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4 Alternatives To Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth (2023 Guide)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

clean dog teeth with rope toy

Brushing your dog’s teeth is usually a battle that ends up with toothpaste everywhere else but in your dog’s mouth. If your dog is stubborn and absolutely refuses to even look at the toothbrush, you may need to take him or her for a professional dental cleaning and find some temporarily alternatives to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy while you train them to accept tooth brushing. Here are 4 alternatives to brushing your dog’s teeth while they learn:

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The Top 4 Alternatives To Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

1. Dog Dental Wipes

Dental dog wipes

Dog dental wipes are designed to clean plaque off your dog’s teeth without the discomfort of a toothbrush. Most dog dental wipes have bumps and ridges to aid in the cleaning process while softly stimulating the gums for a gentle cleaning. There are different flavors available in case your dog may is picky. Most dog dental wipes also do not require rinsing with water, which is a convenient feature. These Jax & Cali are all natural, convenient for travel, and safe for your dog.

While dog dental wipes may be convenient, they don’t clean as well as a toothbrush or a cleaning from the vet office. Some dog dental wipes also have chemicals that may be harsh for your dog’s mouth, so it’s important to research the brand before using them. If your dog is really stubborn, they’ll probably resist this method as much as the toothbrush.

  • Helps clean plaque
  • Ridges to stimulate gums
  • Easy to use and convenient
  • Not as thorough as toothbrush
  • Some brands may have harsh chemicals
  • Stubborn dogs will most likely resist

2. Rope Toys & Chew Toys

a Chew toy for dogs

There are plenty of rope toys designed to help massage the gumline and reduce plaque buildup, while giving your dog something fun to play with. Rope toys are especially good at getting in between teeth while chew toys are designed to scrape tartar and plaque off your dog’s teeth. Look for textured chew toys strong enough to handle chewing but not hard enough to break your dog’s teeth. The Top Paw Stuffers Chew Toy is a rubber chew toy with a bumpy texture on the sides to help keep teeth clean, and can be filled with your dog’s favorite treats.

Chew toys and rope toys can help like dental wipes, but they also don’t replace a toothbrush. Power chewers will go through rope toys quickly and some chew toys are not durable enough. If your dog is not a power chewer, this option may be fine. Only give your dog a toy under supervision to prevent accidents like swallowing pieces or choking.

  • Does not clean as well as toothbrush
  • Not suitable for power chewers
  • Supervision with toys required

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3. Dental Sprays

A dental spray for dogs

Dental sprays are convenient like dental wipes and can more effective. Dental sprays are added to your dog’s water which is much easier than using a wipe. With natural ingredients to freshen breath, it helps reduce tartar buildup and protects the gum line. There are different flavors available on the market, which helps if your dog is picky about flavors. The Pets Are Kids Too Dental Spray is a great spray that uses high-quality ingredients to help boost your dog’s dental health.

Though dental sprays are very helpful, they still don’t replace brushing with a toothbrush. Picky dogs may not like any sprays, which will render them useless. Some sprays have additives and chemicals that are harsh for your dog, so check the label to ensure all ingredients are gentle and safe for your dog.

  • Convenient to use
  • Added to dog water bowl
  • Helps reduce tartar and plaque
  • Does not replace traditional toothbrushing
  • Picky dogs will refuse to water with the spray in it
  • Some brands may contain harsh chemicals

4. Dental Treats

Dental treats for dogs

Dental treats are one of the most popular alternatives to brushing your dog’s teeth, with endless sizes and flavors available to choose from. Dental treats are specifically designed to clean teeth and freshen your dog’s breath while tasty enough for your dog to enjoy. This can be a great option for dogs who love to chew while promoting teeth and gum health. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones are long-lasting dental chews with great flavor and made with natural ingredients.

Dental treats are as close to tooth brushing as your dog may get, but nothing can really replace brushing their teeth. Some dental treats may cause upset stomachs depending on their ingredients. Dental treats should only be used under supervision to prevent choking.

  • Many sizes and flavors to try
  • Specifically designed for dental cleaning
  • Great for dogs who love to chew
  • Does not clean as well as a toothbrush
  • May cause indigestion if your dog is sensitive to treats
  • Supervision with dental treats required

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There are options available if your dog really hates getting its teeth brushed, even if they’re not as effective as a toothbrush. It can help promote overall dental health and some alternatives to brushing your dog’s teeth can be fun. Dental health is important for your dog’s overall wellbeing, so these alternatives should provide some help to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and clean.

Feature Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

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