miller. “While brushing everyday is ideal, girlfriend cansimplify that by offering a dental treat, water additive or utilizing a dentist wipe on days you can’t get to brushing.”

How to brush her dog’s teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth at home can feel like a difficulty at first. But these advice can aid to do the endure comfortable because that you and your pet.

1. Obtain the appropriate dog tooth-brushing tools

When brushing her dog’s teeth at home, the an initial things you require are a pet-friendly toothbrush and a pet-safe toothpaste. Because pets don’t know just how to spit out toothpaste, person toothpaste is not an ideal for pets. Toothpaste supplied for human mouths includes fluoride, which can upset her dog’s stomach, and also may even contain xylitol, i beg your pardon is toxic to dogs. Lommer recommends using assets specifically designed and also formulated for dogs.

“Pet-safe toothpastes are various from human toothpastes in that they don"t have actually foaming agents, are safe come swallow and also are flavored to appeal to pets,” she says. Flavors including poultry, beef, seafood and also peanut butter will definitely make a pet happier to have actually their this brushed.

For smaller sized dogs, shot a pet toothbrush the fits on the finish of her finger—it can be much less complicated to exercise within your mouths. Larger dogs respond well to bigger toothbrushes v a handle, as it have the right to be much easier to reach their back teeth.

2. Shot a test run

Once you have actually the right tools, it’s vital to perform what you deserve to to obtain your pet acquainted with the toothbrush. Prior to you attempt to use it, obtain your dog comfortable by on regular basis lifting up their lips and offering lock rewards for great behavior. Combine rubbing your finger or a dental wipe follow me their gum heat to acquire your dog provided to having actually something in your mouth. The much more comfortable her dog is v being handled, the much easier the tooth-brushing suffer will be. As soon as they become familiar through the toothbrush, begin with short brushing sessions and also gradually rise the time as they become an ext comfortable. Friend should be able to brush all their this in one sitting.

3. Gain in a comfortable position

Most dogs will squirm and shot to obtain away when you attempt to brush their teeth. 38 percent of pets parents that don’t brush your pet’s this say it’s due to the fact that their dog won’t sit still because that the time needed to brush. Lommer recommends positioning your dog in a method that it’s less complicated for girlfriend to host them in place.

“For tiny dogs, one of two people wrap them in a towel like a burrito or sit next to them on a couch. Then wrap your elbow around their body and bring them close to her side to assist keep them quiet while you are working v their head,” Lommer says. When brushing a bigger dog’s teeth, sit next to them and also wrap your arm around their head, supporting their chin. In this position, you deserve to use your hand to assist move their mouth to best brush your teeth.

Never pressure a dog to stay if they space visibly upset or uncomfortable, due to the fact that this deserve to lead to negative associations with brushing, Lommer says. Instead, if your dog starts fidgeting too much, permit them go and shot again later. Lommer says that it’s vital to be mindful with how you restrain or hold your dog. “...Proper restraint is important, together their attempts come evade frequently involve tossing the head around, and neck injury might result,” she says.

4. Walk for the gum line

Rather 보다 opening your dog’s mouth all the way, Lommer proposal lifting her dog’s lip and focusing on wherein their teeth satisfy the gum line.


While brushing toward the prior of her dog’s mouth may be an ext acceptable come them, it’s finest to emphasis your efforts on their earlier teeth where plaque and tartar develop up. “The outstanding ducts north at the sides of the mouth ~ above the external surfaces of the upper back teeth, so beginning there is best,” Lommer says. Target this area through small, circular motions when brushing her dog’s teeth.

Make certain to to win the appropriate balance between brushing too hard and also being too gentle. Lommer says that plenty of pet owners don’t scrub hard enough or spend enough time brushing to really remove plaque buildup. “Just choose our own mouths, the an ext time girlfriend spend, the more effective plaque removal you"re accomplishing,” she says.

5. Proceed the upkeep

While brushing at least a couple times every week is crucial to keeping your dog’s dental health, you deserve to supplement care in between brushings with dental treats or chews for dogs, water additives and also dental wipes. This treatments assist reduce plaque buildup but aren’t enough on their very own to maintain your dog’s oral health, therefore you will certainly still need a continual brushing routine.


How to do teeth-brushing easier

40 percent of pet parents who don’t brush their dog’s teeth neglect to execute so there is no a reason. However, if the chore is made simpler for you and also your dog, it’s certain to happen more often. As soon as it concerns making dog tooth-brushing simpler for her dog, Lommer claims to no underestimate the power of praise. She states that praising her dog if you’re brushing your teeth can go a long method in helping her dog feel comfortable.

Another way you can make the experience less stressful is to pick the appropriate time to carry out it. Brushing your dog’s this after playtime or mealtime when their energy is low might help. If you space still having trouble, bring your dog in because that a dental to brush at her veterinarian"s office or regional store.

Things to clock for as soon as brushing her dog’s teeth

As you’re brushing her dog’s teeth, it’s a an excellent opportunity come look for any type of signs of this pain, mouth injuries or general discomfort the may imply a bigger problem. “If a pet winces, cries or traction away when a particular area is touched, that"s a clear sign of pain, however most pet with oral pain space not demonstrative in any way,” says Lommer.

If her pet shows any type of sign of ache or if you notification something abnormal in your dog’s mouth, it’s necessary to acquire them evaluated by your regular veterinarian. “Even teeth that look OK indigenous the outside can be abscessed, so X-rays are the only means to completely assess a pet"s dental health,” says Lommer.

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Dr. Miller claims that it may be time come take her dog to your veterinarian if you an alert the following:

Excessively red gums
Bleeding gums
Excessive drooling
Difficulty or pain as soon as chewing food
Damaged or chipped this Worse than usual breath (which may suggest a dentist abscess or tooth root)

If friend have any type of questions about brushing her dog’s teeth, visit your local, wherein you can likewise sign up because that dog dental service. Or, discover all the best teeth-brushing devices for your dog at