How To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing

Your dog’s oral hygiene is a very important part of looking after their health. Without healthy teeth, your dog could suffer from a variety of health issues that could impact how they are able to eat their food, and what kind of food they can enjoy. 

Us humans are able to brush our teeth twice a day with toothpaste to prevent the buildup of plaque and any unwanted bacteria. However, dogs can’t do this, and trying to brush your dog’s teeth can be a challenge (particularly if they don’t like you touching their mouth, teeth or gums!)

So how can you clean your dog’s teeth without having to use a toothbrush?

The good news is that there are multiple ways to clean your dog’s teeth without having to worry about brushing. Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most efficient way to clean their teeth, particularly if it’s been recommended by your vet.

But you do have others to look after your dog’s dental health that doesn’t involve brushing.

Are There Alternatives To Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth?

Yes, there are a couple of alternatives to brushing your dog’s teeth. While we’ll cover the options and how they work, it’s always best to check with your vet to make sure you’re doing what’s right for your pup. Your vet will know your dog’s needs best, and will be able to advise you on the best method

Here are a couple of alternatives to brushing your dog’s teeth:

Dental Spray For Dogs

Dental spray is exactly what it sounds like: a product that you can simply spray into your dog’s mouth along their gum line. This will help to clean your dog’s teeth as well as freshen their breath. It will work to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth, as well as protect them against gum disease.

While your dog may not particularly enjoy the whole spraying process, this is an easy to use method that can be done within a couple of minutes.

And not a brush in sight! You should be able to find a range of dental sprays for dogs at your local pet store. Of course, it doesn’t provide as much fine-grained control over plaque removal when compared to brushing, but it is a good option for dog owners whose dogs won’t allow brushing.

When shopping for dental sprays, note that some are the dog equivalent of breath mints–only masking the smell–while others are more like mouthwash, and kill bacteria in addition to addressing smell.

Dental Chew Sticks

One of the best methods to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing is to give them dental chew sticks that have been designed with this in mind. These will naturally clean your dog’s teeth as they chew them.

If you opt for a firmer type of chew such as bully sticks, these will work to chip off the tartar that has built up on your dog’s teeth.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council publishes a list of dental hygiene products that they approve of. This list includes Greenies, VeggieDent, OraVet, and a handful of others.

Coconut Oil

Want an all natural product that will be super easy to use on your dog’s teeth? Then coconut oil could be the perfect solution to your dog’s oral hygiene needs. This technique is based off of a National Institute of Health study that found a 68% decrease in plaque after 30 days of using coconut oil. This study was done on humans, so your mileage may vary.

By rubbing coconut oil along your dog’s teeth and gums, it will naturally reduce the bacteria that cause plaque to build up in your dog’s mouth.

If your dog doesn’t like letting you handle their muzzle or touching your teeth, you can add coconut oil to their food. It will work much the same way. As with other methods discussed in this article, it’s a good idea to consult your vet before changing your dog’s diet.

Raw Bones

Chewing on raw bones can help to clean the surface of your dog’s teeth, as well as the spaces in between them.

However, this is an option that should be exercised with caution, and you should always consult with your vet first. This is because if you give your dog the wrong type of bone, it could cause them health issues.

You should never give your dog cooked bones or chicken bones, as these are notorious for splintering when chewed. These bone splinters could get lodged in your dog’s intestines and rupture them.

So always consult with your vet as to which bones would be appropriate for your dog before trying it out.

How Can I Get Plaque Off My Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing?

The best way to remove plaque and tartar build up from your dog’s teeth will be to use a toothbrush and dog safe toothpaste.

However, the next best method that doesn’t involve using a toothbrush will be to give your dog dental chew sticks. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?

You won’t need to clean your dog’s teeth as often as you will need to clean your own. It will be best to clean your dog’s teeth for anywhere between two to three times each week so as to prevent any serious dental issues.

You can also take them to a professional dental hygienist for dogs to clean their teeth around once a year to prevent a build up of plaque and tartar. Your normal vet may also offer this service. Your dog may need to be put under anesthesia for this procedure, though.

If you’re in doubt as to how often to clean your particular dog’s teeth, or if they have any oral issues that you are concerned about, you should always consult with your vet first.

They will be able to determine what is best for your dog so that they can have happy, healthy teeth.

In Summary

So there you have it! There are a number of ways that you can try to keep on top of your dog’s oral hygiene.

The best do-it-yourself methods will be to use dental sprays for dogs, dental chew sticks such as bully sticks, or rub coconut oil on your dog’s teeth or add this to their food. You can also give them raw bones to chew, but it will be best to consult with your vet about this method.

However, it will always be best to consult with your vet before you use one of these methods, so you know that you’re using the right one for your pup.

Depending on the severity of your dog’s oral hygiene, you may need to pick up that toothbrush after all. But the above methods will hopefully provide you with some good options for keeping your dog happy and healthy!

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.