How To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Dog having its teeth cleaned

Good dental care is essential for your pet’s health and happiness. Just like you, your pet needs to receive daily dental care at home. It’s ideal to begin home care when your pet is young however, it is never too late to start.

There are many different methods to prevent dental disease and to assist with dental hygiene at home, some of which include:

  • Regular brushing
  • Treats and chews
  • Dental diets
  • Dental toys

If your pet has any accumulated tartar (calculus) it must be removed by your veterinary surgeon. This process, called prophylaxis (or scale and polish), will allow you to start your home care with teeth that are free from plaque and tartar and will make your efforts easier and more effective.

Daily brushing of your pet’s teeth should not be underestimated. Commitment to daily brushing could be what makes the difference to your pet’s health and sparkly smile.

Brushing your pet’s teeth should be a pleasant experience for both you and your pet. Many pets enjoy the added attention while many owners look forward to close quality time spent with their companion.

The supplies you would need is a toothbrush or finger-brush (preferably one designed for pets) and a pet toothpaste. Most pets accept brushing very well if they are introduced to the procedure in a calm and patient way. The best way to introduce your pet to this exercise is to gradually introduce the process over time.

The 7 Day Teeth Brushing Challenge:

DAY 1:

Gently pet and scratch the muzzle, slowly lifting the lip for about 30 seconds. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.

DAY 2:

Repeat as above and also gently run your finger or finger toothbrush and a small amount of animal toothpaste over your pet’s teeth for 30-45 seconds. Reward with a treat and praise.

DAY 3:

Repeat day 2, adding 15 seconds of time and running your finger or finger toothbrush over your pet’s teeth. Always reward with praise and a treat.

DAY 4:

If all is going well, run your finger over the teeth for 30 seconds and then gently insert the toothbrush and again run over the teeth for 30 seconds.

DAY 5:

Repeat as day 4 and increase the time by 30 seconds.

DAY 6:

Repeat as day 5 and gently rub your pet’s teeth.

DAY 7:

You know your pet best of all. If you feel that they are not accepting the brushing well, gradually increase the brushing time until you are able to spend at least one minute on each side of the mouth.

At any time that the animal is resisting, stop and wait until the next day. If your pet is still not accepting your efforts, contact your Greencross Vets pet care team for more advice.


  • Be patient. Take time with the process or else your pet will become resistant.
  • Give lots of praise. It’s a new experience for you and your pet and praising them will make it more receptive.
  • Remember to always put a small amount of animal toothpaste on your finger or toothbrush. Your pet will like the taste and will associate the good taste, treats and praise with having their teeth brushed.
  • Reward your pet with treats at the end of each session.
  • Stop immediately if there is any sign of aggression.
  • Human toothpaste is for humans, not for pets.
  • Remember, always make it fun!

Contact your local Greencross Vets for more information on keeping your pet’s teeth healthy at home.


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