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Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Do you brush your teeth every day? We’ve all heard how important it is for our oral health but what you may not know is that our canine friends can suffer from periodontal disease as well. But how do you brush your dog’s teeth?

It’s important to start when they’re a puppy. Touch them all over, including opening their month and touching their teeth so they’ll get used to it when they go to the groomer or the vet.

Lift their upper lip and rub your finger over their teeth. You can put some peanut butter, cheese wiz, or some tasty plain yogurt on your finger first.

Buy toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. It comes in various flavors, such as chicken, beef, and mint. Do NOT use human toothpaste. Usually you can buy a dog brushing “kit”, which includes a toothbrush with a small row of bristles on one end and a longer row on the other, and something that looks like a rubber thimble.

When you’re introducing your dog to brushing his teeth, show him the rubber thimble or toothbrush and let him sniff and even lick it. Put a little of the toothpaste on the rubber thimble, lift the dog’s upper lip and rub the thimble on the teeth and gums.

Repeat on the other side. At first, only brush the teeth for a few seconds, and then you can gradually increase the time.

If he struggles, take a break. You may have moved too fast with the process and he’s not comfortable. Or he could be teething and it hurts to touch his mouth.

Once your dog becomes comfortable with the process, move to the toothbrush. You can open the jaw and brush the back teeth, although most periodontal disease occurs on the outside of the teeth.

The special dog toothpaste is designed to be swallowed so there’s no rinsing and spitting involved. Give your dog lots of praise and perhaps a treat after brushing.

Veterinarians advise brushing your dog’s teeth every day but try to aim for several times a week.


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