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If you were a dog, would you like someone to stick an object into your jaw and brush, rub and polish until your teeth get squeaky clean?
Certainly NOT. It’s not the most pleasant way to spend the better part of a morning.
Yes, brushing a dog’s teeth can be a challenging affair. Most dogs are not comfortable with a foreign object being inserted into their mouth. The good news is that there are ways to clean your dog’s teeth WITHOUT brushing them.
Using these methods, you can have an easier time cleaning your dog’s teeth while eliminating the running battles of using the dreaded toothbrush.
Related Post: How to Whiten Dogs’ Teeth: Step-by-Step Guide
9 Best Ways to Clean A Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing
1. Using dog dental wipes
It is much easier to clean your dog’s teeth using dog dental wipes than brushing.
The use of your finger to move the wipes around the dog’s mouth is SO much more reassuring.
Although wipes do not scrape off much of the plaque, the Veterinary Oral Health Council has approved several brands meaning they get the job of removing tartar and plaque done. You can purchase dog dental wipes online, at drug stores, or at your vet.
The advantages of using dog dental wipes include being easy to use and soft of the gums. Most dogs can tolerate your finger in their mouth and when you use a dental wipe you can insert your finger into the mouth. They also come in tasty or neural flavors and are easy to maneuver.
On the other hand, the cons of dog dental wipes include being single-use only, expensive for daily use, and not ideal for long-standing plaque and tartar.
2. Get ’em raw bones
Is there anything more natural for dogs than chewing bones?
Apart from being tasty, they are great for a dog’s dental health. The act of gnawing on a real bone helps scrape off the plaque and tartar. This natural act is one of the simplest ways to clean dog teeth without brushing.
However, you need to take precautions with real meat bones, especially cooked bones. They splinter, crack, and can cause cuts, blockages, and other problems for your dogs. For these reasons, uncooked bones are recommended.
Meat bones easily spread germs. Wash hands after handling bones and restrict your dog’s bone chewing to a specific area for easier sanitation.
But where in god’s name can you get bones for your pooch?
Buy them online, from pet stores, and cheaply at local butchers (my personal favorite) and meat processing stores. The pros of bones for dog teeth are, they help clean tartar and plaque healthily and naturally.
However, one major disadvantage can be difficulty in sourcing. Also, handling raw animal bones can spread germs and they are also potential choking hazards because of splintering. But generally, bones are effective natural dog teeth cleaners without having to use a brush.
3. Use dog chews
Chews are a healthy and tasty alternative to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing and are similar to bones. Examples of chew include Yak cheese chews, bully sticks, beef tendons, and other similar dog treats.
They are made from natural, simple ingredients and consumed slowly to make your dog chew. They are also training tools to help overcome problem chewing like chewing your sofa or shoes and biting. These chews can also keep the dog distracted as required or be used as a reward system.
Alas, no product is perfect! The cons of dog chews include some dogs gnawing fast through certain chews which makes them ineffective. Also, some dogs don’t like chewing and others chew aggressively for safety. But when used properly chews are a great option for cleaning a dog’s teeth without brushing.
4. Work with sprays and gels
You can clean your dog’s teeth by using oral sprays and gels. They are applied directly into the dog’s mouth and then rubbed around the dog’s teeth and gums.
You have to train the dog to be comfortable with the sprays or gel. Just like wipes, they won’t scrape off much plaque,
but the ingredients work to soften the plaque and tartar. So you can give your dog a bone to eat after the gel or spray. The bone will scrape off the loosened plaque leaving the teeth clean. OROr you can use dental wipes to wipe off the loose plaque.
As with anything else, get these sprays and gels online or from pet shops. The advantage of using gels and sprays is that they control bad breath.
(No need to STOP breathing whenever the pooch yawns in your face!)
The cons are some dogs don’t like the taste. Also, you have to put your hand in the dog’s mouth, and they can be expensive if used frequently.
5. Consider using food supplements
Some dog food supplements in the market are specifically designed to soften and remove plaque. Available options include those made from sea-weeds, which also help with dog breath. Certain enzymes and ingredients are used in others to soften and remove plaque.
You should feed these teeth cleaning supplements daily by adding them to the dog’s regular meal.
They can be sourced from some pet stores and other platforms like Amazon or Chewy.
Being an easy to use, natural, and healthy option are some of the pros. They also don’t require you to insert your hand into the dog’s mouth.
The cons are that they are expensive and some dogs dislike the taste. Dog teeth supplements are mostly for softening the plaque so additional cleaning like wiping with dental wipes is required.
6. Consider natural ingredients (coconut oil, anyone?)
Consider natural ingredients like cinnamon and coconut oil to clean your dog’s teeth. For example, when you add coconut oil to dog food, it helps break down plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth, getting rid of the dreaded bad breath.
Coconut oil can be sourced from grocery stores and online retailers. The pros of using coconut oil are that it is all-natural, less expensive, AND dogs enjoy the taste.
The cons are you still need to scrape the plaque off. It is also high in calories and if used in excess can cause diarrhea.
7. Chew dat toy, doggo!
The constant gnawing and chewing on chew toys helps clear off plaques and keeps your dog’s mouth tartar free.
The main disadvantage of chew toys is that for larger breeds you need to replace them regularly. On the other hand, they are available almost anywhere.
The main advantage is that the dog can use them without YOU being around. They also instill proper chewing behavior and keep dogs busy.
Unfortunately, they provide no nutritional value and can choke dogs from torn-off pieces. So, steer clear of the cheapest chewing toys!
8. Simple dental treats and dental toys
They come with specific ridges and grooves for cleaning plaque and tartar as your dog chews on them.
And their main advantage is that they are, well, treats and dogs LOVE their taste. They are available from Amazon or Chewy.
The best part is that they do not require the involvement of the dog owner for the animal to use them. They also have proven effectiveness at scraping tartar and plaque. On the other hand, they are expensive when used frequently and offer single-use only. But they add extra calories.
9. Healthy fruits, veggies, and treats
Carrots, watermelons, or sweet potato treats can also clean your dog’s teeth. Natural foods are beneficial in promoting healthy teeth for your dog both orally and when digested. Fortunately, fruits and vegetables are completely healthy unlike most dog treats that feature sugars, syrups, and other toxic ingredients.
They are available from any greengrocer. The main benefits are that they are healthy and natural, inexpensive, and full of vitamins and nutrients.
But they are not specific for teeth cleaning, and some fruits and veggies are not safe for dogs. Plus, some dogs may think that fruits and veggies are YUCK.
Sign of Dental Disease in Dogs
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease that afflicts dogs. Some of the general signs are:-
- Red puffy gums
- Pain while chewing
- Dark brown spots on teeth
- Cracked teeth
Keenly observe your dog’s chewing and eating habits to identify any strange eating behavior that may be a sign of a dental problem. The cost of professional dog dental cleaning ranges from $300 to $600 or more. It does not come cheap and is reason enough to take good care of your dog’s teeth to avoid such high fees in dealing with problems you could have prevented.
That is why most experts recommend at least using vet recommended dog toothpaste EVEN if you are using dental wipes.
The tips above are great, but they can’t replace brushing your dog’s teeth. Frequent teeth brushing is a must for good dog oral health.
So, make it a habit to brush your dog’s teeth at least daily and at a bare minimum twice a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use coconut oil only to clean the dog’s teeth?
No. Mixing it with the dog’s food is effective in breaking down plaque and tartar.
Alternatively, use it as toothpaste with a toothbrush to scrape plaque and tartar. But you cannot use coconut oil alone without having a scraping system in place to remove the loosened plaque. Try dental wipes to dislodge the loose plaque if your dog is averse to a toothbrush.
How can I remove tartar from a dog’s teeth at home?
By brushing dog’s teeth using dog-friendly toothpaste. The toothpaste contains ingredients that help prevent tartar buildup.
Use of dog tooth wipes, dental treats, chews, and plaque remover for dogs is also effective. Keep up a strict brushing or tooth cleaning schedule and you will begin to see a difference in a month or so.
How do you fix a dog’s stinking breath?
The most common causes of stinky breath are poor oral hygiene or by diet. So, here’s what you should do to make sure your dog’s breath is like a sweet summer breeze.
- Brush your dog’s teeth frequently. It reduces plaque and tartar, preventing periodontal disease, which causes stinky breath. Brands like Petsmile offer excellent options of toothpaste to consider.
- Provide the dog with chew toys that help to clean teeth naturally.
- Provide a quality balanced diet, exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian. That can prevent systemic disorders like diabetes and liver disease, which lead to bad breath.
- Secure trash and limit your dog’s access to unpleasant outdoor finds.
The ideal situation is to brush your dog’s teeth at least 3-5 times per week. The kind of dog toothpaste you use depends on your dog’s flavor preference. However, if brushing is not possible, implement any of the ten different ways to clean dog teeth without brushing to ensure your dog has healthy oral hygiene.