The Ultimate Dog Dental Care Guide

In this blog, we learn all about dog dental care. We’ll learn how to brush your dog’s teeth, how often you should do it, and why dog dental care is so important…

Oct 19, 2023·5 min read

Bad breath is a common problem for all dogs, particularly smaller dog breeds which are more prone to tartar build-up.

It is very easy to just dismiss bad breath in dogs as something that is normal, but it could be the first sign that something is wrong.

Bad breath can be down to a build-up of bacteria in the lungs, gut, or mouth. So, when it comes to dental care, here are the things you can do to improve your dog’s dental hygiene to encourage a fresh breath…

Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Yes, dogs get plaque build-up just like we do, so they also need to have their teeth brushed too. In order to help your dog live a happy and full life, cleaning their teeth regularly is imperative. 

Bacteria naturally settles on the teeth after every meal, which can cause a build-up of tartar.

If you’ve had your dog from a young age, it is easier to get them used to having their teeth cleaned, as they will be much more familiar and comfortable with you introducing them to new things. For those who have adopted a dog from an older age – especially one that is not accustomed to having their teeth brushed – it may be more difficult, but trust you will get there! You can start by using an “invisible” finger brush (a transparent brush that sits on the end of your finger), which your dog may not find so frightening.

Introduce a doggy toothbrush as early as you can so that they’ll be more tolerant to it and make sure, just like when you’re training, to have patience, a regular schedule, and use treats to create a positive association!

How To Brush Dog’s Teeth

Check out our handy PetLab Co. guide on how to brush a dog’s teeth below:

a red, white and blue infographic detailing how to brush a dog's teeth

PetLab Co. Pro Tip: It’s important to take your dog to the vet for a deep tooth clean at least once a year, preferably twice. These visits also give your vet a chance to do a thorough check, enabling them to spot and respond to any issues before they become big (and expensive!) problems.


You should brush your dog’s teeth two/three times a week with a dog enzymatic toothpaste and use a dog-specific dental mouthwash every day. Do not use human toothpaste on dogs, as it may contain ingredients that are harmful to their digestion.

When it comes to mouthwash, look for one from a reputable pet brand that contains high-quality ingredients like Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate, which are effective at supporting canine dental health.

Offer Chew Toys & Bones

There are many synthetic bones and chew toys specifically designed to keep your dog’s teeth strong and healthy. But avoid ones that are too hard, as they can cause your pooch to break their teeth.

It’s important to provide things for your dog to chew on (that obviously aren’t your furniture!) as this will help keep your dog’s teeth healthy, and prevent the build of bacteria.

Why not try out some doggy dental chews or sticks? By using doggy dental chews/sticks you are making sure that your dog’s gums and surrounding tissue are kept healthy and clean. These chews also excel in getting into the hard-to-reach-places – with little effort on your part!

Good dental sticks or chews for dogs will help to fight the build-up of plaque and tartar, cleaning as many teeth as possible whilst also supporting overall oral health and providing a tasty and nutritious snack! Just 1 a day can freshen any dog’s stinky breath whilst providing optimum daily dental care for your pup and preventing unhealthy dog gums. Remember, always source from a reputable, ethical pet brand.

A profile of a collie dog's face, close up with their mouth open so you can see their teeth against a pale blue sky.

Be Wary Of These Ingredients

When purchasing dog treats and foods, always read the labels and try to avoid grains, filler, and additives as well as added carbohydrates and sugars that are found in many pet foods. These provide substances for bad bacteria to thrive on.

Natural is always best, so check out products from reputable companies who specialize in dogs, and that focus on naturally sourced ingredients and items. Knowing this will give you the confidence that your dog’s tooth and gum health is being supported.

When To See A Vet

Looking after your dog’s dental health also means knowing what signs to look out for. If you see any of the following, we recommend heading to your vet:

  • A change in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Discolored, broken, or crooked teeth
  • Red, swollen, painful, or bleeding gums
  • Yellowish-brown tartar build-up around the gums
  • Growths in the mouth.

Dog Dental Care

When it comes to doggy dental health, prevention really is key! There’s no doubt regarding the importance of this. Regular brushing, and using chews and mouthwash daily will help you maintain healthy dog teeth and gums. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!


“AVDC Nomeclature” American Veterinary Dental College

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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© 2024 PetLab Co.

The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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