Just like humans dogs need to keep up with a regular routine for their teeth. The build up of plaque on their teeth, close to the gum line, collects bacteria which eventually hardens to tartar if not removed. Bad dental hygiene can lead to stinky breath, reddening or bleeding of gums and excessive drooling. 3 very good reasons why you should start brushing your furry friend’s teeth!


Here at Top Dogs we have put together a handy how to for dental care. We hope you find it useful – just remember not every dog will be willing to have a full clean and polish on the first try, give it time!

  1. Choose your time. 
    Your dog wants to be calm and relaxed when you start the process. You’re aiming to set a routine and a positive experience will make it a smoother task for both of you!
  2. Get the gear.
    Toothbrushes made for dogs are usually better – the bristles are softer and angled specially. If you have a larger dog a toothbrush with a longer handle will give you better reach, whereas finger brushes are better suited for smaller dogs. Dog toothpaste should be used, not only does it taste better for your dog (peanut butter and beef flavours, yum!) but human toothpaste contains ingredients that are dangerous for dogs.
  3. Assume the position!
    Pick a spot where your dog feels comfortable. Kneeling or sitting down with your dog is the best position for teeth cleaning. Any threatening stances such as standing over your dog or holding them down is a no-no.
  4. Toothpaste test.
    Ease into the cleaning by first letting your dog taste the toothpaste. Squeeze a small amount onto your fingertip and let them lick it off. Rub a small dot onto their gums so they get used to the sensation of having their mouth and lips touched.
  5. Begin!
    Lift the upper lip and gently place the toothbrush against the teeth at a 45 degree angle. This helps massage the gum line and targets any plaque buildup. Use a soft circular motion and make sure you get both top and bottom on each side. You might not be able to do all the teeth in this first go – concentrate on the outsides of the canines and back teeth then work up to doing the insides if your dog isn’t too keen!
  6. Be reassuring throughout.
    A calm and kind manner is essential during the process – your dog will come to associate teeth cleaning with positive quality time with you.
  7. Reward your pooch!
    After a teeth cleaning make sure you reward your dog. A treat or some playtime will reinforce that this experience is a good one – it always ends in fun!


In the Top Dogs reception & shop area we have put together some starter packs for dental hygiene. These include a rubber finger toothbrush and a small pot of either peanut butter or poultry flavoured toothpaste! 

Talk with your vet about any issues that you encounter whilst teeth cleaning e.g. heavy or ongoing gum bleeding, because it could point to something more serious.