How To Clean A Dog’s Teeth – Learn What To Do

March 8, 2018 in Articles

Want to Learn How to Clean A Dog’s Teeth?

If you were asked “how to clean a dog’s teeth” and found this to be strange, then now is a great time for you to read this article to find out why it is a very wise practice to initiate.  To begin, it is very important for you to realize that your dog’s teeth are as important as your own. You must pay attention to the gums and the teeth of your dog.  And, the sooner you do this, the better!

This brush is way too big!

Cleaning a dog’s teeth requires a special toothpaste and a finger brush (which is recommended), or for larger dogs, a special toothbrush. 

Never use human toothpaste or brushes since they are NOT designed for dogs, are not suitable and, ultimately, can hurt. Human-grade toothpaste can poison your dog.

A natural resource to clean a dog’s teeth would be to have him or her chew bones regularly.  It is absolutely okay and very good to give apples, carrots, some bone substitutes (like dried piggy-ears) or natural, hard cookies (wheat and gluten free), without added preservatives or added sugar. 

If you feel fine with this, then give your dog those in between the brushing of your dog’s teeth.  These products will help to keep his teeth clean. However, it is best for you to clean your dog’s teeth about 2 – 3 times, or at least once a week with dog toothpaste and a brush.  There is no way around this. 

A dog toothbrush kit can get you started with brushing your dog’s teeth the proper way.  It has all that you will need.


Click the Image below for More Details.


Knowing how to clean a dog’s teeth with a special brush and the pet toothpaste has to be learned, and it is imperative for you to train your dog for this ritual.  The best time for you to start this exercise is when he or she is still a puppy. 

Brushing a dog’s teeth

However, even if your dog is full-grown and you’ve never brushed his teeth before, do not feel that it’s too late to start–  it will still make a positive difference for your pet!  

It is a learning process for your dog which starts with putting your fingers into your dog’s mouth.  After she gets used to this, the next step is to do the same with a finger toothbrush which is provided in the kit (above) that I have recommended. 

Once this is mastered, put some of the special pet toothpaste on the toothbrush and let her lick it to get used to the taste.  Then, you can move on to the toothbrush and toothpaste, and begin brushing.  If all works out fine, you can start to brush his teeth with gentle, smooth, slow movements. 

Never make this procedure a stressful experience for your dog, or he will never allow you to do this cleaning.  Go forward, step-by-step, until you achieve the result you are seeking.

In between your cleaning regimen, it is a very good thing to offer these Yak bones that are all natural, NO preservatives. 

I have 2 dogs who just love chewing on these!  The reason I especially like giving these bones to my dogs is that they are natural and provide hours of chewing pleasure for the dogs!  This is a 3-pack, so (if you have one dog) you’ll have 2 more to offer once your dog finishes her or his first one! 

Click on the image below for More Details on Yak Dog Bones.  

In case you have never ever brushed his teeth and find that the tartar and plaque on your dog’s teeth are too difficult to remove (it is brown and smells bad), you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.  The vet will professionally remove tartar and plaque. Depending on your dog’s diet and general chewing behavior, this should be done at least once a year. 

Smaller dogs need more dental care as their teeth are tighter and food particles do stick more easily, and in between teeth as well.  Smaller dogs have more difficulty chewing on something hard, like bones.  Larger dogs’ teeth are easier to control. But the problem itself is bigger than you might think.

If you don’t take the time to brush your dog’s teeth (and don’t take care of the problem), your dog can get a gum infection from the bacteria that remains on his teeth.  This, in turn, will eventually affect his vital organs.  It can affect his organs and your pet may even develop heart disease as a result.  It is proven that deficient dental care can cost your dog up to 5 years of his life.

NEVER Use a Human’s Toothbrush or Toothpaste

Benefits of Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth  

Just as humans do, dogs may suffer bad breath, gum disease, pain, and tooth loss if they have poor oral hygiene.

The effects of canine oral disease are not only limited to the mouth; it may also contribute to kidney, heart, and liver diseases.

Both you and your dog may be saved from a lot of suffering and pain in the later stages of your dog’s life if you make it a point to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.

The following are the necessary benefits you can get from regularly cleaning your dog’s teeth:

•       Prevent your dog from having bad breath

Poor dental hygiene is always the cause for a dog to have bad breath.  Cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly prevents odor while removing food debris from your dog’s teeth and gums.

•      Prevent periodontal disease

Periodontitis is one of the most common diseases affecting dogs. Brushing your dog’s teeth stimulates the gums and cleans the teeth in the same way as when you brush your teeth. Regular brushing is the best way to ensure that your dog has a mouth full of healthy teeth, from young all the way through adulthood.

•      Remove tartar and plaque

Regular brushing of the dog’s teeth eliminates tartar and plaque. Although tartar starts in the mouth, if it is not removed, it can be transplanted to other parts of the body where it can accumulate and cause blockages affecting other organs and joints. Regular brushing can also prevent arthritis, heart disease, and many other complications.

•      Reduce damage to your dog’s internal organs

Toxins from periodontal disease and other oral diseases are absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream and can damage the heart, kidneys, and liver that filter the blood.  For this reason, regular brushing is essential to prevent bacteria in your dog’s mouth from infecting and damaging internal organs.

Learning and knowing how to clean a dog’s teeth is imperative for a dog and it should be a daily event for you as a dog owner. It is not a big chore, so it should not be something that you dread doing, especially since you are helping, not only your dog’s teeth to be healthy, but his entire system.  

Soon after you begin this practice, you will notice a major difference in your dog’s teeth.  And, you will be pleased knowing that this is making a positive difference for your loving fur baby!

What Happens If You Do Not Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?

Waiting to have my teeth brushed


When dogs do not have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis, their teeth can accumulate years worth of tartar plus dental disease which results in bone loss, roots becoming exposed, and teeth so loose that they will eventually fall out, even if chewing on their dog food!

•      Bleeding gums

Brushing your dog’s teeth stimulates blood flow to the gums, which is an important part of oral health. If the teeth aren’t brushed, then you can be setting your dog up for inflamed, bleeding gums.

•      Loose teeth

Failing to clean your dog’s teeth can eventually lead to periodontitis, which, if not treated, can damage the bone in your dog’s jaw and open up spaces between the gums and your dog’s teeth, which can lead to teeth becoming loose.

•      Coronary artery disease 

The toxins and bacteria in your dog’s mouth can get into their bloodstream and can cause them to have a potential blockage of the coronary arteries, which could lead to a heart attack.

The following are some other things that can happen to your dog if you don’t clean his teeth regularly:

•        Just like with us, old food that gets stuck in the teeth (and is not removed) turns into tartar.

•        The tartar builds up along the gums and below the gum line—which cannot be seen.

•         The tartar collects bacteria, which gets released into the gums and blood supply — and can potentially poison the dog over time.  The bacteria build up in the dog’s body can spread to the heart, the kidneys and throughout.  Eventually, it can overwhelm the dog’s system.

How Decayed Teeth Affect A Dog’s Health

A good number of pet owners often neglect their dog’s teeth, thinking oral care is not such an important thing when, in reality, it truly is.  According to the VCM, 80% of all dogs, by the age of three, have developed dental disease. 

What pet parents do not realize is that the severity of dog tooth decay can be extremely detrimental to the health of dogs, ranging from tooth loss to possible death which may be caused by related infections. 

When their teeth are affected in this way, the dog’s health can be drastically compromised, not being able to eat in a normal manner because of problematic teeth.  So brushing, along with having the vet check your dog’s teeth, will keep them in good shape.

Dog letting out a howl

•      Decayed Teeth Cause Severe Pain in Dogs

If left unattended, dental cavities can lead to a serious toothache.  The pain can be acute and poignant for your pet.  When the tooth disintegrates, there may also be pain and sensitivity triggered by food, treats or even drinking water. This can lead to bleeding gums. 

In addition to the pain in a dog’s mouth, rotten teeth can also cause pain in the jaw and ears of the dog.

•     Aesthetics

Decayed teeth in dogs look bad.  Decayed teeth in dogs often have holes and can turn black.  If left unattended for too long, the infection can set in, causing pus around the gums. When a dog’s tooth breaks, some parts of the tooth may fall and leave only a partial tooth. 

Decaying teeth in dogs can also cause bad breath and the dogs may even experience having a bad taste in their mouth.  Eventually, the entire decayed tooth may fall out, leaving a gaping hole where the tooth used to be.  In general, leaving rotten teeth unattended in dogs may affect their looks.

Other health issues caused by dog’s decayed teeth:

•     Poor Appetite

Bad teeth can be incredibly painful and lead to a decrease in appetite.  Dogs are at a significant risk for additional weight loss and deterioration, which can lead to organ failure.

•     Sepsis

Mouth bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause sepsis (a systemic infection that goes everywhere that the blood does–outside of the blood-brain barrier).  Septic pets can survive if treated on time — but it is a fight — and they will die if they are not aggressively treated by a veterinarian.

•     Liver abscess

It is the job of the liver to filter out things. When bacteria are swallowed, the infection can develop quite easily and get into the liver. The treatment is long and tedious. It is also expensive and involves long-term treatment.  It can also be deadly.


Besides the above issues, there are complications that can arise from neglected and decaying teeth in dogs.  Proper chewing and jaw alignment can be affected when dogs avoid chewing on the decayed teeth because of the pain that rotten teeth can sometimes cause. 

The dog’s facial structure may also be affected, especially if more than one tooth has disintegrated.  Teeth will shift in the mouth and affect the dog’s facial structure.  An infection is also common if the teeth have become rotten. 

The infection, if left untreated, can spread throughout the body and cause serious health problems, even death of the dog.


In this article, it has been explained how to clean a dog’s teeth and the conditions that may arise (which will have a negative impact on your dog’s health) if you do not make this a regular practice for your dog. 

Please note that, when cleaning dogs’ teeth, you need to clean every tooth thoroughly, including those at the extreme end.  It is important for you to clean around the gums as well.  Your dog probably is not going to like this at first but, after awhile, he or she will become accustomed to it and not put up a fuss. 

Be consistent.  You may be able to do just two or three teeth at first, but if you make it a habit to clean your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, your dog will see cleaning as just another routine in the house.  In this way, it will be a lot easier and hassle-free for both you and your pet!  Here’s to your dog’s vibrant health!

He is having a good time in the snow

How To Clean A Dog’s Teeth – Learn What To Do


    1. Kai says:

      Hi! Great article; I didn’t know dogs can develop heart disease if their teeth are not cleaned. Thank you for sharing this important message.
      I always struggle when I clean my dog’s teeth. He keeps moving his mouth, resisting, and eventually gets mad… So now I only feed him dental treats and have grooming professional clean his teeth.
      Do you have other tips on how to clean dog’s teeth?
      Thank you!

      • Cathy says:

        Hello, Kai!

        Thank you for your comments.  Yes, it is very important to be sure that your dog’s teeth do not get rotten, as that could be the case to develop heart disease from the bacteria entering the bloodstream and then the heart’s arteries; this goes for humans as well.

        I know my dogs are not thrilled with me cleaning their teeth but I began when they were young and now they’ve gotten somewhat used to it.  

        I don’t know if you saw my review on the Yak bones, but that is what I give my dogs.  It really does a great job keeping tartar off their teeth and this bone keeps them busy for hours at a time, seriously!  : )  And, they are natural and safe, unlike rawhide.  Thanks!


    2. Rachel says:

      I have a dog at home too and I brush her teeth very rarely, mainly due to the fact that she hates this process.

      However, she do chew on other stuff like bones, biscuits, and sticks that are specially made to keep her teeth clean, so her teeth have no serious problems throughout the years. We bring her for vet check-ups every year.

      Thanks for bringing the point of preservatives out though. I’ve never bothered checking for no preservatives on the chewing stuff as I assumed that all packaged materials would have them. Looks like I’m wrong about this and will certainly take a closer look when I choose further products for my dog!

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Rachel,

        Thanks for that comment!  I know what you mean — as I mentioned in the article, begin cleaning just a couple teeth and then as the dog seems somewhat comfortable with this, you can clean more, until you’re able to do the entire mouth.

        Glad you are going to consider giving natural treats since the chemicals/additives can cause health problems down the road!  That’s why I recommended those natural treats.  : )  I worry about these things ever since one of my dogs had gotten cancer a few years back.  Thanks!


    3. sharon says:

      I have struggled to clean my dogs teeth and they do need a good clean, you have some really good information and i did not realise teeth could cause so many problems.
      My dog is now 12 bless her and i try to keep her in trim but being a spaniel she doesn’t stay clean for long and her breath does smell do you think that is her age?
      I do give my dog dentistix i’m not sure if they do help but she enjoys them.
      Good info thanks.

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Sharon,

        I know it’s not always easy to clean our dog’s teeth.  You may want to start slow and then gradually build up to brushing more as you progress with this routine.  You may want to try the finger brush I mentioned in that post.  (Please be sure not to use a human’s toothbrush.)  God bless your girl of 12 years!  My girl lived to 15 and left us this past summer; I’m still heartbroken.  We have 2 adorable pups now.

        As far as the foul-smelling breath, most likely that is caused by digestive issues or an imbalance in the intestinal tract.  I mentioned the dog probiotics in my “dog diarrhea” article; probiotics help many things to improve in the body!  

        I only give them the Yak bones (my review gives info on why this is a good choice) because I am fearful of them choking on rawhide or other chew toys, and they love them!  I never tried the brand you mentioned, though.   Thanks for your comments!  : )


    4. Daniella says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Awesome post!

      My father used to clean his dog’s teeth, but it didn’t help eliminate the terrible odor that came from his mouth. The veterinary said that it is due to a stomach problem and not from the teeth. Anyway, I have two big dogs and to be honest, I’ve never cleaned their teeth. I didn’t know that bad hygiene can cause so many diseases. Just a question, please. When you say, clean often, how many times a day or per week should I clean their teeth?

      Thank you for this useful article!

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Daniella,

        That was great that your dad used to clean his dog’s teeth.  But, yes, the bad breath was due to intestinal issues, most likely and that’s another topic.  I have an article written about that issue as well.  : )

        To answer you question, I would say (if you can accomplish this without too much difficulty), once a day is optimal.  However, even 3 or 4 times a week is good, and better than not ever brushing their teeth at all.  You need to gradually work up to the increase of times per week.  At first, you may be able to brush only 2 teeth, and from there, hopefully, you can brush more teeth each time until you get to do the entire mouth.  Once this is done, without a hassle, then it’s best to do this daily.  : )  Thanks for your comment!


    5. Luke says:

      Thanks Cathy, for sharing this great article. I do believe as dog owners, we sometimes forget about the importance of oral hygiene with our pets.

      My dogs have never enjoyed the teeth brushing experience, but it is something that I attempt two to three times a week. In addition, my dogs are given the ‘Greenies’ to help with tartar and plaque build-up.

      Great article, thanks Cathy!

    6. Cathy says:

      Thank you, Luke, for commenting!

      It’s good to hear that you do attempt to clean their teeth 2 -3 times per week. I know that some dogs are just not happy with having their teeth brushed. Have you tried the finger brush as opposed to their regular toothbrush?

      Glad you enjoyed the article! Hope you visit again.


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How To Clean A Dog’s Teeth – Learn What To Do

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