Picture of How to brush your dog's teeth
While dogs rarely get cavities, plaque and tartar on your dog's teeth can lead to serious problems. Gum disease can be painful and cause tooth loss, bone loss, bad breath and infection. The bacteria that grow in an infected gum can also spread to other parts of a dog's body and cause endocarditis (heart valve infection), kidney and liver damage.

Before starting an at-home oral care regime for your dog, I suggest you have a vet look at her teeth and determine what level of build-up is present. If there is tartar build-up, they might remove it with a scaler, usually while your pet is anesthetized. It is important that you never try this at home as the vet removes plaque from both above and below the gumline while at home you can only reach what they eye can see.

After you are given the ok by your vet, you are ready to start getting your dog accustomed to brushing.

It's worth noting that some dogs are predisposed to extreme tartar production due to hereditary traits passed on through generations. If your dog seems to have recurring tartar issues, discuss with your vet how best to proceed.
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Step 1: Supplies you'll need

Picture of Supplies you'll need
Dog toothpaste, see note below*
Gauze pads (optional)
Soft finger toothbrush or soft small-head toothbrush
Treats, commercial dog treats, string cheese, hot dogs or anything else your dog likes and that you can dole out in small portions

  • It is very important to only use a toothpaste made especially for pets. There are many different flavors and varieties available at pet supply stores. However, I highly recommend the CET brand pet toothpaste as it works enzymatically rather than with an abrasive cleanser like some other brands.
SparkySolar1 month ago

Thank you

We have three large dogs, and we brush their teeth every night. They really look forward to it.
GinkoJojo5 years ago
Thanks for this! I've tried in the past and couldn't get her to let me brush em'. I'll try using this technique starting tomorrow and see how it goes. Also, your corgi looks almost identical to mine :D!
pyromonkey5 years ago
Great Instructable!! I'm totally going to give this a try, (Ein, my dog) HATES having his teeth brushed. I spent a good fortune at the pet health food store down my street on a really good enzymatic toothpaste and brush...I'm going to start working with him on getting used to a toothbrush in his mouth. We have the same kind of dog btw, except mine is a Cardigan :)
wonderful article! this really helped me.
Great article. I wish more people took dental care seriously for their pet. I would like to correct you though. Dogs do get cavities. Just remember: dental disease leads to many other diseases.
My poor puppy came from the humane society so she's no exactly appreciative of teeth brushing. She does like the belly rubs after though!
corector3215 years ago
Thank you for the advice. I used to brush my dogs teth with nothing but a little praise. I skipped a couple of steps but i added treats and a lot of praise. My dog thinks its a fun game now :). thanks!
fwjs286 years ago
my mom tried using a dental like instrument like the ones at the dentists' office and it work pretty well to scrape off all the junk off....then she uses the toothbrush type thing you use....pretty cool 4/5

Nice one on how to brush their teeth. I have often noticed that even we tend to neglect how to correctly brush our teeth

Have a look at the following article which shows a step by step procedure on how to brush our teeth
How to brush teethHow to brush teeth
Sunny1246136 years ago
ooh cool
NachoMahma7 years ago
. Another great doggy iBle. A little patience goes a long ways. . Do you really brush your dog's teeth every day? I inspect mines' mouth/teeth about once a month and don't brush their teeth but about every six months. Maybe sooner if they find some litter box crunchies.
beastbunny (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
I try to fit it in everyday, of course sometimes we do miss. While it's better than nothing, once every six months isn't doing anything for your dog's teeth. If they stay clean, your dogs must just the right balance of bacteria in their mouths. You have to remove the buildup while it's still soft and white before it becomes tartar, the hard yellow stuff. This can't be removed just by brushing, but only by a dental scaling because it builds up underneath the gum as well as on the tooth's outer surface. I don't mean to preach but after dealing with so many rescue dog's teeth issues (especially small breeds, which can have some pretty rank teeth) and seeing what lack of dental care can do, I think it's very important. My current dog gets tartar like there's no tomorrow and I really hate to have him put under for cleanings so we take preventative measures. He really does LOVE his toothpaste so he jumps up on the sofa if you say "teefies". :) In closing, think about how often you brush your own teeth. Every day? Why shouldn't your dog?
I brush my dog's teeth once a week. It was what the vet told me at minimum. But he hates it so much. I'm going to try it this way and go slow to try to get him to like it better.
> your dogs must just the right balance of bacteria in their mouths
. Well, they don't get much soft food and they have plenty of chew toys. Other than that, I guess I'm just lucky. I have had dogs that would need to have a minor teeth cleaning every 2-3 years, but I have the vet check the teeth every visit so it's was caught early enough not to be a big problem.
> I don't mean to preach but after dealing with so many rescue dog's
. I don't think you're preaching. Just a concerned dog lover. ;)
. I worked at a local shelter for a while and know where you're coming from. I've even "confiscated and redistributed" a few mistreated dogs over the years.
> think about how often you brush your own teeth. Every day? Why shouldn't your dog?
. Well, I don't rinse my mouth with eau de toilette every few hours or eat kitty krunchies (dolomite ought to be a good tartar remover). heehee
. Seriously, it is something that the vet and I keep an eye on. Thanks for being concerned.
beastbunny (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
Sounds like your dogs are lucky to have you! Yes, the kitty krunchies are probably a good floss substitute! Sadly not mint flavored. :)
r6s1n66 years ago
my dog looks exactly like your. is it an Austrailian Shepard?
beastbunny (author)  r6s1n66 years ago
Nope, Sully is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Both herding breeds though. :)
RE7 years ago
Great instructionable, I have been wondering how to do this. Thank you!
vall3yman7 years ago
That is an awesome t-shirt. Is that "Where the Wild Things Are"?
Very good Instructable, your dog is cute. :-) My mom always wanted to keep my puppy cute and clean. (Sadly, he passed away when I was in 7th grade, and now I'm in 8th.) This reminds me of my dog... great Instructable by the way.
FN647 years ago
Thanks for posting the pet care info beastbunny.. I've clipped my dogs nails but it's always been a struggle.. She doesn't like having her feet touched at all.. never mind the evil clipper!!
beastbunny (author)  FN647 years ago
Glad you like them. I hope someone gets use out of them and they help dogs lead healthier, more stress-free lives. Almost all behavior is learned, especially bad associations with things. Using positive reinforcement, attitudes can be changed and dogs can enjoy all the little things they usually hate like nail trimming and teeth brushing. Good luck!
lol i just had my dog trimmed (and brushed) about 4 hours ago :-P
beastbunny (author)  !Andrew_Modder!7 years ago
Haha! Then it's the perfect time to start getting him/her used to fingers/dry brush so that you can work up to a daily routine!