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How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth in 7 Steps

by Neil Emmett on 0 Comments

Caring for your canine’s teeth is one of the most effective ways you can work to keep your dog out of the veterinarian. Just like humans, dogs need to have their teeth brushed on a regular basis to help prevent disease.  A study by Banfield found that 78% of dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease. Because of that, it’s important to know how to brush your dog’s teeth and how often to brush your dog's teeth to prevent it. Studies have shown that just by brushing your dog's teeth you eliminate 79% of bacteria they have. 

Before we get started, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. We recommend having the following when learning how to brush your dog's teeth:

Dog Toothpaste: We do not recommend using human toothpaste on your dog regardless of how often you brush your dog's teeth. If you want to brush your dog's teeth properly, get dog toothpaste from a reputable company. Using human toothpaste on dogs has been known to cause issues

Dog Toothbrush: You’ll also want to have a dog toothbrush when learning how to brush your dog's teeth. Human grade toothbrushes have larger sized bristles and can be harsh on dogs. Before brushing your dog's teeth with dog toothpaste, purchase a specialized toothbrush for dogs from a quality vendor. A quality vendor will almost always have a page about how they produce their products.

Person with gloves on brushing a black dogs teeth

The 7 Steps For How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Step 1: How Often To Brush Your Dog's Teeth - Choosing A Time

It goes without saying that it’s going to be easier to brush your dog's teeth when they’re relaxed. Start by choosing a time that your dog will be relaxed and calm around you. We’ve found that evenings work best. From there, choose a time that will work best for brushing your dog's teeth and stick to it. That way, your dog knows what to expect and you stick to a routine. This will also be important in the future as just brushing your dog's teeth will only be effective if you keep at it.

Step 2: Approach & Pull Back Your Dog's Mouth

The next step when learning how to brush your dog's teeth is to approach your dog with a calm demeanor. While it can seem somewhat strange, we recommend approaching on your knees. You want the dog to be as comfortable as possible. Once you’ve approached your dog and are beside them, you’ll want to slowly lift up your dog's mouth to expose their gums. Sometimes this can take several tries as the dogs are getting used to it. It’s important to make sure that you don’t cover your dog's nose when you do so.

Dog licking toothpaste off toothbrush

Step 3: Let Your Dog Taste The Dog Toothpaste

For the next step in brushing your dog's teeth, we want to acclimate your dog to the dog toothpaste. Start by taking a small amount of dog toothpaste and gently placing it on your dog's gums. Once the dog toothpaste is on your dog's gums, you’ll want to leave it for a few moments while your dog licks and adjusts. Once your dog has adjusted, it’s on to the next step.

Step 4: Begin To Brush Your Dog's Teeth!

Now the fun part in learning how to brush your dog's teeth - brushing them! Start by applying a small drop of dog toothpaste to the dog toothbrush. Next, we want to lift your dog's mouth as we did in step 2. We can now begin brushing your dog's teeth. You’ll want to apply light pressure ensuring that the brushes are not flat. Target the areas with large buildup. As you target those areas, make sure you’re not applying too much pressure to the dog's teeth. From there, you’ll want to lightly brush your dog's teeth with a circular motion. Throughout the process, we recommend reinforcing with your dog how much of a good boy or girl they are.

Step 5: End Brushing Your Dog's Teeth On A Treat 

When you’re learning how to brush your dog’s teeth it’s important to always end on a good note. We recommend giving your dog a small treat after the brushing session has concluded. As time goes on and your dog becomes more acclimated to getting their teeth brushed, we recommend slowly pulling back. 

Dog laying down next to wooden Q&A sign

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth FAQs

How long does it take to teach your dog toothbrushing?

On average, we’ve found it takes about 2-3 days to teach your dog brushing. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to be gentle with your dog when administering. If you’re too harsh, the dog will become abrasive and no longer wish to have their teeth brushed. Like anything, learning to brush your dog's teeth is a process. As time goes on the process will get easier. 

What are the alternatives to brushing your dog's teeth?

You can opt to purchase dog food and other products that work to promote your dog's dental health. However, there are no alternatives to brushing your dog's teeth. Similar to humans, it’s important for your dog to have dental hygiene. 

How do you brush a small dog's teeth?

You can brush a small dog's teeth in the same way you would brush a larger dog's teeth. Be gentle and stick to a regimen so your dog knows what to expect.

How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?

Brushing will vary from dog to dog. Studies, however, point to brushing your dog's teeth once a day. We recommend starting small and working your way up like any other regimen. 

Can you brush your dog's teeth at home?

Yes, we recommend brushing your dog's teeth at home. This will help to maximize your dog's comfort level. Focus on providing them with comfort and reassurance. 

Do dogs need to have their teeth brushed?

Just like humans, it’s important for dogs to have dental hygiene. Brushing your dog's teeth on a regular basis can help in the prevention of bacteria build-up and unnecessary visits to the veterinarian. 

Is it okay to use human toothpaste on your dog?

We do not recommend using human toothpaste on your dog.


With a little help from dog toothpaste and a dog toothbrush, brushing your dog's teeth can be fun and easy. Just remember, when it comes to brushing your dog's teeth, take things slow, and be calm with your dog. With a little practice, your dog will begin to look forward to getting his or her teeth brushed!

We’d love to hear from you. Comment below with your experience brushing your dog's teeth. Would the steps above have made it easier for you?

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth FAQs


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