Vet Blog

How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

April 20, 2021

Do you brush your dog's teeth at home regularly?

Two-thirds of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease, which can be prevented by brushing your dog's teeth often. Periodontal disease starts with inflammation or infection of your dog's gum tissue surrounding his teeth. This inflammation or infection can worsen, eventually destroying the bone and soft tissue around your pet's teeth.


Gingivitis, which is typically the first step in the development of periodontal disease, is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar at the gumline. Gingivitis will progress down to the bone and around the teeth if it is left untreated. Periodontal disease is painful for your pet and leads to tooth loss.

Preventative Dental Care

You can help to slow down the progression of dental disease by regularly brushing your dog's teeth at home. It is the best and most important preventative dental health treatment you can do for your pet. By knowing how to correctly brush your dog's teeth, you can make it so easy that it becomes a regular part of your pet care routine, as simple as brushing their coat and trimming their nails.

How Often Should I Brush My Dog's Teeth?

You can clean your dog's teeth as much as you brush your own-twice daily. The bare minimum amount of at-home brushing that shows a benefit to your dog's oral health is once every other day. Brushing once every other day will only slow the continued progression of existing disease, but will not reverse any existing disease.

Start Young

By starting when your dog is a puppy, he will be more accepting of regular brushing as he grows up. It may take a bit more time and patience to get an older dog to cooperate, but it is possible.

Create a Calm Environment

When beginning to brush your dog's teeth, their first brushing should be in a calm, quiet, and low-stress environment as he becomes acclimated to the brushing. Be sure to make it a positive experience for you and your dog. You can do this by praising your dog throughout, reassuring him in soothing tones, and rewarding him with toys or treats immediately afterward. If your dog is not into it, don't make it a battle. Take a break and try again later.

How to Brush Your Dog's Teeth

  1. Make sure your dog is comfortable with you touching his teeth without a toothbrush or toothpaste before you begin.
  2. Allow your dog to taste a bit of flavored pet toothpaste from your finger. Be sure to use pet toothpaste, as human toothpaste contains ingredients that can irritate your dog's stomach if he swallows it.
  3. Use a pet toothbrush, as they are specifically designed for dogs' teeth. Most of the benefits from brushing will come from brushing the outside of the back teeth. Try to brush as well as possible for at least 30 seconds on each side. Brush the inside and outside of all teeth, if possible.
  4. Finish strong by praising and rewarding your dog for allowing you to brush his teeth. This will make brushing a positive experience. Wash your hands and the toothbrush well after brushing.

Contact Us

By providing your dog with home dental care, which is a 2-3 minute commitment twice per day, your pet's risk of periodontal disease will decrease, and his overall health and wellness will improve. In addition to brushing at home regularly, your dog should also have regular dental cleanings and exams to maintain proper oral health.

At Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, we perform a Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT) with full-mouth radiographs on each patient to ensure that we are properly evaluating all of the oral structures including underneath the gums. Contact us by calling (303) 688-3660 or by sending a message to to schedule an appointment today.