Brushing our dog’s teeth is the nagging task we all know we should be doing, but let’s face it––it’s a pretty huge pain to get it done. While brushing your dog’s teeth a few times a month is definitely the best line of defense against gum disease (especially for breeds that are more at risk), any amount of attention to dental care is better than none.
Dog dental hygiene is actually really important to reduce your dog’s risk of painful gum disease and expensive tooth extraction.
So in that spirit, today we’re going talk about ways to clean your dog’s teeth without having to bust out the brush and paste. If you’re wondering how to clean dog teeth without brushing, read on! We’re going to cover ideas from dental wipes, to rubber dog toys, coconut oil, and a few more in between.
How to clean dog teeth without brushing: 7 Ideas for You to Try
Lucky for you, there are actually a lot of ways to help keep your dog’s teeth clean without actually brushing. After a little digging, I learned that an estimated 95% of dog owners do not brush their dog's teeth regularly (source), including many vets!
But that doesn’t mean dental hygiene can’t still be maintained in some capacity. Here’s what you can do!
1. Add healthy, teeth cleaning human foods to their diets
Many fruits and vegetables make for healthy treats for your canine companion. They’re great because they’re low in calories and fat, are highly desirable to most dogs, and they can help keep your dog’s teeth clean!
Foods such as apple slices, carrot sticks, uncooked pumpkin, sweet potato, and squash are all tasty dog-friendly human foods that help to scrape plaque and build-up off of your dog’s teeth.
2. Try some dental treats
Dental treats, such as the ever-popular Greenies, are a product that many owners swear by for fighting off your dog’s bad breath and addressing canine dental hygiene. These types of treats are usually made with a blend of chlorophyll-filled greens and herbal blends that work to fight of the bacteria that cause plaque.
As your dog works the chew treat, plaque and build-up is scraped away. Anecdotally, owners swear by these types of products. The only down side is the cost and committing to use them regularly. What’s more, Greenies Dental Chews are not low in calories and can definitely contribute to dog weight gain over time.
3. Make their chew toys count
As you probably know, dogs have an inherent need to chew. And one reason for that? Chewing helps keep their teeth clean! You can make your dog’s natural approach to their own dental care more effective by providing chew toys that aid in the process.
Toys that are made from rubber are especially effective at scraping off the plaque on the hard to reach back molars. Meaty bones and antlers can also be effective for keeping teeth clean.
4. Look for brushing alternatives like wipes and sprays
If you really wish you were committing to brushing, or your dog is at risk for dental disease (or perhaps in the throes of it!) one of the best products that lets you skip the brushing are canine dental wipes. This genius product makes cleaning their teeth so much easier compared to brushing.
It’s still hands-on, because you have to be sure to make it a part of your routine and teach your dog to stay still and tolerate the process, but when you compare it to actually brushing, this is the way to go!
I’ve also heard that dental sprays can be an effective alternative too. For these, you spray on each side of your dog’s mouth (focusing on the teeth and gum line). The formula then helps to clean your dog’s teeth and prevent tartar build-up.
5. Consider a water or food additive for oral care
Food additives, such as ProDen PlaqueOff Powder, are highly reviewed products for dog dental hygiene. These types of additives work systemically to treat plaque, tartar, and bacteria in your dog’s mouth. The natural compound is consumed and becomes present in your dog’s saliva where it breaks down the biofilm on their teeth and gums.
Water additives are also highly reviewed by dog owners, such as this one. These types of products get added to your dog’s water daily and work to alter the pH of your dog’s saliva to control tartar production. As a bonus (and where a lot of the great reviews come from) it really helps to fight bad breath!
6. Don’t forget the coconut oil!
Is there anything coconut oil can’t do? Well, add cleaning your dog’s teeth without brushing them to the list of coconut oil miracles. If you don’t already know, coconut oil is well known for its antimicrobial properties.
When used in your dog’s mouth it can help to kill off the bacteria that causes plaque and leads to gum disease. You can add it right to your dog’s food, or wipe it onto their gum using your finger once a week for maximum effect.
7. Don’t skip professional cleanings
If you can’t commit to regular brushings, it is a good idea to read up on the pros and cons of professional dog dental cleanings. This can be an important yearly procedure to avoid long term risks and expensive tooth extractions down the road.
Not every dog or breed needs professional cleanings, but it’s worth learning about and talking to your vet to see if your dog can benefit.
You can prioritize your dog’s dental health
With these tips, you now know there are lots of ways to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing them. Remember that chewing is their instinctive way of keeping their teeth clean, so capitalize on that by providing them with lots of interesting and effective chew toys.
Beyond that, look for ways to add teeth cleaning remedies to their diet and consider investing in some supplements or additives.
To continue learning about your canine’s dental needs, don’t miss these articles:
- Dog Dental Cleanings: Costs, Risks and Everything in Between
- Your Complete Guide to Healthy Dog Gums
- Safe Home Remedies for Your Dog’s Bad Breath
Have an idea to add to the list? We’d love to hear from you below!