Skip to Content

How to Remove Plaque From Dog’s Teeth: 5 Steps

As a devoted dog parent, you understand the importance of taking care of your furry companion’s health. While your canine friend may not require the same level of care as a human baby, there are still certain responsibilities that come with being a dog mom or dad. One crucial aspect of your dog’s well-being is their oral health. Just like humans, regular cleaning and attention to their teeth can contribute to their overall happiness and vitality, particularly as they rely on a strong bite for play, protection, and the joy of chewing on various objects.

Maintaining a consistent dental care routine not only promotes healthy teeth for your dog but also helps prevent dental diseases that can have adverse effects on their overall health. If you’ve noticed the presence of plaque and tartar buildup in your dog’s mouth after a meal, it’s crucial to address it promptly. Failure to remove plaque within five days of its formation can result in the formation of tartar, which in turn can lead to periodontal diseases and gingivitis in dogs.

Given the urgency of the situation and your dog’s eagerness (or attempts to evade) during the cleaning process, it’s vital to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and techniques for effectively removing plaque from your dog’s teeth. Before diving into the task armed with a puppy brush, let’s explore a comprehensive guide on how to remove plaque from your furry friend’s teeth, ensuring their oral health remains in top shape.


dog chewing on dental chew

Tips on How to Remove Plaque from Dog’s Teeth

Use Dog-Tooth Wipes: 

Before you get in there with a brush, tooth wipes can help remove plaque on the surface of your dog’s teeth. Although they won’t give you a full, in-depth cleaning as a brush will, this is a simple solution if you’re looking for a fast fix and can be the first step of an in-depth cleaning. Having your finger in there with something delicious (like peanut butter) can help ease the process and make your dog feel comfortable with your fingers in her or his mouth.

Using dog wipes can be a helpful tip for removing plaque from your dog’s teeth. While they may not be as effective as brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste, dog wipes can provide a convenient and accessible option for maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene.

Here’s how dog wipes can contribute to plaque removal:

  1. Quick and Easy: Dog wipes are designed to be gentle on your dog’s gums and teeth. They are pre-moistened and can be easily used to wipe away food particles, bacteria, and plaque from your dog’s teeth. This method is especially useful for dogs who are not yet accustomed to having their teeth brushed or for those with sensitive gums.
  2. Portable and On-the-Go: Dog wipes come in handy when you’re traveling or away from home. They are compact and easy to carry, allowing you to maintain your dog’s oral hygiene even when a toothbrush and toothpaste are not readily available.
  3. Supplemental Cleaning: While dog wipes should not replace regular brushing, they can serve as a supplementary cleaning tool. Using wipes in between brushing sessions can help remove excess plaque and maintain oral freshness.

When using dog wipes for plaque removal, it’s important to choose wipes specifically designed for dental care. These wipes are formulated with ingredients that promote oral health, such as enzymes that break down plaque and freshen breath. Additionally, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use gentle, circular motions to wipe your dog’s teeth and gums.

However, it’s important to note that dog wipes alone may not provide a thorough cleaning or prevent the progression of dental issues. Regular brushing with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste remains the most effective method for removing plaque and maintaining optimal oral health for your canine companion. If your dog is not receptive to brushing, consult with your veterinarian for alternative solutions, such as dental chews or water additives that can aid in plaque removal and oral hygiene maintenance.

Use a Doggy Toothbrush: 

You don’t need to do this daily—two or three times a week is plenty—but if you want to add a good brushing on his or her daily schedule, that couldn’t hurt!  However, make sure you’re not using human tools for the task—you’ll need to invest in a specifically made-for-dogs toothbrush and toothpaste—especially since human toothpaste is particularly toxic for our fur-babies. 

A dog toothbrush is specifically designed to help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth more effectively than other methods.

Here’s how a dog toothbrush can contribute to plaque removal:

  1. Bristle Design: Dog toothbrushes have bristles that are specifically designed to reach all areas of your dog’s teeth and gums. The bristles are usually softer and more flexible than those of human toothbrushes, allowing for comfortable brushing without causing discomfort or damage to your dog’s delicate oral tissues.
  2. Mechanical Action: When you brush your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, the mechanical action of the bristles helps dislodge plaque and tartar buildup. The bristles work to physically remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from the tooth surfaces and along the gumline.
  3. Cleaning Hard-to-Reach Areas: A dog toothbrush’s shape and size are designed to fit comfortably in your dog’s mouth and reach all areas, including the back teeth and the inner surfaces of the teeth. These are the areas where plaque often accumulates and can be difficult to reach with other cleaning methods.
  4. Toothpaste Application: Using a toothbrush allows for the application of dog-friendly toothpaste, which further enhances plaque removal. Toothpaste formulated for dogs usually contains enzymes or other ingredients that help break down plaque and prevent its reformation.
  5. Gum Stimulation: Brushing with a toothbrush not only removes plaque but also stimulates the gums, promoting better blood circulation and overall gum health. Healthy gums are essential for maintaining strong teeth and preventing periodontal diseases.

To effectively use a dog toothbrush for plaque removal, follow these tips:

  • Choose the right size of toothbrush that suits your dog’s mouth and breed.
  • Use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs. Human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs.
  • Gently brush your dog’s teeth in circular motions, focusing on all tooth surfaces and along the gumline.
  • Gradually introduce your dog to toothbrushing, starting with short sessions and positive reinforcement.
  • Make toothbrushing a regular part of your dog’s dental care routine, aiming for at least a few times per week or as recommended by your veterinarian.

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to using a toothbrush for plaque removal. Regular brushing, professional dental cleanings, and a healthy diet can significantly contribute to your dog’s oral health and help prevent dental diseases.

Give them Dental Treats or Chews: 

Another tasty and easy way to remove tartar and help keep your pup’s teeth clean would be to disguise maintaining oral hygiene with dental treats. Designed specifically to help remove plaque buildup, these treats can also do wonders on stinky breath! Another great thing about dental treats is that you can give these to your dog daily! So even if you don’t have the time, patience, or energy to brush your pup’s teeth every day, you can give them a chew treat instead.

The chews are also beneficial for oral hygiene since they not only scrape off the plaque as treats do; the high-quality treats usually contain enzymes that help promote dental health. 

Giving your dog dental treats or chews can be beneficial for their oral health in several ways:

  1. Plaque and Tartar Reduction: Dental treats or chews are specifically designed with a textured surface that helps mechanically remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. The chewing action helps scrape off the buildup of plaque, which can eventually harden into tartar if left untreated. By reducing plaque and tartar, dental treats and chews contribute to better oral hygiene and can help prevent dental diseases.
  2. Gum Stimulation: Chewing on dental treats or chews encourages your dog to use their jaws and teeth, promoting gum stimulation. This stimulation increases blood circulation to the gums, which in turn promotes healthier gums and can help prevent gum diseases.
  3. Freshening Breath: Many dental treats and chews are formulated with ingredients that help freshen your dog’s breath. They often contain natural breath fresheners like mint, parsley, or chlorophyll, which can help mask or reduce unpleasant odors associated with dental issues.
  4. Entertainment and Behavioral Benefits: Dental treats and chews provide your dog with a satisfying chewing experience, which can help alleviate boredom and reduce destructive chewing behaviors. Chewing also releases endorphins in your dog’s brain, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

When choosing dental treats or chews for your dog, consider the following tips:

  • Size and Texture: Select treats or chews that are appropriate for your dog’s size and breed. Opt for ones with a texture that promotes chewing and provides effective plaque removal.
  • Quality and Safety: Look for dental treats or chews that are made from high-quality ingredients and are specifically designed for dental health. Avoid treats that contain excessive additives, fillers, or artificial ingredients.
  • Veterinary Recommendations: Consult with your veterinarian to ensure the dental treat or chew you choose is suitable for your dog’s specific dental needs and overall health.

It’s important to note that dental treats and chews should not replace regular brushing or professional dental cleanings. They serve as a supplemental part of your dog’s oral care routine. Always monitor your dog while they chew and ensure they are chewing safely without any risk of choking or swallowing large pieces.

By incorporating dental treats or chews into your dog’s routine, along with regular brushing and professional dental care, you can contribute to their overall oral health and help keep their teeth and gums in good condition.

Invest in Professional Cleaning:

Just like your dog needs to be groomed regularly to look happy and feel healthy, professional cleaning by a veterinarian can equate to the same healthy meaning of a professional, private dentist cleaning, explains PetMD. Professional dental cleaning should be done on a regular basis to help keep your dog healthy when it comes to oral hygiene—the vet can also help prevent, locate, or even treat issues that you (or your dog) might not have even noticed before.

Investing in a professional dental cleaning for your dog is essential for maintaining their oral health and overall well-being.

Here are the reasons why professional dental cleanings are important:

  1. Thorough Plaque and Tartar Removal: Despite regular home dental care, plaque and tartar can still accumulate on your dog’s teeth over time. Professional dental cleanings performed by a veterinarian or a veterinary dental specialist involve a thorough cleaning of your dog’s teeth, including both visible and hidden surfaces. They use specialized tools to remove stubborn tartar buildup that cannot be eliminated by brushing or dental treats alone.
  2. Detection of Underlying Dental Issues: During a professional dental cleaning, the veterinarian can conduct a comprehensive examination of your dog’s oral cavity. This includes checking for signs of dental diseases, such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, fractures, or oral tumors. Early detection of such issues is crucial for timely treatment and preventing further complications.
  3. Treatment of Dental Diseases: If dental diseases are detected during the cleaning, the veterinarian can provide appropriate treatment. This may involve scaling and polishing the teeth, extracting severely damaged or infected teeth, or addressing other dental issues. Treating dental diseases helps alleviate pain and discomfort for your dog and prevents the progression of oral health problems that can affect their overall health.
  4. Anesthesia Monitoring and Safety: Professional dental cleanings are typically performed under anesthesia to ensure your dog remains still and cooperative throughout the procedure. Anesthesia also allows for a more thorough cleaning as it enables the veterinarian to clean below the gumline and perform any necessary dental procedures. During the cleaning, your dog’s vital signs are closely monitored to ensure their safety.
  5. Prevention of Systemic Health Issues: Dental diseases in dogs can have broader health implications beyond the mouth. The bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and potentially affect vital organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys. By addressing dental issues through professional cleanings, you help minimize the risk of systemic health problems and improve your dog’s overall health and longevity.
  6. Expertise and Specialized Equipment: Veterinary professionals who perform dental cleanings have the knowledge, expertise, and specialized equipment to effectively clean and treat your dog’s teeth. They are trained in identifying dental issues and providing the appropriate care, ensuring that your dog receives the best possible treatment for their oral health.

Remember, professional dental cleanings should be done on a routine basis, as recommended by your veterinarian. The frequency may vary depending on your dog’s specific needs, breed, age, and overall oral health. By investing in professional dental cleanings, you are taking proactive steps to ensure your dog’s oral health is properly managed, reducing the risk of dental diseases and promoting their overall well-being.

Diet Can Make a Difference: 

Although you might have wet food on your dog’s menu during his or her daily eating regimen, dry food can help clean the teeth or keep the teeth clean. Kibbles that are designed to promote chewing can help improve dental hygiene on a daily basis! We hope these tips have helped you maintain your dog’s clean teeth (and good breath) as an owner!

Diet plays a significant role in preventing plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth.

Here’s how a proper diet can contribute to maintaining good oral health:

  1. Balanced Nutrition: Feeding your dog a well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet is essential for overall health, including dental health. A diet that provides all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals supports strong teeth and gums, reducing the risk of dental problems.
  2. Dental-Friendly Food: Certain types of dog food are specifically formulated to promote oral health. Look for dental-specific diets that have a larger kibble size or a unique texture designed to help mechanically clean your dog’s teeth as they chew. These foods can help remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces, contributing to better dental hygiene.
  3. Dental Treats and Chews: Incorporating dental treats or chews into your dog’s diet can aid in plaque prevention. Dental-specific treats and chews often have a chewy texture or are designed to be abrasive, promoting chewing action that helps remove plaque and tartar. Additionally, some dental treats contain ingredients like enzymes that help break down plaque and freshen breath.
  4. Raw Feeding and Bones: Some proponents of raw feeding argue that a natural, raw diet can benefit a dog’s oral health. Raw food and certain bones can help clean teeth by providing natural abrasion and stimulating chewing, which can help remove plaque. However, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before incorporating raw bones into your dog’s diet to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog’s individual needs.
  5. Avoidance of Sugary and Sticky Foods: Just as sugary and sticky foods can contribute to dental issues in humans, they can also pose a risk to your dog’s oral health. Avoid feeding your dog sugary treats, human foods, or sticky snacks, as they can stick to the teeth and promote plaque formation. Opt for dental-friendly treats or consult your veterinarian for suitable alternatives.

Remember, while diet can support good oral health, it should be combined with regular dental care practices such as brushing, professional cleanings, and regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Maintaining a well-balanced diet, providing dental-specific treats, and avoiding foods that can contribute to plaque buildup are all important components of an overall oral health care plan for your dog.

Bonus tip!

You can also invest in a few safe, chew toys that can help promote healthy jaw action, build and grow strong teeth that are constantly chewing and be a fun alternative to help remove tartar from your dog’s teeth without them even noticing that it’s caring for their oral hygiene.

Providing your dog with safe chew toys can be an effective way to help prevent plaque buildup on their teeth.

Here are some types of chew toys that can contribute to your dog’s dental health:

  1. Rubber Chew Toys: Durable rubber chew toys, such as those made from high-quality, non-toxic materials like natural rubber or thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), can be beneficial. These toys have a textured surface that can help remove plaque as your dog gnaws and chews on them. Look for toys with ridges, nubs, or raised surfaces that can provide additional cleaning action.
  2. Rope Toys: Rope toys are another option that can promote dental health. The fibers of the rope can help floss your dog’s teeth as they chew and play. Opt for thick and sturdy ropes made of natural fibers without any loose strands that could pose a choking hazard.
  3. Dental Chew Toys: There are specific dental chew toys available on the market that are designed to support oral health. These toys are usually made from durable materials and have textured surfaces that help remove plaque and tartar. Some dental chew toys also have grooves or ridges that can massage the gums, promoting better blood circulation.
  4. Hard Rubber Treat-Dispensing Toys: Certain treat-dispensing toys made of hard rubber can provide both mental stimulation and dental benefits. These toys often have compartments where you can place dental-friendly treats or kibble. As your dog tries to retrieve the treats, they engage in a chewing motion that can help scrape off plaque from their teeth.
  5. Antlers or Hard Natural Chews: Natural chews, such as antlers, cow hooves, or buffalo horns, can provide a long-lasting chewing experience for your dog. These hard chews can help remove plaque through mechanical action. However, it’s important to choose appropriate-sized chews and monitor your dog while they chew to prevent any potential dental fractures or other injuries.

When selecting chew toys for your dog, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Choose toys that are size-appropriate for your dog to prevent choking hazards.
  • Opt for toys made from safe, non-toxic materials.
  • Regularly inspect the toys for signs of wear and replace them when necessary to avoid any potential hazards.
  • Consult with your veterinarian to ensure the chew toys you choose are suitable for your dog’s specific needs and dental health.

Remember, while chew toys can help reduce plaque, they should not replace regular brushing or professional dental cleanings. Incorporate chew toys into a comprehensive dental care routine that includes regular check-ups with your veterinarian and appropriate dental hygiene practices.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining your dog’s oral health is crucial for their overall well-being. Plaque buildup can lead to dental diseases that not only cause discomfort but also have potential systemic health implications. By implementing proper dental care practices, you can help prevent plaque formation and promote good oral hygiene for your canine companion.

Regular brushing with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, along with professional dental cleanings, are essential components of dental care. Brushing helps remove plaque and maintain oral health, while professional cleanings address stubborn tartar buildup and identify any underlying dental issues.

In addition to brushing and cleanings, incorporating dental treats or chews into your dog’s routine can aid in plaque removal and promote gum stimulation. These treats and chews, along with a well-balanced diet, contribute to your dog’s oral health.

Safe chew toys, such as rubber toys, rope toys, dental chew toys, treat-dispensing toys, or hard natural chews, can provide additional cleaning action and help prevent plaque accumulation. Choose toys that are appropriate for your dog’s size, made from non-toxic materials, and monitor your dog while they chew.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations tailored to your dog’s needs. They can provide guidance on dental care, recommend suitable products, and address any concerns regarding your dog’s oral health.

By taking a proactive approach to your dog’s dental care, you can help ensure they have a healthy mouth, fresh breath, and a happier, more comfortable life.

error: Content is protected !!