How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Tartar, tooth loss and other dental diseases can often be prevented by regular tooth brushing. Daily tooth brushing can detect disease in the dog’s mouth at an early stage, as dogs rarely clearly show pain from the oral cavity. Here are some useful tips on how to brush your dog’s teeth.

Dog that yawns - learn how to brush your dog's teeth

How to brush your dog’s teeth – Step by step

Step 1: Gather the necessary tools:

Before getting started, gather the following items: a soft toothbrush specifically designed for dogs, a fingertip toothbrush, or a microfiber cloth wrapped around your finger. Choosing a toothbrush that suits your dog’s size and preferences is important.

Step 2: Choose the right toothpaste:

When selecting toothpaste for your dog, make sure it is specifically formulated for canine use. Do not use human toothpaste, as it contains ingredients that are harmful if ingested by your pet. Dog-friendly toothpaste is available in various flavours that are appealing to dogs, making the brushing experience more enjoyable.

Step 3: Create a positive environment:

Make teeth brushing a positive experience for your dog by finding a quiet and comfortable space where you both feel relaxed. Establish a routine and try to maintain consistency to help your dog become familiar with the process.

Step 4: Introduce toothbrushing gradually:

Start by gently introducing your dog to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Allow them to sniff and lick the toothpaste to get accustomed to its taste and texture. This step helps create a positive association with the toothbrushing experience.

Step 5: Begin brushing:

Lift your dog’s lip and, if they are comfortable, gently brush or rub their teeth in a circular motion. Start with the front teeth and gradually work your way to the back teeth. Pay special attention to the gum line and the areas where plaque tends to accumulate. Be patient and gentle throughout the process to avoid causing any discomfort to your dog.

Step 6: Focus on hard-to-reach areas:

Try to reach the teeth at the back of your dog’s mouth if possible. These teeth are more prone to plaque buildup, so it’s crucial to ensure thorough cleaning. Use gentle and controlled motions to avoid causing any stress or discomfort.

Step 7: Praise and reward:

Shower your dog with praise, treats, or affectionate words during and after each brushing session. This positive reinforcement will help your dog associate teeth brushing with something enjoyable, making future sessions easier and more cooperative.

Step 8: Maintain a regular brushing schedule:

To keep your dog’s teeth in optimal condition, aim to brush their teeth regularly, ideally every day. Consistency is key to preventing dental issues and promoting long-term oral health for your furry companion.

When should I start brushing my dog’s teeth?

Accustom the dog to tooth brushing as early as you can, preferably already as a puppy. It takes time to get a dog used to brushing its teeth. When teaching your dog to brush its teeth, you can start by lifting the dog’s lip and gently rubbing the outside of the upper jaw’s teeth with your fingertip or alternatively with a microfibre cloth wrapped around your finger. Do this daily until your dog accepts this. Only then should you introduce the toothbrush.

Start by dabbing their teeth with the brush, then brush for a few seconds and gradually increase the time you brush their teeth. Remember, whenever you are brushing their teeth, give the dog plenty of praise and reward the dog, making the brushing a positive experience.

Brush with small movements

The outsides of the teeth are brushed with small rubbing movements. You should be especially careful with the gum line where tartar formation starts. To brush the insides, you have to open the dog’s mouth, and getting the dog to agree can be difficult, so patience is important.

How to prevent tartar in dogs

The best way to avoid tartar is to regularly brush your dog’s teeth. The teeth should preferably be brushed daily because plaque starts to form again immediately after brushing. Tooth brushing can also remove lighter tartar that has started to form.

Read about tartar in dogs and effective prevention