Alternatives to Tooth Brushing For Dogs

A golden retriever is calmly receiving a tooth brushing from a person wearing blue gloves, indicating a professional dental cleaning. The dog appears relaxed and cooperative, with its tongue out, as the toothbrush makes contact with its teeth, emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene for pets.

How important is it to brush your dog's teeth?

When it comes to your pup’s dental care, regular brushing and check-ups with the vet are essential to prevent poor dental health which can lead to bad breath but also more serious issues, like periodontal disease. The Kennel Club in the U.K. has a good list of potential health implications if you don't look after your dog's dental care. While dogs aren’t as prone to cavities as humans are, they can still suffer from tartar, plaque buildup, and gingivitis and more serious illnesses related to periodontal disease. Regular teeth brushing helps remove any food particles that may be stuck in between their teeth and can help prevent these issues from occurring. Additionally, regular check-ups with the vet can help detect any issues early on before they become more serious.

As a dog owner, you know that your furry friends' oral health is important. But when it comes to brushing their teeth, it can be a challenge to get them to cooperate. The last thing you or you dog want is to go  through a distressing tooth brushing process on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are other ways you can clean your dog’s teeth without brushing. 

This image is an infographic detailing the areas of a dog’s mouth prone to plaque buildup. On the left, a list of key points reads: “Incisors need extra brushing, as they miss out on bone-cleaning action. Plaque loves to linger along the gumline. Molars and premolars trap food, so plaque builds up. Behind the canines are plaque hotspots.” On the right, a diagram of a dog’s mouth is displayed with labeled parts: Incisors, Canines, Premolars, and Molars, on both the upper and lower jaws. The areas prone to plaque are highlighted. The background is white, with black text and colorful illustrations to distinguish each tooth type. The infographic is informative and visually guides pet owners on where to focus dental care efforts.

Professional cleanings

Professional dental cleanings are an important part of your pup’s dental health. During a professional cleaning, the vet will use specialized tools to remove any plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated on your pup’s teeth. This helps prevent gum disease and other oral health issues from occurring. Additionally, the vet can check for any signs of decay or infection that may be present in your pup. However, professional cleanings are very expensive and the costs will soon add up if you have to do this on a regular basis so it's good to try to find other ways to help clean your teeth. Some dogs are also quite reluctant to visit the vet, which can be traumatic, for both you and your furry friend. 

Dental chews

An array of various dog chews and treats arranged on a white background. From left to right, there are star-shaped dental chews, a meaty bone, dried yellow tendons, dark red jerky sticks, white rawhide twists, a collection of thin brown bully sticks, darker chew strips, a single deer antler, and a light-colored raw bone. This selection showcases different textures and shapes designed to promote dental health in dogs through chewing.

Dental chews are a great way to help keep your pup’s teeth clean without having to brush them. These chews are designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth while also providing them with some tasty rewards. Dental chews come in a variety of textures, so you can find one that your pup will enjoy. It is important to find the right type of chew that suits your dog's size, especially in relation to their jaw and teeth size.

Rawhide bones

Rawhide bones are a great way to help with your dogs' dental health becuase they help to scrape away plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth. Additionally, they provide your pup with a tasty treat that they can enjoy while also helping to keep their teeth clean. However, it is important to make sure that the rawhide bones you give your pup are of good quality and free from any chemicals or preservatives.

Coconut oil

Coconut Oil is a more recent method of helping with your dog's dental health . Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth. Additionally, it can also help freshen your pup’s breath. You can add a small amount of coconut oil to your pup’s food or water bowl each day to help keep their teeth clean and healthy.

Raw bones

Raw bones are a really excellent way to help keep your dog's teeth clean without having to brush them. Raw bones are a natural way to help scrape away plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth while also providing them with a tasty treat. Additionally, raw bones can help strengthen your pup’s jaw muscles and keep their gums healthy. However, it is important to make sure that the raw bones you give your pup are of good quality and free from any chemicals or any additives.

Dental treats

Dental snacks are a popular alternative to brushing your dog's teeth and come in a variety of sizes and flavors. They are designed to clean teeth while tasting delicious, making them great for pups that love to chew. Plus, they promote oral health and freshen breath! When selecting treats for your pet, it is important to review the ingredients carefully. Some treats may contain chemicals or unhealthy additives that can cause stomach problems. Choose snacks that contain only natural ingredients.

Water additives

Adding special products to your pup's water can help maintain dental health. With just a few sprays, these products are simple to use and can be added to your pup's water bowl. This formula is effective in preventing plaque and tartar accumulation while freshening your dog's breath. It could take a while for them to get accustomed to the taste, but many are oblivious to it.

Using water additives is one of the easier dental cleaning options available for pet owners. Not only can they help keep your pup's teeth clean, they also provide additional benefits such as reducing bad breath and promoting overall oral health. It is important to always check the ingredients of these products to ensure that they are natural and don't contain any chemicals or additives.

Natural seaweed supplements

There are a number of seaweed based dental products available for sale, that are designed to help keep your pup’s teeth clean without having to brush them. Seaweed is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds. These natural compounds contain anti-microbial properties that help to prevent the build up of plaque and tartar on their teeth. These products can also help freshen your pup’s breath and reduce inflammation in their gums. The added benefit of these products, is that most seaweed contains a whole host of other potential health benefits, in addition to helping to keeping your pup's teeth and gums nice and healthy. 

A promotional banner for 'CANIDENT,' featuring a container of the product to the right, with bullet points stating the benefits: 'Reduce tartar,' 'Improve gum health,' and 'Freshen breath.' The brand logo, depicting a stylized dog, is on the left against a blue background with abstract patterns, conveying the dental health advantages of the product for dogs.


Your dog's oral hygiene is clearly very important and while brushing is clearly one the best ways to ensure your pup has pearly whites and fresh doggy breath as well as avoiding more serious dental health issues like tooth loss, tooth decay, periodontal disease and a whole host of other dental disease, there are many alternatives to brushing their teeth, especially if your dog does not enjoy the brushing process. Rawhide bones, coconut oil, raw bones, seaweed supplements, dental treats and water additives can all help keep your pup's teeth clean and healthy without having to brush them. It is important to make sure that the products you choose are of good quality and free from any chemicals, preservatives, fillers or other ingredients that are not 100% natural. Take a look a at other online resources to read up on tips and tricks to prevent dental disease, like for example, the RSPCA in Australia, but there are many other resources. 

A close-up of a tan dog holding a blue toothbrush in its mouth, with bristles pointing forward. The dog's eyes are bright and expressive, showcasing a mix of curiosity and playfulness, which humorously suggests its readiness to engage in dental hygiene.