Training Tips & Treats For Puppy

How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Dog Dental CareBrushing your dog’s teeth should start as soon as possible so that both you and your dog get accustomed to the practice. Your first task is to show puppy he can trust you with putting weird stuff in his mouth. He’s not going to be too sure about what’s going on so take the time to gain his confidence.

Getting Started

First start your attempts by rubbing your fingers along your dog’s mouth and inside his mouth if he permits it. You can wrap your finger in sterile gauze first and put a dab of dog toothpaste on it. Please do not use human toothpaste, it can make him sick.

After he’s used to your finger along and inside his mouth, try upgrading to a rubber finger pet brush and now start gently rubbing his teeth. Just do this for no more than a minute at a time, you don’t want to teach puppy dental care time is boring and irritating. After he’s accustomed to the rubber finger brush and accepts it without reservation, move on to the toothbrush introduction.

Introducing A Toothbrush To Your Dog

When first starting with tooth brushing, it’s important to not make this a long, drawn out procedure. In the beginning stages, just start with no more than a minute at a time, don’t worry about the quality of brushing or the amount of teeth brushed.

The key thing to remember is that if you make this a big ordeal that has to be perfectly performed each time–puppy tires of it quickly and he’s going to start resenting–then dreading, then fighting–tooth cleaning time right from the start. Once that happens it will be hard to get him to accept any dental care procedure.

Before putting the toothbrush to your dog’s mouth, let him investigate the brush for a minute, allowing him to lick the toothpaste if he so wishes. At this point all you’re trying to do is introduce the toothbrush, the toothpaste and the experience itself to your dog. Again, don’t put big expectations on the quality of cleaning at this point. Let him investigate the toothbrush at the start of each cleaning session.

When first beginning, just brush a few front teeth lightly and maybe a back tooth or two. Do this every day, trying to increase the amount of teeth brushed each day, especially the teeth at the back, until puppy gets comfortable with having the toothbrush in his mouth. Once your puppy realizes this type of grooming isn’t going to hurt, isn’t a punishment and isn’t so weird after all, brushing his teeth fully and properly won’t be such a fight.

Right from the start, make sure to talk sweetly to puppy and praise him lots while his teeth are being brushed. You need to be pleasant, not irritated nor grumpy because he’ll equate the negativity to tooth brushing. Have patience with him and observe what his time limit is. If you see signs that he’s only going to sit nicely for 30 seconds, get in, do the job, and get out before that 30 seconds is up. Don’t give him a chance to get irritated and fussy because he’ll learn to start acting up to get you to quit. Once you become efficient at the tooth brushing, the whole procedure should only be about a minute.

If you make sure to give puppy a special yummy treat right after each tooth brushing session, one that he only gets after dental care sessions, he’ll soon figure out that tooth brushing = special yummy treat and will settle into the routine nicely.

It may take time for puppy to get used to the cleaning procedure, but once he does you have the hardest part of brushing his teeth over. Puppy should first be trained to sit and lay on command. This helps prevent any injuries to the dog since wriggling and jerking around while there’s a pointy toothbrush in his mouth can cause serious injury to your dog.

How To Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing A Dog's TeethOnce puppy is fine with the toothbrush and he’s gotten used to you putting it inside his mouth and brushing for a bit, you can start with the full tooth brushing procedure. Again, quit before he starts fussing or fighting you so he doesn’t get a chance to learn that if he acts up, tooth brushing stops.

Supplies Needed:

Dog toothpaste
Dog toothbrush (you can also use a rubber cap brush that fits over your finger to brush your dogs teeth)

You can find a complete dog toothbrush kit here: Petrodex Dental Toothbrush Kit for Dogs – Poultry Flavor, it includes the rubber finger brush. It’s great to shop online since you can have everything you need shipped right to your door.


  1. Have your dog sit right beside you on the couch or a chair that will fit both of you.
  2. Put the recommended amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. When first starting out and introducing tooth brushing to your dog, just start with a little bit of toothpaste so he gets accustomed to the taste. If your dog doesn’t seem particularly interested in the toothpaste, experiment with different flavors until you find one he likes.
  3. Starting at the back of the mouth, top back teeth, insert the toothbrush and brush your dog’s teeth just as you would your own. Not too rough and make sure to go right from the gum line down to the bottom of the tooth, in a circular motion. Lift the dog’s lip up with your free hand so that you can see clearly how well you are brushing his teeth.
  4. Continuing with the top teeth, move along by brushing the rest of the back side teeth, his front teeth, and then the other side. Don’t worry too much about the inside of his teeth, just focus on brushing the outside of the teeth. Dogs don’t usually need the same attention as we do to the inside of the teeth, and the way their mouth and teeth are formed make brushing the inside of the teeth quite difficult to do.
  5. While you’re brushing his teeth, look at them to check for any visible tartar buildup, damaged or chipped teeth, inflamed gums, dark spots or other issues you may have to bring to your vet’s attention.
  6. Once the top teeth are done, repeat the process on his bottom teeth.
  7. Brushing a dog’s teeth is very much similar to brushing your own teeth. You try to brush all of the tooth surfaces as well as clean the gum line well. Don’t brush too hard because you can damage his gums and cause bleeding if you do.
  8. The back teeth can be a bit more difficult to reach and clean. In some breeds of dogs, their back teeth are very susceptible to dental problems. They need to be cleaned regularly or dental problems will develop over time. If you miss the teeth or don’t clean them properly, your vet may have to put the dog under anesthesia to clean the teeth and scale away the tartar buildup. If they aren’t cleaned, they could become infected, rot, fall out or cause your dog pain. Once your dog develops painful dental problems, their eating habits are affected, their personality can wilt (imagine living with a constant toothache) as well as whole body health affected. Having a vet clean your dog’s teeth is very expensive so it’s best to clean them yourself regularly. Some breeds may require professional dental cleaning every few years, and if your vet recommends it be done you should seriously consider it. Good dental care and healthy teeth go a long way in keeping your dog happy and healthy.

How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?

Thankfully, your dog’s teeth don’t need to be brushed a few times a day like yours do. Brushing your dog’s teeth every other day is great, but twice a week should be sufficient. If your dog won’t tolerate a full tooth brushing session, try doing the top teeth one day and the bottom teeth the next day. Talk to your vet to confirm what the best schedule would be for your dog as diet, health and breed can alter the needed brushing schedule.

Make sure to give puppy hard crunchy treats each day or dental chew toys. These items will help fight tarter buildup, and puppy will be quite happy to do this chore himself!

Which Dog Treats Help Fight Doggy Breath & Tartar Buildup?

Hard, crunchy dog biscuits and treats will help break down the tarter and plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth. Choose ones that are good for your dog’s health. Here are a couple you can try: Healthy Teeth Bulk Dental Treats™ for Dogs – 3 Pound Box – Bulk Treats and Healthy Teeth Dental Treats™ for Dogs – Six Pack (6 Bags)

If your dog is on a soft food diet, make sure they have lots of chew toys as well as give them hard, crunchy biscuits to chew on. Look for dental toys available on the market, such as the dental kong toys or the kong sticks, your dog can play while he cleans his teeth! Here are two different dental toys you can try: Kong® Dental Sticks for Dogs – Large Size and Kong® Hard Rubber Dental Toy for Dogs – Large Size. These are in the large size so if your dog is small, just pick up the smaller toy sizes.

Dog Breath Fresheners:

If puppy’s breath is a bit too funky and you’d like to give him a little freshener, here are two neat products you can try: Healthy Teeth Dental Care™ for Dogs – Buy 2 Get 1 FREE (3 Bottles) and ProDental® Professional Pet Dental Wipes – 70 Wipes. You can either add a little freshener to his water or use the wipes to freshen his mouth up.