Staying Healthy

How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

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If you’ve never done it before, brushing your dog’s teeth might seem like a scary undertaking. However, it’s surprisingly easy! And, with the quantity of flavored canine toothpastes and ergonomic toothbrushes available now, you’ll get the technique down in no time. Many dogs love the taste of their dog toothpaste and will easily put up with your hands in their face for a minute for the rewarding taste. In addition to regular teeth cleanings from your veterinarian, it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth daily at home.

We found this great step-by-step guide from Dr. William Rosenblad at

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Dental disease (especially periodontal disease) is the most common disease in our canine companions. It is also one of the most preventable and treatable diseases. Fortunately, we can reduce or even prevent dental disease by feeding a crunchy diet, appropriate chew treats and toys and daily tooth brushing. The following are steps to guide you on how to brush your dog’s teeth:

  • The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning.
  • You will need a soft-bristled tooth brush and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpastes and baking soda may cause problems. Furthermore, veterinary toothpastes have flavors that are appealing to dogs. Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line, which is the most important area to brush.
  • There are several important facts about our pets’ mouths that tell us when, where and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on the tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (calculus) that cannot be removed with a brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from under the gum line.
  • Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get use to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.
  • Start by offering your dog a taste of the veterinary toothpaste. The next time, let him taste the toothpaste, then run your finger along the gums of the upper teeth. Repeat the process with the tooth brush. Get the bristles of the brush along the gum line of the upper back teeth and angle slightly up, so the bristles get under the gum line. Work from back to front, making small circles along the gum lines. It should take you less than 30 seconds to brush your pet’s teeth. Do not try to brush the entire mouth at first. If all that your pet lets you brush is the outside of the upper teeth, you are still addressing the most important area of periodontal disease – prevention. If your pet eventually allows you to brush most of his teeth, so much the better.
  • Even with the best tooth brushing, some dogs may still need an occasional professional cleaning, just like humans. By brushing your pet’s teeth daily and curtailing the amount of periodontal disease, you may reduce the frequency and involvement of dental cleanings and provide your pet with a healthier, sweeter smile.

Read the entire article and see a video here. Got any other tips and advice for how to brush your dog’s teeth? Tell our readers about it below!

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  1. Avatar Of Megan Ann Megan Ann says:

    Thank you for your sharing. This information is very helpful.

  2. Avatar Of Roddy Roddy says:

    I managed to learn almost all the grooming procedures and I perform them in between the visit to the professional groomer of our female Yorkie. I have a trimmer so I do sanitary trims, I clean her ears, even clip the nails…and she is tolerant. The only thing I still can not do is to clean her teeth…she just doesn’t let me do it.
    All the work has been much better after I bought a grooming table, it just makes my life much easier.

  3. Avatar Of Kimberly Kimberly says:

    It is not that easy in my case. I was trying to do that but whenever I put the toothbrush into my dog's mouth, she starts to run away.

  4. Avatar Of Paul Paul says:

    Hi, Glad to see you mentioning the need to brush dogs teeth as it is often overlooked by owners.

  5. Avatar Of Joycelyn Persad

    Joycelyn Persad


    Early in the morning when he likes his belly rubs , he is on his back get out the toothbrush with his chicken toothpaste. I find this to be the easiest wy to brush his teeth. that way he do not bite out the bristles I use an oral B tooth brush the one for humans. it works. Heeheehee got ya. that is what I say to him and then you give him his treat.Quinoa off course.

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  8. Avatar Of Kris



    oh please.. if you would just let them chew on a good sized raw bone a couple hours every week you would not have to waste your time doing this crap. get a good sized pork/lamb bone (like a knuckle or leg..depending on your dogs size) and give them to them a hour or 2 a week. refreeze them and use them until the dogs have gotten off anything ‘good’ and won’t chew them anymore. do not leave them unattended and make sure they are big enough so your dog can not swallow them. they should be able togrind some off but not break off hunks.

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  10. Avatar Of S Knight

    s knight


    i am not able to brush my precious dogs teeth but i but him dental treats he steals stuff so i try to never leave anything around hes a pusher so he does get stuff sometimes but i love him and try my hardest to take great care of him he is a rescue from my daughter who rescued him but now he is my BABY 😀

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