Do I Need to Brush My Dog's Teeth?

Yes! Home dental care is one of the best ways to help keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy. Start as early as possible in your canine friend's life so he or she will become accustomed to the brushing process.

What should I use to brush my dog’s teeth?

Use a moistened dog toothbrush with soft bristles. If you do not have a specially designed pet toothbrush, you can also use a child’s toothbrush, a finger toothbrush, gauze around a finger or a cotton swab.

Do I need to use a special toothpaste to brush my dog’s teeth?

Pet toothpaste, often flavored like poultry, malt and other dog-friendly varieties, is your best option. Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt. While safe for you, these cleaning agents can be harmful to your dog if swallowed.

At-home teeth cleaning tips

Keep the following tips in mind to make the process easier for you and more comfortable for your dog. You can also watch our at-home dental care video to see the process in action.

  • Use a specially designed dog toothbrush or a recommended alternative.
  • Never use human toothpaste. Instead, use pet-safe toothpaste with a flavor favorable to your dog’s taste buds.
  • Give your dog a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste.
  • Lift the lip to expose the outside surfaces of your dog’s gums and teeth.
  • Brush with gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums, as you would your own.
  • Clean the outside (cheek-facing) surfaces, as most pets will not allow you to brush the inside surface of the teeth.
  • Be sure to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar.
  • Reward your dog with play, petting or a favorite activity to positively reinforce the brushing process.


How often should I brush my dog’s teeth at home?

Your dog's teeth should be brushed as often as possible, ideally every day. There are numerous dental care products, pastes, solutions, brushes, chew toys and dental diets that help you provide your dog with the home dental care he deserves. Let your local Banfield veterinarian or pet care professional help you choose the best products for your pet.

How often should I have my dog’s teeth professionally cleaned?

Even with a diligent at-home dental care routine, adult dogs should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once per year. These cleanings allow us to assess your dog’s overall oral health and thoroughly prevent against tartar buildup, gingivitis or gum disease  and other conditions that can lead to life-threatening illnesses such as organ failure and heart disease if left untreated.

Need more information?

Call 1.877.443.7469 to schedule a cleaning or consultation at your neighborhood Banfield. You can also learn more about Banfield’s best-in-class dental health approach on our dental care page.

Did you know?

Active Prevention and Special Care Optimum Wellness Plans include annual dental cleanings for adult dogs.

Learn more about how you can give your pet the preventive care he deserves by choosing a personalized Optimum Wellness Plan today.