Do I Really Need To Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

January 15, 2021 | Pet Guides | Cari Evans
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Do I Really Need To Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

The short-term answer is YES! You should brush your dogs teeth. But there are more ways to take care of your dogs’ mouth, than brushing them yourself. However, brushing is highly recommended.  If you are reading this, odds are you realize your pet’s dental health is important. A healthy mouth can even extend your pets life. But what is the best way to keep your dogs’ mouth in tip-top shape?

First Things First

First, examine your dogs’ mouth and teeth. Do you notice brown stains (tartar build up)? If so, your pet may need a professional teeth cleaning from your veterinarian. If left untreated, it could lead to painful conditions such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and tooth loss. Same issues you would experience if you did not care for your own teeth.

There are many options and products to help keep your dog’s teeth healthy, including dental formula food, treats, mouth sprays, toys, and supplements.

Doggy Breath

Although the phrase “doggy breath” has been around for decades, it is not normal for a dog to have bad breath. Bad breath can indicate there is unwanted bacteria or an infection in the gums. Which can lead to pain or tooth loss if not addressed. The most common cause of bad breath is a plaque build up. Plaque promotes the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria that produces unpleasant odors, causing bad breath. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that roughly 80% of dogs have gum disease by age three. That’s a lot of bad doggy breath!

Dental Care

If your dog allows, and you are able, brush your dog’s teeth daily or as often as you can. Not all dogs will cooperate with having their teeth brushed. There are several styles of doggy tooth brushes you can try, but if you give it a go, without much success there are effective alternatives to brushing for day-to-day maintenance. Look at some options here.

How to Brush a Dogs Teeth

Start by slowly rubbing your fingers across your dog’s teeth. It will seem strange to both of you at first, but not to fear, it will get easier and less awkward once you and your dog are used to it. Once your dog has normalized you putting your fingers in his mouth, you can introduce the toothbrush. This might take several attempts but stick with it! However, if your dog is NOT having it. Do not stress you or your dog by trying to force it. Try some of those alternatives we discussed earlier. It’s best to start the action of brushing your dogs teeth when they are puppies so they become accustomed to it before they get bigger and stronger to resist.

Are Dental Chews and Treats Effective?

A great example: Giving your dog Greenies Dental Chews regularly, leads to fresher breath and healthier gums. Owners who gave one GREENIES™ Dental Chews per day averaged 60% less tartar accumulation, 33% less plaque accumulation, 80% healthier gums, and 45% improvement in oral malodor (halitosis) in a 28 day feeding study compared to dogs who only received dry dog food. For more study information click here.

Signs of Dental Troubles

One of the first signs owners will notice if their pet has a dental issue, is that the pet stops eating or has a drastic change in appetite. Other signs include:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Increased drooling
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Whining while eating
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Loose or discolored teeth
  • Bleeding from the mouth

If you notice any of the symptoms above, your dog may need veterinary care.

If you have any questions or concerns not covered in this post, reach out to us.

UPCO has a knowledgeable staff with years of experience to help you find a solution that works best for you and your furry friend. Do you have a blog idea or story to share you think would be helpful to our pet owner readers? Send it to us at

About UPCO Pet Supplies

Founded in 1952, UPCO® was one of the first retail animal supply companies in St. Joseph, MO.  A third generation, family owned and operated company boasting a knowledgeable staff and offering products from over 700 brands. UPCO® provides both pet and farm supplies to the local community and throughout the U.S. via their website and mail order services. Primary focus on friendly customer service and low wholesale prices, they are the animal supplier of choice, voted Reader’s Choice for the past 12 years.

Located at 3705 Pear Street, Saint Joseph, MO 64503

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