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How To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing

    Us humans clean our teeth, so why aren’t you cleaning your dog’s teeth? According to RVC, one in every 8 dogs (12.5%) suffer from dental disease every year. Not only is it painful for your pup, it isn’t kind to your wallet. If your dog needs dental work to remove teeth this can set you back a huge £400-£2500. 

    Dog teeth

    Dr Dan O’Neill, a Senior Lecturer and Companion Animal Epidemiology, at the RVC, advises
    “it is really important for owners to develop strong habits of caring for their dog’s teeth, […] right from the time they first acquire a puppy.” 

    Whilst brushing is the most effective way to keep your dog’s teeth clean, it isn’t always the easiest. Setting up a routine whilst your dog is young is the most effective way to ensure brushing their teeth becomes a normal part of everyday life. But what if you can’t brush your dog’s teeth and need some alternative options? Here’s the best way to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing.

    Dental chews

    Dog Dental Stick

    The most popular and obvious option to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing is dental sticks! These tasty treats are specifically designed to help scrape away plaque and tartar as your dog chews on them, keeping their teeth and gums healthy. There are loads of options for dental sticks, but we would recommend look for chews made with high-quality ingredients and an official vet recommended stamp. 


    • Convenient and easy to use
    • Dogs love them as a treat
    • Many are designed to freshen breath
    • Can help satisfy your dog’s natural chewing instinct


    • Some dental sticks can be high in calories or contain ingredients that are not good for your dog
    • Can be costly if used frequently


    Another option for maintaining your dog’s dental hygiene is bones! Bones are a dog’s best friend. Throughout history dogs have been chewing bones, mostly for the taste, but they can also clean their teeth and can help remove plaque and tartar as they chew their favourite snack. There are a huge range of bones out there, but always look for softer bones that don’t splinter, as these can harm your pup’s digestive system if ingested. Always supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones to prevent choking. If you’re unsure if this is suitable for your furry friend please consult your veterinarian. 


    • Dogs love to chew bones!
    • Can provide mental and physical stimulation


    • Some bones can be harmful to your dog’s teeth or digestive system
    • Can be messy and leave residue on floors or furniture
    • Not appropriate for dogs with certain dental issues or who are aggressive chewers

    Water additives

    water additive

    Water additives are a really easy way to maintain your dog’s dental health. These liquids are added to your dog’s drinking water and work by reducing the amount of bacteria in their mouth, preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar. Some dogs get on really well with water additives, but others don’t like the taste, so it’s well worth buying a smaller bottle to start with, just in case. 


    • Easy to use 


    • May not be as effective as other dental care options
    • Some dogs don’t like the taste

    Dental wipes

    dental wipes for dogs

    If your dog hates the bristles of a toothbrush you could always try dental wipes! Simply wipe over your dog’s teeth every day, no need for toothpaste. You can find dental wipes in local pet shops or online, for both cats and dogs.


    • Easier to use than a toothbrush 
    • Can help freshen breath


    • May be difficult to use if your dog doesn’t like you going in their mouth 

    Professional cleanings

    Finally, if your dog’s teeth are particularly dirty or if they are experiencing dental problems, having their teeth cleaned professionally by a veterinarian may be the best option. Usually your pup is put to sleep under anaesthesia, where the vet cleans their teeth and gums are thoroughly.

    This should always be considered as a last resort. A proactive teeth cleaning is always better for your pooch to avoid having to go under anaesthesia.


    • Very effective if there is a lot of build up on your dogs teeth 


    • Can be costly 
    • Should only be used as a last resort 
    • Some dogs can have a bad reaction to anaesthesia 

    If you absolutely cannot brush your dog’s teeth there are a whole host of other ways you can look after their dental health. By incorporating some of these alternative methods for how to clean dog teeth without brushing you can make sure you’re keeping your furry best friend happy and healthy! 

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    Emma Wally is the founder of, a website for dog owners in the UK and the rest of the world. Emma has a lifelong love of dogs and has devoted years to learning and training dogs of various kinds and ages.

    Emma’s Experience
    Emma’s love for dogs and animals started as a child with looking after many different pets from fish, to dogs and even sheep. This love for animals led her into the world of dog training; with a real passion in positive reinforcement techniques.

    Dog training specialist
    Emma has completed multiple certifications in dog training, focussing on positive reinforcement techniques.

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    Emma is also the founder of 'Stony Stratford Puppy and Dog Group'. This growing community of dog enthusiasts provides weekly socialistion for new puppies and dogs wanting to integrate into socialisation, as well as giving specialist training advice for dog owners wanting to address problems... Or just wanting to give their pup the best life they can!

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    Emma Wally is more than just a dog trainer; she is a mentor, a guide, and a friend to all dog owners seeking to build a better relationship with their furry companions. Her commitment to enhancing the lives of dogs and their owners is evident in every piece of advice she shares, making her a trusted and respected figure in the dog training community. Trust Emma, and you trust a true dog geek.