How to Clean Dogs Teeth Without Brushing (9 Ways)

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Here are 8 easy ways to clean your dog’s teeth at home without brushing and help with tartar and plaque buildup.

holding dogs lip up and using a toothbrush

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Depending on the type of dog you have, it may be really hard to brush their teeth. Think harder than a toddler if you know what that’s like. For the breeds that are somewhat more aggressive, it may be best to not even attempt to open their mouth and choose one of the other methods.

The good news is, there are some ways that you can keep your dog’s teeth clean without using a toothbrush. 

Just a disclaimer, a toothbrush, and doggie toothpaste are always going to be the most effective method to combat plaque and tartar, along with yearly dental checkups by your local veterinarian. 

Ways to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth without Brushing and Going to the Vet

Use a Wet Washcloth 

If your pup allows it, you can wet a regular washcloth and gently wipe off their teeth and the inside of their mouth. 


Naturally, saliva helps to clean teeth whether it’s a human or a dog. When they chew on their toys, their glands make excess saliva that contains vitamins and minerals which is a natural cleansing method. Obviously, this isn’t as good as a cloth or toothbrush, but it doesn’t require much effort on the dog owner’s part. 

Give Them Dry Dog Food 

Crunchy foods, like dry dog food, naturally help to clean their teeth because of the friction that occurs when they chew and the saliva that’s released. Even healthy snacks like raw carrots help to promote better oral health.

a box of purina dental chewz recommended by the vet for plaque and tartar

Rawhide Dental Chews 

These Purina dental chews are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council that may help to reduce tartar buildup. You should always keep an eye on your dog when they eat treats like this to make sure they don’t get choked. They can also be broken in smaller pieces if needed. You will need confirmation from your vet that these are okay for your dog. 

When you order through Chewy, they will reach out to your vet. If you already have preauthorization from them, you can simply upload the document and place your order. 

Dental Wipes 

Many vets recommend dental cleaning wipes to help with plaque and tartar buildup in between professional hygiene checkups. However, if you prefer natural products this is not for you as they contain parabens and Blue #1.

Plaque Powder 

The VOHC approved this plaque powder that you sprinkle onto your dog’s food. It’s a natural formula, but the manufacturer does state that it shouldn’t be used on dogs that are being treated for thyroid problems. 

Water and Food Additives 

Healthy Mouth offers a water additive solution made with natural ingredients that can be added to water or poured over food. This product is also VOHC approved

greenies dog dental treats to help when you can't brush your dogs teeth

Edible Dental Treats

You can find a full list of chewable dog treats that are VOHC approved and can be purchased over the counter from many retail stores and online. Greenie’s Dental Chews that have over 2000 reviews, with almost 5 stars. They also come in different sizes based on your dog’s weight and aren’t recommended for pups under 5 pounds or 6 months old.

Gels and Sprays 

There are also oral gels and sprays that can be used to help remove plaque and keep tartar to a minimum. While it may slow the bacteria formation process, this is a method that should be used last. Because it doesn’t require any scrubbing or friction, it may not be as effective as some of the other ideas here.

How Can I Remove Tartar From My Dog’s Teeth At Home?

Honestly, you can’t. Tartar is essentially calcified plaque. Meaning it’s been there so long it has hardened to almost a calcium deposit. Removing tartar is best done by the vet and with a professional dental cleaning. Sharp tools are needed, and if you try to do it yourself at home you can really hurt your dog and their gums. 

Is It Bad That I’ve Never Brushed My Dog’s Teeth?

No, but it’s not too late to start. Honestly, pet dental care is one area that is often neglected even by the best dog lovers. The best place to start is by scheduling a dental appointment so they can examine their teeth. Like humans, dogs can have cavities and periodontal problems that need to be treated.  

Is Baking Soda Safe For Dogs’ Teeth?

No. According to VCA Hospital, baking soda can upset the stomach acid balance due to its high alkalinity content.

What Does it Mean if Dog Dental Products are VOHC Approved? 

VOHC stands for Veterinary Oral Health Council. When you see their seal of approval on products it means that the claims have been tested and the product does what it says it will do. Just because a product doesn’t have the seal doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just hasn’t been the trial(s) and processes the council requires in order to display the seal.

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