6 step guide to cleaning your dog’s teeth – with dental hygiene tips

Your dog’s teeth have a lot of work to do. Dogs use their mouths for more than just eating; they use them to play, explore and taste a lot of their surroundings too. So, if you don’t look after your dog’s teeth regularly you are most likely storing up problems for their later life!


Why should I clean my dogs’ teeth?

The two most common diseases in adult dogs are related to their dental health. Periodontitis (inflammation of tissues surrounding a tooth) and dental calculus (the accumulation of mineral salts or tartar on teeth) are not only the most frequent problems the vet sees, but they are also among the easiest to prevent.

What is plaque?

If dog’s teeth are not regularly cleaned, the plaque will build up and turn into tartar. This has a solid, brown, gritty look and feel and can lead to inflammation and tenderness which is no fun for your dog to contend with while trying to eat. It can also go on to cause gingivitis and gum disease.


Important dental hygiene tips

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure.

One good habit to get into is giving your dog chews on a regular basis. The right chew of the correct size for your dog helps to reduce dental plaque and also to strengthen gums by massaging them as the dog chews. Additional benefits are stress relief and boredom busting! Try the Yak cheese bars, natural antlers or roots or the Anco rawhide chew . You can find all these in the Woof shop.


Beware: chews that are too small can be a choking hazard and many rawhide chews are not as healthy as they may seem – read our blog to find out more on this topic! Also do not let your dog chew stones or hard bones as this quickly causes excessive wear and can also easily break teeth.

Another good habit is to feed dried food as a rule rather than wet food. Dried food acts a little like a chew in cleaning the teeth as the dog eats. Some wet food as a mixer or a treat is of course fine but regular feeding of wet food quickly leads to dental disease and bad breath.

Clean teeth finger pads

It is never too late to start cleaning your dogs’ teeth, but be aware that an adult dog will take longer to quietly accept this as a part of his daily routine.

For puppies and older dogs alike, it is advisable to get them used to the feel of having something in their mouth by using specially created dental finger pads such as the Vet’s Best clean teeth finger pads. These allow you to be guided by touch when inside your dog’s mouth, and thus reduce the discomfort for your dog.

Start at a time when both you and your dog are relaxed and take your time. Keep sessions short and stop before your dog gets fed up. Plenty of praise and positive rewards are important!

Be patient because every dog is different, and some take more time than others to accept you fiddling in their mouth.

Once your dog accepts this method of cleaning you can move to cleaning teeth with a specially designed doggy toothbrush and toothpaste.

Beware: Do not use human toothpaste because the chemicals they contain can be toxic for your dog!


6 Step guide to teeth cleaning with a doggy toothbrush


  • Stroke your dog’s cheek gently with the toothbrush in your hand to get him used to it being by their mouth. This should be repeated over a period of a few days before moving on to the next step.
  • Put some doggy toothpaste onto your finger – most of them taste great – ( if you are a dog) – and let your dog lick it off.
  • Over a period of days add the toothpaste to the brush and let your dog get used to licking the paste off the brush.
  • If you have used the finger pads, your dog should now be accustomed to having your finger running along the gum line inside their mouth. If not, then first run your finger along the gum line inside the mouth.
  • Now it’s time to brush those teeth! Start gently. targeting the front teeth first. Make gentle round motions, stopping regularly to allow your dog to lick the toothbrush (so they’re continuously rewarded).



  • Once your dog is happy to let you brush their front teeth and their canines, you can move onto the back teeth, repeating the stopping and starting process


After a couple of weeks, you should be able to gently brush your dog’s teeth without any fuss. Once you can, try to focus brushing where the teeth meet the gum.


How can The Woof Club help you?

We hope that you will find this blog useful when faced with the daunting job of cleaning your dogs teeth for the first time..  Please let us know your thoughts and experiences on this important topic. You can contact us on woof@thewoofclub.ch or leave a comment on this page. The Woof Club have a selection of helpful items in the online shop as mentioned in the article. Please do take some time to check them out!