How to clean your puppy’s teeth

Puppy teeth are a lot like our own, so to keep them healthy and pearly white, your puppy’s teeth need regular brushing to stop tartar and plaque in their tracks. 

Sadly, being a puppy means your little one doesn’t know a thing about brushing their own teeth, so introducing them to this new experience is going to be all down to you. The great thing is if you start early, the easier it will be for both of you. Getting them used to brushing now will ensure happy smiles all round as they grow and grow.

This is your guide to cleaning your puppy’s teeth at home.  

What you’ll need

Use dog-friendly toothpaste. Dogs don’t know how to spit after brushing, so dental products made for humans aren’t going to be suitable for them. The toothpaste we use contains toxic ingredients like fluoride and xylitol that could make your pup unwell. Toothpastes that have been specially made for dogs mean you’ve got safe ingredients and tasty flavours, which is a win win. 

You’ll need:

  • Dog toothbrush – smaller bristle heads and longer handles make light work of a good clean 
  • Finger brush – Goes on your finger to help get inside your puppy’s mouth safely 
  • Dog-safe toothpaste – tasty flavours like beef, chicken and peanut butter 

Helping your puppy get used to brushing

Tooth brushing needs to be a positive experience for your puppy from the start. Get them used to you touching their mouth, teeth and gums and you’ll build trust – a little patience goes a long way!  

  • Go slowly – start desensitising your puppy by gently touching the inside of their mouth 
  • Put some tasty toothpaste on your finger – mimic the motion of a toothbrush 
  • Be gentle – and upbeat when introducing the toothbrush,  take it slow 
  • Give praise and treats – when they’re calm and relaxed 
  • Repeat the steps daily – until your puppy feels comfortable at each stage 
  • Stop or go back a step or two if they’re overwhelmed – keep it fun and positive 

Take each stage slowly, and only move onto the next when your puppy is calm and comfortable. They may take to their new teeth brushing routine quickly – but it’s completely normal if it takes weeks (or even months).  

Related blog: Puppy teething – everything you need to know 

How to brush your dog’s teeth

It helps if you have your puppy on your lap with their back to you. That way you can easily reach all areas of the mouth. 

  • Squeeze a pea-sized blob onto the toothbrush  
  • Brush your puppy’s teeth at a 45 degree angle 
  • Focus on the outer edge of your puppy’s teeth – this is where most of the plaque builds 
  • Focus on each area individually brushing in small circles to the gum line 
  • Avoid brushing too hard as this can damage the gums – bristles shouldn’t bend too much

Brushing your puppy’s teeth every day is best, but if you can’t do them daily, aim for three times a week. 

What else can you do?   

As well as regular brushing, you can help keep your puppy’s teeth clean in loads of other ways, too. Nothing’s as good as regular brushing though. Puppy-safe chews and dental foods are a great way to fight plaque in between brushing. 

Our Dental Dailies are not only a tasty treat, but they’re star-shaped and contain pumice – great for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Add a bag to your next delivery now or chat to us about it more in the comments. 

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