How to brush your dog's teeth


Dog's teeth need to be kept clean, both for dental hygiene and to prevent, well, dog breath. Here's how to brush a dog's teeth, from dog trainer Mike D'Abruzzo and the lovely Tallulah.

How to brush your dog's teeth
  • Using toothpaste made for dogs, begin by letting the dog taste the paste, which will be chicken flavored or flavored with something else they like.
  • When the dog is used to that, carefully spread some paste on one tooth, near the gum line where plaque collects. The dog will probably lick most or all of it off, but that's okay.
  • If the dog accepts the paste on one tooth, do more of them. You can apply with a toothbrush for dogs, but you don't have to actually brush. Dog toothpaste is meant to dissolve the plaque just from contact with the tooth.
  • For serious plaque or decay on your dog's teeth, a veterinarian should be consulted. You will see the brown or black colored decay. Your dog's breath may also be much worse than it was when they were younger.

KATRINA: I'm Katrina Szish and this is my dog Tallulah. Today we're going to learn how to brush Tallulah's teeth. It's very important to brush a dog's teeth because just like humans, dogs can get a buildup of plaque and tartar which can lead to gun disease or even more serious health problems. And to help us do that is dog trainer and licensed veterinary technician Mike D'Abruzzo. Mike thanks for joining us.

MIKE: You're welcome. 

KATRINA:  So Tallulah has never had her teeth brushed before and I'm a little scared that she's not going to like it because it's not something she's used to. What is the first step in making her comfortable?

MIKE: The first thing you want to do is take a little bit of this toothpaste and this is chicken flavored toothpaste and we're just going to let her taste it. Mmm taste that, it's pretty good. 

KATRINA:  That's not so bad.

MIKE: No not at all.  Now if you have help like this and someone's holding her all you want to do is start with one tooth. So I'll try this with the toothbrush so she can get used to it. And all I'm going to do is lift up her gums and I go by her tooth, right there--good girl--where it meets the gum line. That's where most of the tartar builds up. I'm just rubbing it in a little and we're going to let her lick it. If she did fine with that I can do a little bit more because she seems to be pretty calm about this. Lift up her gums, then I'm going to go a little bit on the back molars here. Good girl Tallulah. Good girl. There we go, good job. She's doing fine. If she doesn't seem stressed out you can always go a little bit more.

KATRINA: So you're not really brushing her teeth like we would brush our own teeth.

MIKE: No, dog toothpaste is designed so that it dissolves the plaque. So what you want to do is smear it on the dog's teeth and then just let it sit there.

KATRINA: Mike D'Abruzzo thank you very much for giving Tallulah her first ever tooth brushing.

MIKE: My pleasure. 

KATRINA:  Thank you.

meet theexpert
  • Mike D'Abruzzo

    Mike D'Abruzzo Veterinary Technician and Owner, K9-1 Specialized Dog Training Pet trainer Mike D'Abruzzo is a licensed veterinary technician, certified trainer, behaviorist, and a skilled dog whisperer. He has been trained in many different styles and methods of training, behavior modification, and welfare maintenance. more about this expert »

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