How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

Alternative Methods To Tooth Brushing - PlaqueOff Powder

I recently wrote a guide on how to brush your dog’s teeth at home and if you’re able to do that, then it’s one of the best ways of taking care of your pet’s dental health. However, some dogs just don’t want to have something poked around their mouths, so owners need to find alternative methods for keeping their pet’s teeth clean.

Your dog may get used to having their teeth brushed after some persistence on your part. But this requires a lot of training and patience and it can be difficult for both pooch and owner.

Instead, you may try things like giving your dog dental chews which allow him to clean their own teeth. I have a great guide on choosing dental chews which contains all the information you need to know.  But in this post, I want to explore and discuss some of the other available methods.

Key Takeaways

  • If possible, brushing your dogs teeth is certainly advised, as a gold standard prevention for dental disease.
  • If tooth brushing is not possible then there are other alternatives to consider.
  • It is important for owners to monitor their dog for signs of dental disease, including bad breath, bleeding from gums, reddening of gums, weight loss and tooth loss.
  • A great alternative to tooth brushing is dental chews, these help to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation.
  • Addition of a PlaqueOff Powder is another great non invasive method to clean the teeth and prevent dental disease.

Understanding The Importance Of Dental Hygiene In Dogs

In my post about how good dental health affects the overall wellbeing of your dog, you’ll begin to learn why taking care of your dog’s teeth is vital for their general health. But let’s bring it back down to your pet’s oral health.

If you don’t provide proper dental care for your pet, there is an increased risk of periodontal disease. Even if things don’t get this far, your dog may get a build-up of plaque and tartar on their teeth which provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria then go on to cause conditions such as gingivitis, bad breath and also tooth decay.

Signs Of Dental Issues In Dogs

While your dog may not be able to speak and tell you if he is experiencing dental pain, there are plenty of symptoms that give the game away. Even if your dog won’t let you use a toothbrush and toothpaste (check out my tips on choosing a good dog toothpaste here), it’s still essential that you regularly check their mouth for signs of disease.

Plaque and tartar build up are one of the leading causes of dental issues in dogs and you may notice things like red or bleeding gums as well as increased sensitivity in this area. This is likely because of gingivitis and because of the pain, your pet may lose their appetite or have difficulty eating. Dogs may drop food when eating, chew more slowly or may lose an interest in harder foods and chews.

Periodontal disease affects the oral cavity and quite often is the case that owners don’t notice this until it’s in its advanced stages. This again demonstrates the importance of proper doggy dental care. However, if you notice any of the following, this could be an indication that your dog has periodontal disease and you should seek advice from your vet.

Signs Of Dental Issues In Dogs

  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth or missing teeth
  • Teeth discoloration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Ropey saliva
  • Blood in the saliva
  • Decreased appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth

Alternative Methods To Brushing

Brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day is one of the best ways to prevent dental diseases and pain. However, I realise that this isn’t always possible and some dogs just refuse to let you brush their gnashers. The good news is that there are alternative methods and I’d like to discuss some of these in more detail below.

Using Dental Chews

Dental chews are specially designed to encourage chewing and, when the chew makes contact with the teeth, it will remove any plaque and bacteria, keeping your dog’s teeth clean.

You can use things like bully sticks and hard foods but you must be careful that the chew isn’t too hard as this can do more harm than good.

Dental sticks and chews are a great option and they’re usually made with natural ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial to your pet. Some of these treats are also designed to freshen your dog’s breath.

Implementing A Dental Diet

Alternative Methods To Brushing - Dental Diets

Just like humans, one of the best ways to ensure good health in dogs is to look at their diet. Many of the treats we buy for our pets are bursting with sugar and this is no good for their teeth. However, including things like fruits and vegetables can go a long way in ensuring clean teeth and fresh breath!

Things like carrots and sweet potatoes are excellent and you can even freeze these to make them harder, giving your dog some much needed chewing action which will help to remove plaque.

Utilising Dental Toys

If you don’t want to give your dog dental chews, there is always the option of using dental toys. These work in the same way by encouraging your dog to chew and this works off any plaque but they’re not edible.

Dental chews are usually made from materials like plastic or rubber and feature bumps and grooves designed to help clean the teeth.

While dental toys may be suitable for some dogs, others may have a powerful chew that destroys the toy prematurely. What’s more, you need to be very careful to choose the right size and right hardness otherwise the toy could pose a choking hazard to your dog and may harm their teeth.

These toys are a brilliant alternative to teeth brushing but I would recommend using them in combination with other methods.

Food Supplements (PlaqueOff Powder)

Alternative Methods To Tooth Brushing - PlaqueOff Powder

Food supplements are an easy way to keep your dog’s teeth clean and one of the most well-loved is PlaqueOff Powder. This supplement is made from natural ingredients including seaweed and is designed to soften plaque, making it easier to remove.

You simply need to add the powder to your dog’s regular food and make sure that you do this at least once a day. On top of the plaque-removing benefits, products like PlaqueOff Powder can also help to keep your dog’s breath fresh.

This is a great option for dogs that do not like having hands near their mouths as it’s a completely non-invasive method. Even if they aren’t keen on the taste of the powder, PlaqueOff also offers a variety of teeth cleaning treats and chews.

Trying Oral Sprays And Gels

There are lots of sprays and gels on the market that are designed to loosen and soften plaque so it’s easier to remove. Most of these products also act as a breath freshener and come in a choice of flavours that your dog will love, such as peanut butter.

For dogs that do not like to have hands in their mouths, a spray is a great alternative to brushing, as long as you can get close enough to your pet’s mouth to administer the spray. However, if your dog isn’t opposed to being touched around the mouth then a gel will work wonders.

These products contain enzymes that will break down plaque but it’s worth keeping in mind that they’re slower acting than other options.

Considering Professional Cleaning

Alternative Methods To Tooth Brushing - Veterinary Scale and Polish

For some people, it’s not a matter of finding an alternative method. Maybe you just don’t have the time to try teeth brushing alternatives or perhaps you feel too nervous. But that’s OK and there is one final option to consider; having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at the vets.

For pooches that do not like having their teeth cleaned, going to a professional often makes the experience less traumatic. Vets are trained to work with animals and make them feel more comfortable.

What’s more, a lot of dental cleanings are performed while your pet is under general anaesthetic. This makes it much safer and less of an ordeal for your dog and makes it easier for the professional to get the job done to a great standard, whilst also keeping your dogs stress levels to a minimum. One thing to consider here is the additional risk of a general anaesthetic, especially in older dogs or those with concurrent heart or cardiovascular diseases.

Once the procedure is over, it doesn’t usually take more than around 15 to 20 minutes for your dog to recover from the anaesthetic and they can usually go home the same day, so long as there are no complications.


Veterinary Professional Conclusion - How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

There is nothing more important for your dog’s dental health than keeping their teeth clean. The problem is that a lot of dogs are opposed to having their teeth brushed and this can make life difficult, or even impossible for the owner.

However, if a toothbrush and toothpaste are out of the question, there are other methods you can use such as dental chews, food supplements and altering your dog’s diet. If all else fails, having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned might be the best option, although will  require a general anaesthetic for more invasive procedures such as a scale and polish or dental surgery. Not to mention the additional owner costs.


Why is it important to clean my dog's teeth?

It is important to clean your dog's teeth to prevent dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. These issues can cause pain and discomfort for your dog and may even lead to more serious health problems in the long term.

Can I still brush my dog's teeth if I use other cleaning methods?

Yes, it is still recommended that you brush your dog's teeth in addition to using other cleaning methods. Brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove plaque and promote good dental health in dogs.

What are dental chews?

Dental chews are treats that are specifically designed to promote dental health in dogs. They are made with ingredients that help to clean teeth and freshen breath, such as enzymes and abrasive materials.

What is the difference between a dental toy and dental chew?

Although both have the same function of improving your dogs dental health, there is a key difference. Dental toys are non edible toys, usually made of rubber material whereas, dental chews are edible and usually are made from rawhide and other natural ingredients.

What are some good alternatives to tooth brushing?

There are several alternatives to tooth brushing for cleaning your dog's teeth, including dental chews, PlaqueOff powders, dental wipes, raw bones, and oral sprays.

Can I still brush my dog's teeth if I use other cleaning methods?

Yes, it is still recommended that you brush your dog's teeth in addition to using other cleaning methods. Brushing is one of the most effective ways to remove plaque and promote good dental health in dogs.

What is the last resort for cleaning my dogs teeth?

Professional veterinary intervention would be advised, a scale and polish done under general anaesthesia.

What is the advantage of a scale and polish over other methods of teeth cleaning?

One advantage is that instant improvements in dental hygiene is seen. Additionally as the procedure is done under GA, this allows veterinary professionals to gain better access and therefore conduct a better assessment of your dogs oral cavity.

Veterinary Author at | Website | + posts

Being a 5th year Vet student and having a passion for improving the health and welfare of all animals, I am providing with a veterinary perspective / insight into the real word applications, including strengths and limitations of the products it reviews. This will allow you to make an informed decision as to the suitability of the pet products reviewed on the site to keep your pet mobile, comfortable and full of life!

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