10 Best Ways To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

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Since doggy dentures aren’t a thing, keeping your pup’s teeth clean and gums healthy is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Obviously, the best way to clean your dog’s teeth is to have the vet scrape them while your dog is under anesthesia. However, this can be very expensive, and there are risks associated with anesthesia. It’s best to do everything you can to clean your dog’s teeth yourself.

Once you get your pup into a dental hygiene routine, you’ll still want to visit the vet for regular dental cleanings. Luckily, pet insurance, like the coverage offered by Lemonade, covers annual dental cleaning as part of their Preventative+ package. Plus, Lemonade also offers a Dental Illness add-on, so in case your pup develops gum or periodontal disease down the line, you’ll be covered.

How To Clean Dogs Teeth

Brushing every day with dog-safe toothpaste is the best way to clean your dog’s teeth, but some dogs hate it and will run from the sight of a toothbrush. Luckily, there are other options that your dog might actually enjoy. Here are 10 ways to clean your dog’s teeth that they won’t hate.

#1 – AgriChew™ Chew Toy 

Chewing on toys is a great way for dogs to clean their teeth, and with the iHeartDogs’ AgriChew™, pups will enjoy playtime that doubles as dental time. As your pup chews and gnaws on the AgriChew™, plaque and deposits are gently removed from the teeth and gums, promoting better dental hygiene and overall canine health. To make chew time even more fun, reward your furry friend and put a treat in the hole or fill it with peanut butter. Even better, add doggie toothpaste for a fresher, brighter smile!

Your Purchase Provides 1 Dog Toy for a Shelter In Need

#2 – Healthy/Natural Diet

Dog food companies would like to convince you that dry kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than wet food. Relying on kibble to clean your dog’s teeth would be as effective as expecting crackers to keep your teeth clean. Fresher diets with healthier ingredients tend to help improve your dog’s overall health and well-being, and that includes their dental health.

Related: Best Dog Brush Vacuums

Your dog’s nutrition and day-to-day care are what make the difference when it comes to your pup’s health. In addition to a base accident and illness policy, which helps cover unexpected vet visits, Lemonade offers a number of Preventative Care packages and add-ons that help you care for your pup’s routine wellness care to help them live a long and healthy life.

#3 – Dental Chew Toys

There are lots of toys on the market designed to encourage your dog to chew. Dental chew toys with lots of variety in texture can help scrape the plaque off your dog’s teeth as they relax and enjoy their primal instinct to chew. Your dog should always be supervised when playing with chew toys to make sure they don’t swallow any large pieces.

Each Purchase Provides 1 Dog Toy for a Shelter In Need!

#4 – Raw Bones

While cooked bones can splinter and cause all sorts of problems for your dog, raw bones are a fantastic way to help clean your dog’s teeth while satisfying their urge to chew. Keep in mind that you’ll want to choose size-appropriate bones. A chicken wing could choke a Great Dane and a cow femur would be a tall order for a Yorkie.

Remember, never give your dog cooked bones! They can easily splinter and cause intestinal damage. 

#5 – Coconut Oil 

Coconut oil has been referred to as “nature’s toothpaste”. The antimicrobial properties of this popular oil not only promote dental health, but dogs go absolutely bonkers for the flavor.

Here’s our favorite tip in regards to coconut oil: grab a healthy dog-friendly vegetable like a carrot, poke holes in it with a knife, and drip liquid coconut oil into the holes. Then throw the carrot stick in the freezer for a few minutes and then serve to your pup. Make no mistake, this is going to make a colossal mess, but your dog is going to have a great time gnawing on the carrot, while the carrot will clean your dog’s teeth in a safe and effective way!

#6 – Finger Toothbrushes 

Just like us, dogs should keep to a regular toothbrushing schedule to keep their mouths healthy and clean. Some parents brush their pup’s teeth every day while others stick with 2-3 times a week. Whatever routine you decide is best, be aware that some dogs aren’t fans of the toothbrush.

But our “Invisible” Finger Toothbrush is perfect for dogs who hate brushing! This clear rubber finger toothbrush offers a more gentle, natural brushing experience thanks to soft, tiny rubber bristles that help clean teeth while small nubs on the back massage the cheeks. To keep your pup’s smile fresh, replace finger toothbrushes every three months at least. And, to keep it clean, simply wash with mild dish soap after each wash.

This product feeds 2 shelter dogs!

#7 – Probiotic Chews

Did you know good gut health also helps dental health too? Do something good for your pup’s belly and their teeth with iHeartDogs 3-In-1 Probiotic Dog Chews. These soft chews are made with pumpkin, papaya, and probiotics for improved digestion and gut health. Plus, these tasty bites are rich in vitamins and minerals that help your dog’s immune system react and function more efficiently. Vet trusted and made with honest, safe ingredients in the USA, your dog will think they’re getting a tasty treat instead of a healthy chew. Even the pickiest eaters will give them a chance! Give your pup a daily chew to keep them feeling fresh with less gas and better breath.

Provides 12 healthy meals to shelter dogs!

#8 – Water Additives

There are many great water additives on the market today. They make dental care as simple as dropping a bit of liquid into your dog’s water bowl. Some dogs dislike the taste or smell. If water additives work for your dog, it’s one of the easiest methods to promote dental hygiene.

Feeds 5 shelter dogs!

#9 – Deer & Elk Antlers

Antlers are also a favorite of many dogs. By chewing on them, they gradually chip away at the antler and massage their gums and teeth, removing plaque deposits. One antler could potentially last your dog many days or even weeks.

Make sure to choose a product that is a naturally shed antler. Avoid velvet antler products that are cut from live animals.

#10 – Dental Treats (probably your dog’s favorite choice!)

You love to treat your dog anyway. Doesn’t it make sense to choose a treat that will help clean your dog’s teeth? You’re already buying dental treats for your beloved pup. Why not choose one your dog will love that ALSO provides healthy meals for shelter dogs?

The iHeartDogs™ unique and advanced Triple Enzyme Dental Stick formula for dogs is specifically designed to control plaque, reduce tartar buildup, freshen breath, and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. They’re developed by veterinarians and proudly manufactured in the USA. These tasty Dental Sticks combine a natural abrasive cleansing action with a proprietary triple enzyme source, peppermint, and the flavonoid curcumin to help support dental health.

The treats are grain-free, gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-fat, and each purchase provides 7 meals for shelter dogs!

Feeds 7 shelter dogs

Now, while pet insurance might not be as enticing to your pet as fun toys and delicious treats, it is a great way to show your love and commitment to your pet’s ongoing health. On top of unexpected vet visits, Lemonade offers a number of Preventative Care packages, which can help pay for things like wellness exams, vaccines, and, yes, even your pup’s routine dental cleaning!

Applying for Lemonade Pet is easy via the website or mobile app. Get a quote in minutes and customize your pup’s care to meet their needs and your budget.

Get a quote today!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions About Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

1. Can I Clean My Dog’s Teeth At Home, Or Should I Seek Professional Dental Cleanings?

 Taking care of your dog’s dental health is one of the great ways to ensure they live a happy and healthy life! Brushing your dog’s teeth at home is a great way to build good dental health. It’s an excellent bonding activity too! Cleaning your dog’s teeth at home can be a part of their dental care routine, but you should still consider professional dental cleanings, especially if your dog has existing dental issues. Professional dental cleanings performed by veterinarians are crucial for maintaining your dog’s oral health and preventing serious dental problems.

2. Are There Any Natural Remedies For Cleaning My Dog’s Teeth?

Here are some natural remedies that complement your dog’s dental care routine.

  1. Dental Brushy Sticks:  Dental brush sticks for dogs are like a fun playtime, and a mini dental spa rolled into one! They come in various shapes and textures tailored to your dogs’ weight and age. Dental sticks help keep your pup’s teeth squeaky clean and their gums healthy. Plus, some even have unique ingredients that leave your doggo’s breath smelling fresh and sweet.
  2. Scented Brushing Dog Bones or Toys: A brushing dog bone toy is a fun and productive chewy that helps keep your pup’s pearly whites in top shape! A brushing bone has little bumps and grooves that work like a mini toothbrush scrubbing away yucky plaque and tartar while your dog happily gnaws on it. It is a fun way for your furry buddy to play while taking care of their dental health at the same time. Some even have mint scent to give your pup a fresh breath for all those kisses they give you. 
  3. Raw Bones: Raw bones can be a natural way to promote dental health in dogs. Chewing on raw bones can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, although it’s important to supervise your dog to prevent choking hazards or digestive issues.
  4. Coconut Oil: Some dog owners use coconut oil as a natural way to improve their dog’s oral health. You can apply a small amount to your dog’s teeth and gums. 

While these natural remedies can support your dog’s dental health, brushing your pup’s teeth and professional dental care regularly is important. 

3. What Should I Do If My Dog Resists Teeth Cleaning?

If your dog is resisting teeth cleaning, take it slow and introduce the toothbrush gradually, using tasty toothpaste and offering plenty of positive reinforcement and treats to make the experience enjoyable. Establish a regular dental care routine and consider alternative options such as dental toys or chews. If your dog still resists, consult your vet for further guidance and possible professional cleaning options, always remembering to approach the process with patience and understanding.

4. Can Dental Treats Or Special Diets Improve My Dog’s Dental Health?

Dental treats and special diets can positively influence your dog’s dental health. Dental treats work their magic by reducing plaque and tartar buildup as your furry friend chews on them, and some treats even come with delicious flavors that freshen breath and promote healthy gums. In addition, certain dog food brands offer specialized diets that are formulated to support your dog’s oral health by using specific textures and ingredients.  With these treats and diets as part of your dog’s dental care routine, you’re not just keeping those tails wagging but those teeth shining, too!

5. Are There Any Risks Associated With Cleaning My Dog’s Teeth?

It’s important to clean your dog’s teeth, but there are potential risks to caring for your dogs’ teeth at home. These risks can include the risk of gum irritation or accidental nicks if you’re not careful during the brushing process. Some dogs might also feel a bit stressed or anxious if they’re not used to it, and swallowing too much toothpaste or dental products could upset their stomachs and cause nausea or diarrhea. It’s always best to stick to dog-specific dental tools and keep an eye on your pup during the cleaning. If you’re worried or need guidance, don’t hesitate to contact your vet for expert advice. With patience and some TLC, you’ll navigate the teeth-cleaning journey like a pro!

6. How Long Does It Take To Clean My Dog’s Teeth Properly?

The time it takes to clean your dog’s teeth properly can vary depending on your dog’s cooperation, oral health, and the thoroughness of the cleaning process. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Initial cleaning: The first time you clean your dog’s teeth, it may take some time for them to become used to the process. It may be necessary to take baby steps when introducing the toothbrush and toothpaste. Sometimes, allowing your dog to sniff and taste them before attempting to brush their teeth may help ease their anxiety about trying something new. 
  2. Regular cleaning: Once your dog is comfortable with the process, you can establish a regular dental care routine. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to around 5-10 minutes to thoroughly clean your dog’s teeth, depending on the size of your dog, the extent of their dental care needs, and their comfort level during the process.

It’s important to be patient and gentle during cleaning to ensure your dog remains relaxed and cooperative. If your dog has significant plaque buildup or dental issues, it may take longer to clean their teeth effectively.

7. Can I Use Dental Wipes Instead Of A Toothbrush?

Dental wipes can be a great alternative to a toothbrush when it comes to cleaning your dog’s teeth, especially if your furry friend is anxious about having their teeth brushed. These wipes are specifically designed for dogs and can help reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth. If your dog finds the brushing process uncomfortable or stressful, dental wipes can be a convenient option to maintain their dental hygiene.

8. Are There Any Age Restrictions For Cleaning A Dog’s Teeth?

There are no strict age restrictions for cleaning a dog’s teeth, but it’s essential to consider your dog’s specific circumstances and any potential dental issues they may have. 

9. Can I Clean My Puppy’s Teeth, And If So, How Should I Do It?

While you can introduce dental hygiene habits in puppies, using products specifically designed for their age and size is important. Puppies may have sensitive gums, so it’s important to be gentle during cleaning.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and puppy-safe toothpaste to clean your puppy’s teeth. Begin by gently massaging their gums, then introduce the toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste, brushing in circular motions along the gumline. Offer rewards and praise to create a positive association, and aim for a regular dental care routine. 

10. What Is The Best Technique For Brushing My Dog’s Teeth?

When brushing your dog’s teeth, start slow and easy, letting them sniff the toothbrush and paste. Then, gently lift their lips and hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to their teeth. Use small, circular motions, especially around the back teeth where the gunk likes to hide. There does not need to be a lot of pressure from the toothbrush. Gentle circles are enough.  If your dog seems uneasy, pause and give them some love and reinforcement – those make it a positive experience! Try to make it a habit a few times a week, and you’ll keep those doggy grins shining bright. Also, use toothpaste made specifically for dogs, as human toothpaste can be risky.

11. Are There Any Specific Tips For Cleaning Small Dog Breeds’ Teeth?

Cleaning a small dog’s teeth can be challenging due to their tiny teeth, small jaws, and mouth. There are some tips and tricks to help you on your journey to brush your small pups teeth. 

  1. Use a smaller toothbrush designed for small breeds. 
  2. Handle their delicate mouths with care and patience. It is important to be gentle. 
  3. Regularly inspect their teeth and gums for signs of dental issues such as plaque, redness, and irritation. 
  4. Introduce the process of brushing slowly. Start with allowing your pup to explore the toothbrush by sniffing and licking it. 
  5. Positive reinforcement is key. Pups love treats and rewards. 
  6. Plaque and buildup can form in the back molars and tight, hard-to-reach places. Pay close attention while brushing their molars during the cleaning process. 

Remember to visit the vet for regular dental checkups. Dental checkups should be done once a year. However, small breeds may benefit from two dental checkups a year. 


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