Dogs and dental care: they may seem like polar opposites, but taking care of your dog’s dental health can extend her life, reduce your future vet bills, and improve her quality of life. If you’ve attempted brushing your dog’s teeth, you know that most dogs don’t enjoy the experience, but having the right toothbrush can make a world of difference. In this article, we recommend the best dog toothbrushes and how to set yourself and your best friend up for brushing success.
Tips for Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Want to brush up on how to care for your dog’s canines, molars, and overall oral health? Be sure you’re using the right technique and getting your dog used to having her teeth brushed. See our FAQ section.
- Best Pick: BC Dog Toothbrush and Dog Dental Care Kit
This tooth brushing kit comes with everything you need to clean your dog’s teeth. If you want to try a dual-headed brush–it has that. If you want a finger toothbrush, it has two. It also has storage cases and a 2-ended toothbrush. If you’re unsure of which tool will be most effective for your pup’s smile, this kit has you covered. All of the tools included in this kit are vet-approved and ergonomically designed to keep you and your pet comfortable and safe.
Best for: Dogs of all sizes and breeds. Great for multi-dog families and owners just beginning a brushing routine for their dogs.
- Runner Up: Ortz Dog Toothpaste and Toothbrush Set
This set includes a 2-ended toothbrush,chicken-flavored toothpaste, and two finger brushes with varied stiffness. These brushes are designed for large or small dogs and large or small fingers. This set allows you to maintain better control because of the tight-fitting finger brushes and curved toothbrush handle, preventing accidental gum gouges or jabs.
Best for: Excellent for multi-dog families and owners with large or small fingers.
This doggie toothbrush helps you accomplish a clean for your dog’s teeth smoothly and quickly. The large brush heads sweep plaque off a wider surface and provide a thorough clean from front to back.
Best for: The stiff bristles and large brush head make this brush ideal for medium and larger dogs.
This 8-pack of toothbrushes have soft and gentle bristles, making brushing a better experience for your best friend. This is a great value for dog parents that want to commit to long-term dental care for their dog or dogs.
Best for: This pack is great for multi-dog families with medium to larger dogs.
We often find small dogs are more sensitive and squirmy when it comes to toothbrushing. They also tend to wiggle their way free more easily. This toothbrush helps make the job easier by cleaning all surfaces with one sweep. We also appreciate that the flexing handle helps prevent brushing too hard.
Best for: The petite pooch owner can benefit from this toothbrush.
Runner Up/Budget Pick
How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is the best way to ensure proper dental health. It takes 24 to 48 hours for plaque to harden. This means you want to brush it away before it has a chance to do so. Brushing daily also establishes a routine and helps to de-sensitize your dog to the procedure. Brushing regularly also lessens the likelihood of swollen, bleeding, and painful gums, making the experience more pleasurable for your dog.
My dog is older. Is it too late for brushing her teeth to make a difference?
No. It’s always a good idea to begin a brushing routine for dogs, even if they’re older. Brushing your dog’s teeth can slow dental issues and improve her overall oral health. Brushing works best when accompanied by regular veterinary dental cleanings. Brushing keeps your dog’s mouth healthy in between cleanings and can reduce the number of tooth extractions and other dental procedures she may need.
Is it safe to use toothpaste made for humans on my dog?
Absolutely not. Many kinds of toothpaste made for humans contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is extremely toxic for dogs.
Is it safe to use a toothbrush made for humans on my dog?
Using a toothbrush not designed for dogs is unadvisable. Without the right tool, you may end up accidentally gouging and injuring your dog at worst. At best, you will likely do an inefficient job cleaning her teeth.
Can I use the same toothbrush on multiple dogs?
While it’s not the worst thing you can do for your dogs, each of your dogs should have its own toothbrush to prevent spreading bacteria.
How often should I replace my dog’s toothbrush?
Like your own toothbrush, you should replace your dog’s every 3-6 months or when the bristles look worn, frayed, or thinning.
What’s the best way to help my dog become more receptive to having her teeth brushed?
When it comes to helping your dog overcome her reservations regarding tooth-brushing, the slow-and-steady approach is the way to go.
The first step is to get your dog used to having her teeth touched. We suggest using your finger to smear a little peanut butter on her teeth. Go slowly. If there is any chance your dog may bite or nip, leave tooth brushing to a professional.
After a few peanut butter sessions, let your dog smell and see her toothbrush. Then, after smearing peanut butter on your dog’s teeth, let her lick most of it off, and then gently lift her lip and circle the toothbrush on just a few teeth. Do this without the use of dog toothpaste.
After a few days, you can introduce the dog toothpaste. Most are designed to taste good, but you do not want your dog to chew on her toothbrush. Be sure to give her breaks to licks her teeth. Eventually, scrubbing each tooth in a circular motion on the front and back.
Dog toothbrushes come in a few different styles: 2-headed, dual-sided, finger-brushes, and typical single-headed. Most dog toothbrushes with a handle are curved and long to help you reach your dog’s molars.
We find the dual-sided are convenient for brushing the front and back of the tooth’s surface, but they can have trouble reaching the gumline of larger dog’s teeth.
The 2-headed or 3-sided brush works well for multi-dog families with large and small dogs or for brushing your dog’s front teeth with the small brush and back teeth with the larger brush.
The finger brushes are a great way to get your dog used to having her teeth brushed, but the silicone bristles often don’t clean as effectively as a bristle brush. You’re also more at risk for an accidental nip or chew when you stick your finger into your dog’s mouth.
When choosing a toothbrush that works for your dog, you may find it’s a trial-and-error process, which is why we rank the kit with an assortment of brushes as our top choice.
You will also find battery-powered dog toothbrushes, but these often terrify most dogs and the vibrating restricts your ability to control where you brush.