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A Beginner's Guide To How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth!

by Lana Paws on April 14, 2022

How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth? A Beginner’s Guide!

How to brush your dog's teeth at home - Lana Paws Blog

While brushing teeth is the first and most important part of a human's morning routine, it is as vital for your dog. When you wake up your buddy, and he yawns, you often cover your nose because their mouth stinks even if you don’t admit it. If you don’t brush their teeth, you can see a yellow film on their teeth. It is not a pretty sight! If you want your canine friend to chew his bone all his life happily and have a better quality of life overall, these teeth need to be taken care of. 

Don’t worry if you are new to this. 

This exclusive guide covers it all, how to brush your dog’s teeth, how to keep them clean, and how you can make your dog's teeth strong by following certain best practices.

Why Does Your Dog Need Regular Teeth Cleaning?

It’s not news that dental health reflects your body’s overall health. It is the same for your dog. Thus, to keep your dog’s overall body healthy and fit, you must clean his teeth regularly. If you notice that your dog’s breath stinks, it is time to get a toothbrush. Brushing their teeth kills the harmful bacteria and removes plaque buildup. 

These bacteria can lead to more severe problems like gingivitis and even tooth infections in the long run. It may lead you to remove his teeth which is not a good idea as it also affects your dog’s quality of life. These bacteria can spread to kidney, heart, and other diseases in different body parts. 

So next time when you stop to buy your dog’s treats, do buy them a toothbrush and toothpaste meant for dogs, as well.

How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?

How to brush your dog's teeth at home - Lana Paws Blog

First, you must teach your dog that it is in her best interest. How? By offering her favourite treat or a playtime with you, right after you have completed brushing her teeth. The entire process should be rewarding for both of you. So, follow the steps below to clean your dog’s teeth thoroughly.

  • Choose the frequency that works for you and your dog i.e. daily, twice or thrice a week. When is he most relaxed? At night? Then choose the night brushing routine for your dog. Make it a before-bed exercise
  • Choose the right brush and toothpaste for your dog. You can use a human toothbrush, but dog toothbrushes are available in the market that are softer and specially designed for your furball
  • Choose a comfortable position for both of you. Sit in a position where they feel more relaxed with you. Sit in front of them in a relaxed position and let them get comfortable sitting with you
  • Start by touching their gums and teeth and assess if your dog is comfortable touching them in this way. If yes, then you can move ahead to the next step
  • Now, take some mild dog toothpaste on your finger and let your dog taste it. There are several dog-favorite flavors available in the market. Now, apply this paste to your dog’s teeth. Do it slowly and without him feeling that it is not a treat
  • When all the teeth are covered, take a toothbrush and gently brush them. Move the brush at an angle that their gum line is covered. Lift their upper lip, reach the molars, and try to cover as much area as possible. If this is your first attempt, your dog might be reluctant and won’t let you go as far. Don't push her and progress slowly over several sessions, ensuring your dog does not start seeing this as a stressful routine with you
  • After you have removed plaque, covered all the teeth, and are satisfied, reward them with their favorite treat, toy or playtime to look forward to their next oral hygiene routine

Some Tips For Dog Teeth Cleaning

How to brush your dog's teeth at home - Lana Paws Blog

Your dog can’t be trained for teeth cleaning from the very first attempt. He will need some time and training. So, here are certain prerequisites before you get ready with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Start as early as possible so your dog gets trained to get his teeth cleaned by you right from the start
  • Purchase a dog toothpaste as they are flavored and not as harmful as human toothpastes
  • When training your dog, keep talking to them and tell them what a good pup they are. They understand more with your touch, so pat them and caress them to assure them
  • If they don't like the process or growl at you when you are touching their teeth, let them go and never push your dog
  • If your dog doesn’t allow you to clean her teeth, consult your veterinarian for her regular oral check up

Dog Teeth Cleaning

Apart from brushing your dog’s teeth, you can also get them cleaned by a professional from time to time. Regular brushing is a good way to keep your dog’s oral health up to date, but it may not be enough. Timely teeth cleaning is a good way to improve your dog’s teeth.

There are two methods of teeth cleaning for your dog - one is anesthesia free and other one is under anesthesia.  

Anesthesia Free Teeth Cleaning For Dogs

Anesthesia free teeth cleaning is a simpler process where your dog’s teeth are cleaned by a dental scale instrument or ultrasonic cleaner. They remove the plaque and see if your dog is suffering from any problem. Then the teeth are polished and your dog’s mouth is washed with an antiseptic to ward off infections.   

This type of cleaning is suitable for dogs who are not suffering from any teeth problems and need to get their teeth cleaned occasionally to see if they are orally fit or not. Also, the alternative is better for dogs that can’t stand anesthesia, such as dogs with low blood pressure, heart problems, kidney issues, etc.

Teeth Cleaning Under Anesthesia For Dogs

If your dog is aggressive or you have never brushed your dog’s teeth or if your vet suspects an infection, then your dog may be in need of a deeper dental care, which can’t be performed without anesthesia. So when your dog is unconscious, it gives the dental specialist more freedom to thoroughly clean the teeth and the gum line. If there is any problem with the teeth, the dentist can perform the required procedure. 

This cleaning is suitable for a dog who is in need of thorough dental care. The dental specialist can take X-rays and perform medical tests to inform you if there is any infection or need of antibiotics or anything else. Below the gum line is the problem prone area where most infections start. During deep cleaning the specialist can catch the problem. 

Ways To Strengthen Your Dog’s Teeth

How to brush your dog's teeth at home - Lana Paws Blog

Simple regular brushing cannot keep your dog’s teeth healthy and strong forever. There are ways in which you can strengthen your dog’s teeth.

Raw Meaty Bones

Raw bones are smooth and do not break like cooked bones and do not damage your dog’s teeth. Also, they are favorite among dogs and better than antlers and cooked bones

Dental Spray

Dental sprays are flavored sprays which contain special prebiotics and probiotics which create a slimy film over teeth and keep healthy bacteria safe. 

Plaque Removal

Plaque removal can be done at home by regular brushing or teeth cleaning at a vet’s office, so that your dog’s teeth are all sparkly and plaque free, which makes their jaw strong and healthy.

Dental Chews

Dental chews are a great way to clean your dog’s teeth when he is reluctant to brush them. They are tasty and clean the teeth without your pooch’s knowledge. Their ingredients include coconut oil and pumpkin seeds, which keep their teeth clean.

Right Diet

The correct diet which involves well balanced fresh food, fruits, meat, fish and eggs keep your dog’s teeth naturally strong. Avoid giving them carb-rich and commercially available dog food. 

Read more relevant articles - Summer diet tips for dogsHow much to feed my dogWinter Diet Tips for DogsMental stimulation exercises for dogs.

How to brush your dog's teeth at home - Lana Paws Blog

Are All Dog’s Equally Susceptible To Dental Problems?

Smaller dogs and brachycephalic breeds are more prone to dental diseases and thus, they may require more frequent cleanings at home and/or anesthesia-free cleanings at least twice a year.  

Some of the breeds which are at higher risk of dental problems and diseases include,

  • Pug
  • Pekingese
  • Chihuahua
  • French Bulldog
  • Toy Poodle
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Yorkshire Terrier, etc.

If you have one of these dogs, be a little more attentive about your dog’s teeth.

How Often Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

Just like yourself, you must try to brush your dog's teeth daily. But if you are not be able to spare so much time daily, try for 2-3 times a week.

When your dog gets in the habit of getting its teeth brushed, it won’t take much of your time. 

Also, if you are taking the measures mentioned above for your dog’s dental health, once or twice a week is also acceptable.

Is Baking Soda Useful In Cleaning Your Dog's Teeth?

Many people have this wrong notion that using baking soda can clean your dog’s teeth, but its implications can be far-fetched, if it is swallowed. It has high alkaline content which can cause digestive problems if your dog swallows it. 

Same way, do not use alcohol or human toothpaste to clean their teeth. Instead, resort to natural ingredients. Guava, carrot, cucumber, etc, are a few food items which are helpful in keeping their teeth clean.  


Your dog’s oral health should not be ignored. Whether your dog is a pup or is getting towards an older age, you must brush their teeth daily. A proper dental regime will make their life easier in their old age. So, to ensure your dog’s quality of life, train them for brushing and also make regular visits to the vet for teeth cleaning and for overall dental hygiene. 


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