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Should I Brush My Pet's Teeth?

A dog happily barking in front of a clear blue sky, at FurHaven Pet Products

All About Pet Dental Care!

Having to brush your own teeth every day can be an annoying chore no matter what - add on the chore of brushing your pet's, and the task can be daunting. We've made it super easy for you to figure out all the basics of dental care for your furry friend, and all the risks that come with ignoring it.

Dental Issues Pets Can Have

A tired-looking bulldog lying on some carpet on the floor in a living room, from FurHaven Pet Products

Periodontal disease is a disease that affects both cats and dogs, and can cause major issues in the long term for all pets. According to our friends at Bellingham Vet, by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is when plaque buildup from food hardens into tartar, aka gingivitis. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease, which causes irreversible long term damage. Tartar can sit along the gum line and cause inflammation and infection. Periodontal disease can cause bad breath, tooth loss, bleeding, pain, and other problems. If left untreated, infection can move to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. 

Check out our blog for more reasons on why leaving your pet's teeth untreated can cause problems!

How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

There are a few ways you can go about cleaning your pet’s teeth, and the best way is easily by using pet-safe toothpaste and a toothbrush. We're including both a step-by-step guide on how to brush your pet's teeth, as well as more details about the process below. Check out the guide underneath, and if you have more questions or want to know more, read the rest of the article!


Know that this process will take time (days or weeks) for your pet to adjust to, and that each of these steps will come in time with your pet's comfort level. When pets are young, like kittens or puppies, it is easier to teach them to accept teeth cleanings- try and get them started then, and if you can't, know the process can be lengthy.


  1. Make sure that your pet is comfortable in the environment that you are brushing their teeth in. Call them to you quietly and kindly, and make sure the world around you is calm.
  2. Start off by gently rubbing their front teeth with a soft washcloth or towel, and later let them taste a bit of pet-safe toothpaste. Pet-safe toothpaste is generally appetizing to most pets, so they will not mind it. Do not use human toothpaste. This will upset your pet's stomach, or potentially even poison them.
  3. This process, once accepted, will eventually lead to your usage of a pet-safe toothbrush. Use the toothbrush to gently brush your pet's front teeth, similar to the washcloth or towel used prior. You'll need to lift their lip and cheek with your free hand as you brush or wipe.
  4. Make sure, while being gentle, to clean the bas e of their teeth, as gingivitis and plaque build up in the gums is one of the primary dental concerns for pets (and humans, too!). Know that brushing too hard, or even brushing at all on sensitive gums, can be painful, and try to be gentle and know that this can be a point of contention in the process of brushing your pet's teeth.
  5. As your pet becomes more accustomed to the event of teeth brushing, you can go further and further back in their mouth, cleaning more and more teeth. 
  6. Make sure to reward good behavior and response to the teeth cleanings with treats, and other rewards. They're being good- make sure to let them know that!


As always, it is a great idea to consult with a vet about anything having to do with health care for your pet. Ask your veterinarian about the potential of at-home teeth cleanings for your pet, as well as any other health related concerns you might have.


When To Get A Teeth Cleaning

On top of, ideally, regular cleaning from you, taking your pet to get teeth cleanings can be the best thing you can do to prevent any issues. Try to take them for cleanings once you begin to see tartar buildup on their teeth; if you wait too long, you risk an infection or pain for your furry friend! During a teeth cleaning, your vet will place your pet under anesthesia and will drill away any tartar buildup. 

More Tips On Pet Dental Care!

Teeth cleanings can be a complicated and lengthy process for your pet to adjust to, so we've included a few more tips and tricks to help on the way of becoming proficient in the pet dental world. 

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

A pet friendly toothbrush, or a finger brush, is the perfect tool for making sure you’re getting all the nooks and crannies of your canine’s canines. Paired with some peanut butter or chicken flavored toothpaste (regular toothpaste is toxic to pets!) and lots of scratches, who wouldn’t have a fun time? Take your time, and give them lots of hugs and cuddles. 

A white and gray cat receiving pets from a human sitting in an easy chair, from FurHaven Pet Products


There are loads of different treats out there that help with your pet’s dental hygiene. Chewing rawhides, nylon bones, dental hygiene treats, or even just dry kibble can be enough to help keep up with their dental hygiene. Of course, the best thing you can do is give your furry friend these goodies along with regular brushes. If your furry friend will not let you brush, then this can be an option for you, along with visits for teeth cleanings!


A deep brown dog chewing on a large chew toy while lying on a wood deck, from FurHaven Pet Products

If you’re looking for goodies that your pup will love, our furiends at Pet Factory have loads of options that can help the upkeep of your pup’s dental hygiene! Their American raised and produced beefhide chews are a fan favorite! 




A pure white dog being fed a piece of watermelon while sitting on grass, from FurHaven Pet Products


As always, it’s important that the diet you’re feeding your pet is well rounded and healthy. Some of the best things you can feed for their dental health includes raw veggies like carrots and broccoli that will “brush” the buildup off of their teeth. If you’re unsure about fruits and veggies that are safe for your pet, check out our article about the different produce you can feed your furry friend!


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