Dog dental care: How to clean your dog’s teeth

Posted by Argos, 30 April 2016, last updated 16 February 2023.

Great dog dental care is a significant part of taking care of your pet.

Most pet owners accept that a certain amount of coat-grooming is required to keep a dog looking and feeling good. But it’s not just your dog’s fur that needs brushing.

Many ‘how-to’ guides will recommend brushing your dog’s teeth regularly – maybe even daily – but the truth is most dog owners ignore this recommendation. Busy lives and other commitments mean a daily doggy dental routine is unrealistic. Chances are, you’re among them. There’s no shame in it but your dog’s dental health still needs consideration, so we have put together our guide to cleaning dogs teeth and also how to clean dog teeth without brushing them.


A dog gets its teeth examined, having them cleaned by a professional is a top dog dental care tip

Professional dog teeth cleaning

If you’re strapped for time and unable to clean your dog’s teeth, then getting them cleaned professionally might be the solution for you. The only downside to this is professional dog dentists can be expensive, so be prepared to pay for the treatment.

Food for thought

One of the best ways to keep your dog’s teeth healthy is with a carefully considered diet. Opt for high-quality food that’s formulated for healthy teeth – your vet may be able to recommend some.

Avoid giving your dog too many treats and resist the temptation to feed treats from the table and leftovers.

‘Chews’ another option

Chewing both dental chews and toys is the next best option, or using enzymatic gels. Mouthwashes and water additives are another good option as these are very hands-off. Brilliant if you have a particular grumpy pet.

Dried food trumps wet food because wet food sticks to the teeth like superglue and is perfect fodder for those bacteria. The mechanical action of the dried food also helps clean the teeth.

You can up the game even further by using prescription dental diets. Take a browse through the products available to you and use one or a combination of methods – just choose the ones that suit you and your pets.

Dog chews are great for dog teeth cleaning


How to brush your dog’s teeth

If you decide to brush your dog’s teeth yourself, be patient and persevere.

Just like at bath-time, it might take some getting used to for you and your pet – and there might be some mess. Below we have a step-by-step to brushing your precious pooch’s teeth.

  1. Firstly, make sure you have access to pet toothpaste and do not use human toothpaste as it can upset your pet’s stomach.
  2. Push the pet toothpaste or gel into the bristles of the toothbrush to avoid it falling off.
  3. Approach your pet’s mouth from the side and hold the muzzle with one hand.
  4. Use your thumb to lift the jowl out of the way and slide the toothbrush in.
  5. Brush in circular motions ensuring all the teeth and gumline are brushed.
  6. Brush the incisors last, as pets will quite often react to these being brushed.
  7. You don’t have to worry about brushing the insides of your pet’s teeth as the saliva is enough to keep the insides of your dog’s teeth relatively clean.

How often should I clean my dog’s teeth?

How often you should clean your dog’s teeth will vary depending on the type of diet they have and the breed they are. For some dogs, a scale and polish once every six months will suffice, however, others may need to go more frequently.

It’s important to keep an eye out for any plaque build-up and don’t ignore extremely bad breath.

Why your dog’s dental health matters

Bad breath isn’t the only reason you need to stay on top of your dog’s dental health. Dental disease is perhaps one of the most common preventable health problems seen in our pets.

It leads to smelly breath, bleeding gums, difficulty in eating, mouth abscesses, illness and pain. In its extreme the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing heart issues. That’s not to mention very unsightly teeth, and the expense involved when treatment is required.

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is important, as is keeping your furry friend and yourself protected from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.

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