8 of the Best Toothbrushes for Dogs, According to Vets
Brushing your dog’s teeth shouldn’t be an afterthought. These expert-recommended toothbrushes will help you get the job done easily and keep your pet healthy.
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You brush your teeth every day, but what about your dog’s teeth? Pet parents often make the mistake of neglecting this essential task, and that’s a big problem. “Brushing your dog’s teeth is important for the same reason it is important to brush your own teeth: to remove food particles from the mouth and prevent bacterial buildup that leads to plaque formation and gum disease,” explains Emily Ward, a veterinarian dentist with MedVet and an ambassador for Purrch, a pet-first social media app. Learning how to care for those pearly whites with the best dog toothbrush for the job is a key part of grooming your dog properly, and your precious fluffball is counting on you.
So, how often should you brush your dog’s teeth? Dr. Ward says at least once a day, every day, is the only truly effective way to remove the film of oral bacteria that colonizes the surfaces of teeth. Otherwise, your dog is at risk of developing gingivitis, which can lead to gum recession, root exposure, and a weakening of the jawbone. Eventually, periodontal disease can even increase your pet’s risk of developing liver and heart problems.
The best dog toothbrush is the one that you feel good about using every day. To help you find the right one, we’ve rounded up top options below, including those recommended by veterinarians and raved about by happy pet parents. Once you’ve chosen the right one for your pup, make sure you also have the best dog grooming tools, dog shampoos, and dog nail clippers to keep your pet in tip-top shape. Stock up on dog diapers, too, if your pup is in the middle of potty training.
Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Dental Kit for Dogs
Leave it to Arm & Hammer to design one of the best dog toothbrushes out there. It boasts more than 12,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and the kit comes with a toothbrush, finger brush, and toothpaste. The finger brush works well for puppies and small dogs, the dual-handled toothbrush is long enough to reach even those tricky back molars, and the toothpaste boasts natural ingredients, including baking soda and a beef flavor. Plus, the fact that everything is included with your purchase will make your life easier. One happy Amazon customer raves: “The brush is angled to make it easy to hold [my little dog] gently and lift her lips to access her teeth. The bristles are soft, and the shape of the brush head makes everything easy peasy.”
If you’re new to the art of brushing your dog’s teeth, don’t stress. “Just like human offspring, our fur babies often need some practice and routine training to become accustomed to brushing,” says veterinarian Lindsay Butzer, DVM, a spokesperson for Zesty Paws. “One way to get your dog used to having their pearly whites scrubbed is the oldest trick in the book: treats!” Stick with an oral-health-oriented treat and you’ll be golden. “Eventually, Fido will come to appreciate not only the treats involved but also the attention and love you put into looking after his oral health,” she adds.
Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Puppy Dental Kit
“It can be more difficult to introduce [dog toothbrushing] in adult dogs,” notes Matthew Lemmons, DVM, a veterinarian with MedVet. For that reason, he recommends starting this process as early as possible. To ensure the experience is more comfortable, you’ll need to use a small dog toothbrush, like this one from Nylabone. This vet-recommended toothbrush for puppies has soft bristles and an angled neck for easier reach. With more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, this set is a top choice for consumers, too, who also like the included enzymatic toothpaste. Here are more things you need to buy for your new puppy.
BC Pets Dog Dental Care Kit
With an average 4.5-star rating, the BC Dog Dental Care Kit is a top contender for those seeking the whole kit and caboodle at a super affordable price. For less than $10, you’ll get two silicone finger toothbrushes, a dual-ended toothbrush, and a unique two-ended toothbrush (which works great on the front and side teeth). It also comes with caps to keep your brushes from getting dirty. For a thorough clean, prep each of the brushes with dog toothpaste, and use them as needed during your brush session.
Vet’s Best Dental Finger Dog
“The finger toothbrush is a favorite for many pet parents since it allows owners to gently get into the back of the dog’s mouth to reach the molars, which tend to build up the most tartar first,” says Dr. Butzer. There are many companies that make finger toothbrushes, but she recommends Vet’s Best Dental Finger Dog Toothbrush. Sold in a 10-pack, these silicone finger toothbrushes are gentle on gums and have a non-slip design for easier brushing. Note that finger brushes are best for pups that you wholly trust and aren’t likely to bite. By the way, here’s how to stop a puppy from biting, according to dog trainers.
Fairwin Dog Chew Toys for Aggressive Chewers
“Although daily brushing is considered the ‘gold standard’ of oral care, there are still many other therapies that can be beneficial between professional dental-care visits,” notes Dr. Ward. “These items don’t replace brushing, but they can still make an impact in lowering plaque and calculus deposition and reducing oral inflammation.” And they’re particularly good for dogs that give you a hard time when you attempt to brush their teeth. If that sounds like your pup, try the Fairwin Dog Chew Toy, a pineapple-shaped, non-toxic, natural rubber toy that’ll stand up to even the most aggressive chewers. It’s available in small, large, and medium. To keep your chewer happily occupied, pick up these indestructible dog toys.
MIND UP Toothbrush for Dogs
Here’s another excellent option for dogs that are resistant to having you brush their teeth. Made in Japan, it’s worn as a partial glove, and it has gentle scrubbing features at the tip of the forefinger and thumb. Just hug the tooth with these two fingers to gently nix food debris and plaque.
Virbac C.E.T Oral Hygiene Kit
Big dogs mean more tooth surface area to cover. A petite toothbrush won’t get the job done as efficiently, so opt for a dog toothbrush fit for large breeds. “I love using the doggy toothbrush in the Virbac C.E.T Oral hygiene kit,” says Dr. Butzer. “It has a wide base brush that can easily cover German Shepherds’ large-size molars, or any large breed dog for that matter.” It features a dual end, and the kit also contains chicken-flavored dog toothpaste. Speaking of oversized canines, this is the best large breed dog food you can buy, according to vets.
VTurboWay 360-Degree Pet Toothbrush for Small Dogs
This petite-sized dog toothbrush is perfect for the tiniest of pups, like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and toy Poodles. It features an ergonomic six-inch handle, a small, .57-inch bristle diameter, and a unique 360-degree brush head that allows for more efficient and effective cleaning.
A word about professional cleanings
In addition to brushing your dog’s teeth every day, it’s important to have their teeth professionally cleaned somewhat regularly. “The American Veterinary Dentistry College recommends a comprehensive oral health assessment with full-mouth intraoral radiographs (X-rays), dental scaling, and polishing at least every 12 months,” says Dr. Ward. “If periodontal disease is present, some pets may need evaluations as often as every six months.” The bottom line: No matter how fine-tuned your at-home brushings are, the only way to know for sure that your dog is in excellent oral health is to have a vet take a peek every once in a while. Next, check out the other trusted tips to help your pet live longer.