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How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth

"Doggy breath" isn't just an expression—regular oral hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for people. Which is why it's never too early—or too late—to start polishing your puppy's pearly whites.


  • Step 1: Check teeth & gums At least once a week, sit your dog down to check his teeth and gums.
  • TIP: If you have a small dog, you may prefer placing him on a counter or table with a towel under him.
  • Step 2: Feel gums Gently run your fingers along your pooch's gums, checking for swelling, tenderness, and tartar buildup. They should feel firm and have a healthy color.
  • TIP: If your dog's gum area seems especially sensitive, or if you notice swelling or bleeding, take the dog to a vet.
  • Step 3: Let pet sniff toothpaste Put a small dab of canine toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sniff it and lick it off.
  • TIP: You can substitute baking soda and water, but never use human toothpaste.
  • Step 4: Let dog sniff again Now put some of the toothpaste on the brush and let him sniff it again. Now he should be familiar with the paste and brush and more willing to let you brush his teeth.
  • Step 5: Brush teeth Gently brush the dog's teeth, front and back, for as long as he'll let you.
  • Step 6: Give drink of water Give the dog a drink of water.
  • Step 7: Wash hands Wash your hands when you're all done.
  • TIP: If your vet recommends it, have your dog's teeth professionally cleaned. Since this procedure is done under anesthesia, it is more thorough than a home cleaning.
  • Step 8: Reward with a treat Reward him with a treat. It may sound weird, but giving your dog a treat after his teeth-cleaning will make him remember the process more fondly next time!
  • FACT: One of the best ways to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy is to feed him kibbled dry food instead of canned.

You Will Need

  • A toothbrush for humans or canines
  • Canine toothpaste
  • A bowl of water
  • And some dog treats
  • A counter or table (optional)
  • A towel (optional)
  • Some baking soda (optional)
  • And a veterinarian (optional)

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