How to Whiten Dogs Teeth: Step-by-Step Guide
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How to Whiten Dogs’ Teeth: Step-by-Step Guide

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The ideal color of dog teeth is white but rarely do you get a furry friend with pearly whites. As your dog grows older, its teeth tend to go off white a little bit.

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But if you are determined to keep your dog’s teeth white, there are several ways that you can do that, involving baking soda and whitening toothpastes. Just ensure that you use safe and proven methods that do not harm or distress your pet.

A dog with excellent oral health typically has clean teeth and fresh breath. But, what do you do if the teeth are discolored?

Do Dogs Need Teeth Whitening?

Yes. It is not uncommon for older dogs to have teeth that are tinged with yellow. The discoloration comes as they grow older and things like tartar and plaque take a toll on the teeth. Some of the food you feed your canine friend can also result in teeth discoloration.

Plaque and tartar buildup as a result of several things including chewing sticky foods, drinking hard water, limescale, and remains of food in the gums.

White teeth in your canine results in a beautiful-looking animal that you will be proud to be seen with.

Adorable dog smiling while waiting for toothbrush

How Can I Make My Dog’s Teeth Whiter?

Talk to any veterinarian and they will advise you to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. But many also admit that they do not brush their own pet’s teeth every day, despite that being good practice. And the same is the case for a lot of dog owners. Dogs don’t enjoy going “aaahhh” so that you can reach far into their mouths and brush their last teeth. It is a struggle that many dog owners give up on. And as a result, they end up with a companion with discolored teeth.

However, with these tips, you can reverse the discoloration and begin to see a whiter woof smile.

1. Feed the right food

What you feed your dog matters. Not only does it impact their weight and nutritional health, but it affects their oral health as well. Food made from whole ingredients is much better at keeping your dog’s teeth white compared to highly processed commercial foods.

Whole food includes fresh vegetables and fruits as well as meat like poultry, beef, venison, and fish. Fish is especially excellent because it contains Omega 3 which has an incredible impact on the bone and teeth health of the dog.

Commercial treats can have additives that cause tooth decay especially when they are too sweet or sticky. Sticky foods remain in between the dog’s teeth. Hard water is also a culprit for discoloring your dog’s teeth. But there are dental water additives and treat that can help with strengthening your companion’s teeth. They also reduce plaque significantly and plaque is a leading cause of tooth discoloration in dogs.

The dental water additives are added to the dog’s water and when your canine drinks the water they break down harmful tartar and plaque. They also kill harmful bacteria in the dog’s mouth. Treats and water additives are easy to use because the dog consumes them naturally as food and water.

Consider high-quality options like Nylabone Advanced Oral Care for a water additive and Nylabone natural Nutri Dent Dental Chew Treats. If you can’t afford dental chew treats, consider offering your dog snacks like carrots and vegetables for snacks. Dried meats can also make good treats that do not damage your dog’s teeth.

Avoid foods that contain meals, cereals, and by-products because these ingredients tend to stick in the dog’s teeth resulting in discoloration over time.

2. Use chew toys

A dog biting a blue chew toy designed to clean dog teeth

Dogs are naturally predisposed to chewing. They like the challenge and that explains their love for chew toys. But chew toys can also help remove plaque and tartar which is the brown stuff on your dog’s teeth. Anything that your dog can gnaw on for extended periods (safely of course) is good for its dental health. That includes bones.

Now while they may not directly whiten the teeth, they keep them clean. Clean teeth do not have plaque which typically affects their whiteness. Also, it is easier to begin to whiten already clean teeth.

If you are giving your dog a bone to chew on, make sure you supervise your canine to ensure that they do not choke on small pieces in case the bone breaks.

3. Dental whitening sprays

There are whitening dental sprays for dogs to help with the teeth whitening process. They should be used to complement brushing the dog’s teeth and not be used as a substitute for proper teeth cleaning. These sprays are available in most pet shops online and in stores.

The good news is that they are very easy to use. You spray them around the dog’s teeth and then rub the teeth with a clean cloth. Consider brands like Fresh Breathby TropiClean No Brushing Clean Teeth. It contains natural and safe ingredients like green tea and it shows results within 30 days. You place two drops of the gel onto the sides of the dog’s mouth and wipe away.

The dog may not like it at first but persist and they will get used to it. They will also be more accepting of the cleaning when they realize there is no discomfort of brushing involved when using whitening sprays. The good thing is that most of these sprays come in flavors that are familiar to the dog, like meat, fish, and turkey flavors.

In addition to whitening your teeth, they also kill bacteria.

4. Try baking soda

Baking soda as toothpaste is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to whitening teeth. You mix the baking soda with water and use the mixture to wash your dog’s teeth and mouth. Baking soda has a perfect cleaning effect and it is an affordable option.

The only problem arises with the taste that the dog has to get used to. It is not as appealing as the taste of the sprays. Try playing a game with the dog during the time to brush the teeth. For example, you can incorporate brushing with an activity that the dog likes including taking a walk while brushing or playing frisbee as you brush.

5. Brush the dog’s teeth

Person brushing a dog's teeth with orange toothbrush

Of course, brushing the dog’s teeth daily will help maintain the whiteness of the teeth. You can do all of the above but if you don’t adhere to a basic schedule of tooth brushing, your furry friend will still end up with poor dental hygiene and resulting cavities and plaque buildup. This is an undertaking that you should commit to daily to keep your companion’s teeth dazzling.

Toothbrushes for dogs of all ages are available in pet stores. They are developed with curved and longer handles to help you reach the teeth in the back. If you struggle to brush your dog’s teeth, be sure to read our guide to brushing the teeth of your dog when they hate being brushed.

Enzymatic toothpaste is particularly excellent for reducing the plaque and tartar that cause discoloration. If your dog is particularly sensitive about brushing, consider toothpaste with Calprox. Calprox is an ingredient that is proven to effectively and safely prevent plaque while killing bacteria.

What Is The Brown Stuff On My Dog’s Teeth?

That is tartar/plaque. It is a mineral that is referred to as dental calculus. It looks yellow, orange to brown and it occurs along the gum lines or on the inside of the tooth. The plaque buildup is a result of poor dental hygiene and it indicates that you have not been cleaning the dog’s teeth properly as you should.

How Can I Get Plaque Off My Dog’s Teeth Naturally?

Grapefruit extract

Grapefruit extract is powerful as an antimicrobial making it a common feature in dental whitening sprays. So, you can opt to use it in its naturally occurring form to get the same benefits. You don’t use the extract alone. You use the grapefruit pulp and membrane placing them in the extract and dabbing on the teeth. But make sure you do this only after brushing the dog’s teeth. Use a cotton bud to do the dabbing so that your touch is gentle on the gums since the plaque lines the gum.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains antibacterial properties that kill fungus and bacteria. Dog’s love the nutty taste of coconut so they will like this oil. The oil cleans your teeth naturally and you can even mix it in the dog’s food.

What Is The Best Tartar Remover for Dogs?

Enzymatic Toothpaste

A study in 2011 by the Banfield Pet Hospital found that dental disease is the most common affliction among dogs with 78% of dogs above the age of three suffering from it. Dental diseases including tartar buildup, gum inflammation, bad breath, and bloody saliva in the dog’s drool can be prevented by using enzymatic toothpaste. When the enzymes come into contact with the dog’s teeth, they immediately begin to act on the bacteria and remove the plaque. As a result, your dog is protected from gum disease as well as plaque buildup.

The best enzymatic toothpaste is the Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste Dog Poultry Flavor.

Finger Toothbrushes

Pet owner about to use a finger toothbrush to clean dog's teeth

Finger toothbrushes may work better than regular long dog toothbrushes. That is because they do not scare the dog. Introducing your finger into your dog’s mouth causes less anxiety than introducing a strange-looking object.

If you are dealing with a pup or dog that is new to tooth brushing, a finger toothbrush works better. Slide the plastic brush onto your index finger and brush away. Finger brushes also allow you to control the pressure on the gums and teeth of the dog during brushing, making them more effective. Well and Good Finger Brushes are an excellent option for dogs of all sizes.

But if your dog is comfortable with regular dog toothbrushes consider Orgrimmar 2 piece3 sided pet toothbrush.

Dental Wipes

Dental wipes are excellent for cleaning your dog’s teeth before you begin to brush. They can be used to remove the top layer of dirt on the teeth before you thoroughly brush the teeth. The wipes are also an effective option for dogs that are afraid of the brush because they also keep tartar and bacteria at bay.

Petkin Fresh Mint wipes are a go-to option for veterinarians and pet owners. They contain baking soda which helps remove the tartar and whiten the teeth.

Calprox Toothpaste

Calprox is a special proprietary formula that utilizes Calcium peroxide and minerals to gently dissolve the protein bio-film that coats your dog’s teeth and re-mineralizes the enamel. As a result, the dog’s teeth remain white, clean, and fresh. Calprox is safe on the enamel because unlike many other dog toothpaste that use abrasive silica, this ingredient doesn’t have abrasive qualities. Silica can wear away the enamel on your dog’s teeth leaving them sensitive over time which can lead to serious oral problems. 

Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste contains Calprox and it is approved for use by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Dentastix really work?

Yes, Dentastix work. That is because they contain ingredients like Sodium Tripolyphosphate which is useful in breaking down plaque and tartar. They are recommended by vets and used the world over. These chews also promote the mechanical motion of chewing which can reduce the buildup of tartar and plaque by almost 70%.

Is human toothpaste good or bad for dogs?

It is not safe to use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth. Only use toothpaste formulated for dogs. Human toothpaste may contain ingredients like Xylitol that are toxic to the dog. Xylitol is known to suddenly lower your dog’s blood sugar level. It also causes xylitol poisoning which results in symptoms like staggering, weakness, lack of coordination, seizures, and collapsing.

Brown dog about to get teeth brushed with dog toothpaste
Always use toothpaste formulated for dogs when brushing your pet’s teeth!

How often should you get your dog’s teeth cleaned?

At least two to three times a week at home is enough to keep dental disease away. But you should also take your pet to the veterinarian once a year for a full professional dental checkup and cleaning. Brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs need cleaning every six months because they are more genetically susceptible to dental disease. Yorkies also need extra dental care and attention. The teeth in their mouths tend to become overcrowded and can grow at complicated and odd angles.

Can a Vet clean dogs’ teeth without anesthesia?

Standard practices do not allow a vet to clean your companion’s teeth without general anesthesia. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, general anesthesia is necessary to allow the vet to properly assess and treat the animal’s dental condition. Some groomers offer non-anesthesia procedures like dental scaling. This is where they scrap the dog’s teeth to remove the tartar buildup.

However, it is generally uncomfortable for the dog which is typically restrained and has its mouth wide open for the procedure. Also, this is a very superficial procedure because the groomer could not get under your pet’s gum to remove the plaque in there. A visit to the veterinary will guarantee a thorough clean and it will be done while the dog is under.

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