Your dog’s teeth are important, just like us they only get one set of adult teeth to last most of their lives, it’s important to look after them and let’s face it no one wants a dog with stinky fish breath do they? It’s amazing how much choice there is when choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste these days. Who knew that choosing your dog’s toothbrush would create so much decision paralysis?
Brushing dogs teeth is a fairly recent thing that pet parents have started to do, many relied on feeding raw meaty bones, and to a point, they were right. Raw bones can be a great chew to help clean teeth, and are much healthier and generally safer than cooked bones or rawhide, deer antlers or pigs ears.
But we don’t all want raw bones in the house dragged around our carpets do we? And dental toys only clean teeth so much, so learning how to brush your puppy’s teeth is probably going to be important for their pearly whites.
We’ve really got our teeth into this (sorry!) and come up with our top picks for puppy toothbrushes and puppy toothpaste, as well as how to make teeth brushing less stressful, for you and your puppy!
If you’re looking for a fun way to train your puppy, teach them all about life skills, and not just being a robot dog, then look no further than the Zigzag puppy training app. We’re all about preparing pups for the future, and our programmes are personalised to your puppy’s life stage and developmental milestone, as well as catering for all of those breed quirks. It doesn’t stop there though we wouldn’t want you to be on your own so have a team of dog trainers and behaviourists ready to talk you through any of your puppy’s antics!
When should I clean my puppy’s teeth?
You might be relieved to learn your puppy will lose their baby spikey teeth at around 5 months, they’ll then have their adult teeth forever. This is why we suggest, although the baby ones will fall out, getting them used to you looking at their teeth from a young age.
That way, when their adult teeth come in, they’ve been handled extensively, and you can start to teach them about teeth brushing.
Getting your puppy used to handling and grooming is one of the most important things you can teach them when they’re little. Worth getting them used to having their nails cut when they’re young too; puppy claws may be short, but they’re sharp!
Best puppy toothbrushes: our top picks
We’ve trawled the online shops to fill you in on our top puppy toothbrushes and why we love them so much
Best on-finger puppy toothbrush
We like this twin pack of on finger toothbrushes that come with storage cases to keep them clean. By starting to clean your dog’s teeth with a finger toothbrush, and a bit of toothpaste, it keeps it nice and easy and is just an extension of the handling exercises you’ve already been doing.
Best dual-sided dog toothbrush
Dual-sided or double-ended dog toothbrushes are useful because one end is often larger than the other so they get into all of the nooks and crannies of a dog’s mouth. We like the Mikki dog toothbrush. It’s excellent value from a well known brand and does exactly what it says.
Environmentally friendly bamboo dog toothbrush
We care about the environment too, so we are pleased to find a lot of bamboo dog toothbrushes available these days. Our favourite is the Pet Dentist bamboo dog toothbrush and case. Great if you travel with your dog, or you just want a case to put the puppy toothbrush away and keep it clean, it has charcoaled bristles for encouraging fresh breath, and the entire product is recyclable and biodegradable.
Top electric puppy toothbrush
The Emi-pet dog toothbrush is probably the best electric dog toothbrush on the market, and no it isn’t cheap, but it is good! Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more for quality, and Emmi-pet is a brand that can be relied upon.
Our favourite dog dental toy that can be used as a puppy toothbrush
The red kong dental chew stick has been around for a long time, the idea being you can put doggy toothpaste in the ridges and then as the dog chews on the stick the rubber rubs against the teeth massaging the gums and helping to remove plaque. Kong have also brought out a new version of the kong squeezz dental stick which has a lovely bit of give, so we think dogs will really like chewing on, and bonus points it will help clean their teeth.
Best puppy dental kit
If you’re looking for an all-in-one kit of a finger toothbrush, regular dog toothbrush and some toothpaste, then you should probably check out the Arm and Hammer tartar control dental kit. Who knew they make dog toothpaste as well as human toothpaste?
Best puppy toothpaste: our favourites
Best puppy toothpaste that your puppy will love
The arm and hammer beef flavour dog toothpaste will make your puppy excited to have their teeth cleaned!
Best puppy toothpaste for fresh puppy breath
The Vets best puppy toothpaste contains ingredients like peppermint and baking soda for fresh breath and help with cleaning.
Favourite dog toothpaste to use on dental toys
If you’re using a dental toy to help keep your puppy’s teeth clean and breath fresh then a product like the Tropiclean fresh breath dental and oral gel can be a good shout as you can squeeze a little of the gel in between the grooves of the dental toy.
How to make teeth brushing less stressful?
Let’s be honest, teeth brushing can be a bit fraught if you don’t approach it properly in a kind, methodical way which takes your puppy’s feelings into account. Follow these tips to make puppy tooth brushing stress free.
Teach your puppy about being handled first
Often people jump straight in and think that pulling the puppy’s mouth open and using a brush in there is the way to go – no!
Be patient and go at your puppies pace. First teach your puppy to be happy being handled around their mouth, use a mat for consent-based handling so your puppy can leave the mat when they’ve had enough.
Teach your puppy that hands around their mouth are nice things by frequently rewarding them with treats. As your puppy loses their teeth spend a lot of time on preparation as it’ll be the adult teeth you want to pay more attention to.
Take toothbrushing slowly by starting with a fingerbrush
Pop some toothpaste on your finger and gently massage your dog’s gums. You can also give them some treats every now and then to teach them it’s a fun activity.
Go at your puppy’s pace
Take frequent breaks, let your puppy walk off, do NOT chase them with the toothbrush it won’t end well.
By the way do keep in mind when your puppy’s fear periods are. It’s probably worth waiting to start the teeth brushing until after they’ve been through their first sensitive period, you’ve got plenty to teach them about socialisation and habituation when they first come home!
Want to learn more? Check out our full guide to cleaning your puppy’s teeth.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our top picks for dog and puppy toothbrushes and toothpaste. If you’d like to learn more about how to train things like consent-based handling, puppy body language, or even just how to get your puppy to sleep through the night, then download a free trial of the Zigzag puppy training app. You can get started on a personalised training journey today!
As we mentioned earlier we also have a team of dog trainers and behaviourists on hand to guide you each step of the way so you won’t be alone.