It is a known fact that excellent oral health in dogs can help ensure optimum overall wellness and vice versa. And while dog kibbles and dental dog chews can remove food particles that may have gotten stuck in between your dog’s teeth as well as plaque buildup, sometimes you do need a toothbrush that’s especially designed for our dogs. Dog toothbrushes are essential for removing more stubborn plaque and tartar, ensuring healthier canine teeth and gums. Our team has put together a list of the canine world’s 12 best toothbrushes for dogs to help you ensure better oral health for your pet.
Best Toothbrushes for Dogs Buying Guide
It is usually not easy picking the right toothbrush for dogs since there are certain factors that have to be considered before settling on a particular brand or style of doggie toothbrush. That’s why we’ve come up with a buyer’s guide to help you successfully navigate the process of choosing the right toothbrush for your dog.
Types of Dog Toothbrush
One of the things you have to think about whenever caring for your pet dog’s oral health is the type of toothbrush that you should use. There are three fundamental types of canine toothbrushes available in the market today.
- Regular Toothbrush for Dogs
These are essentially the same as the toothbrush you use to clean your teeth. The only difference is that these have much softer bristles to allow for safer brushing of your dog’s teeth without injuring its gums. The brush head is also angled more acutely than human toothbrushes to allow for more efficient cleaning in between teeth as well as accommodating the different shapes of the canine teeth. The neck of the doggie toothbrush also comes at an angle to facilitate cleaning of the back of the teeth.
- Dual-head Doggie Toothbrushes
These are just like regular doggie toothbrushes except that they have two kinds of brush heads on opposite ends of the toothbrush handle. One brush head is typically wider and longer which is perfect for cleaning larger dentition. The other smaller brush head comes with fewer bristles primarily intended for smaller teeth.
- Finger Toothbrushes
These doggie toothbrushes are designed like thimbles that can be worn over your finger, hence the name. These are perfect for larger breeds of dogs since you can easily fit your hand into their wide-open mouths without necessarily causing them discomfort. Finger toothbrushes are excellent for removing plaque and food particles and debris that may stuck in the spaces between teeth. Since this type of doggie toothbrush is more like a glove for your finger, you have greater control of its movements so you can really reach into even the deepest recesses of your pet’s oral cavity. These toothbrushes are mostly made up of rubber complete with soft, small nubs that serve as the bristles. The other side of the toothbrush can also be used to massage your dog’s gums and help improve circulation.
What to Look for in a Dog Toothbrush
Just as we take the time to really look for the right toothbrush to clean our teeth with, we should also employ the same decision-making process when picking the right toothbrush for our dogs. Here are some of the fundamental things you have to look for in a doggie toothbrush.
- Size of Brush Head
This is related to the size of your dog’s mouth as well as teeth. Smaller dog breeds will require smaller brush heads. Likewise, larger dog breeds will require larger brush heads. Dual-head doggie toothbrushes are ideal for all dog breeds since these come with both large and small brush heads.
- Brush Head Angle
If you look closely at the toothbrush head in relation to the handle you will notice that it follows a certain inward angle. This is to allow for more efficient cleaning of the back surfaces of teeth. Since canine teeth are naturally longer than human teeth, the angle at the neck of the toothbrush must be more acute than that of human toothbrushes.
- Handle Length
If you don’t like the idea of putting your hand inside your pet’s mouth, then you should consider getting a doggie toothbrush that has a longer handle. If you don’t mind sticking your hand in its oral cavity, then a finger toothbrush is always a great choice especially if you have a large or giant breed of dog.
- Softness of the Bristles
This is one of the most critical aspects when buying a doggie toothbrush. It is also what differentiates doggie dental brushes from humans’. You can take note of the softness of baby toothbrush bristles so you’ll have an idea of the softness of the bristles of the toothbrush for dogs you’re going to get. Ideally, it should be softer than baby toothbrushes. You don’t want tough bristles as these can injure your pet’s gums.
Tips When Brushing Dog’s Teeth
Having the right toothbrush for your pooch doesn’t automatically guarantee optimum oral health for your pet. You also have to know how to properly brush its teeth. Here are some tips you can adhere to when brushing your dog’s dentition.
Always use the right toothbrush for your dog using the different parameters you have to look in a dental brush. This is one of the most critical steps to ensuring fuss-free dog teeth-brushing.
Always use toothpaste that is formulated specifically for dogs. Don’t ever make the mistake of using your toothpaste on your pooch as our pets don’t have the necessary skills to spit out the foamy residue. They will automatically swallow this foam and can lead to stomach upsets.
Train your dog on the feeling of having a brush inside its mouth. We’re not actually saying that your dog will learn to love it, but at least you can make it more accustomed to having you tinker with the inside of its mouth.
Choose a doggie toothpaste that comes in flavors your dog will love such as bacon, beef, or chicken. This works well in training your dog on being behaved during brushing. Introduce these flavored toothpastes slowly so that your pet will associate the activity to something pleasant.
Start with very gentle motions whenever brushing your dog’s teeth. Even if you are using the softest toothbrush around, it is still very uncomfortable for your pet to have bristles on its teeth.
Make sure to also brush the molars and the canines as tartar tends to build up rapidly in these areas.
Always reward your canine friend after brushing to help it associate the activity with something very pleasant.
Does a Dog Toothbrush Guarantee Problem-Free Dog Teeth?
If you think that using a dog toothbrush will already guarantee problem-free dog teeth you’re clearly mistaken. Just like human dental health, it takes more than just a good toothbrush to help ensure problem-free dentition. Your dog will also require the best dog toothpaste that is especially formulated for pooches. It will also require regular visits to a veterinary dentist so that oral and dental health problems can be identified and treated early on. Besides, tartar that has already adhered to your dog’s teeth like cement cannot be removed by ordinary toothbrushing alone. Your vet dentist can help with that. Your dog’s diet also plays a role in ensuring problem-free teeth.
Taking care of your dog’s dentition starts with a clear understanding of the need to use the right type of toothbrush for its teeth. With these 5 toothbrushes for dogs that we’ve shared in this article, we’re confident you’ll be on the right track to ensuring your pet’s optimum dental and oral health.
Q: How often should I replace a dog toothbrush?
A: There are no hard and fast rules as to the frequency of replacing a dog toothbrush. Some will say every 2 months while others will say every 4 or 6 months. It actually depends on several factors. First, the quality of the toothbrush you bought. If it is poorly-made then you really cannot expect it to last that long, unless you’re going to brush your pet’s teeth only once a year. Second, the frequency of brushing will also determine the lifespan of your dog toothbrush. If you brush your dog’s teeth every day it may not really last 2 months. If you brush your pet’s teeth once a week, then perhaps you can extend the lifespan of your doggie toothbrush to 4 or 6 months.
Third, the behavior of your dog while brushing also affects toothbrush longevity. If it is known to chew on everything put into its mouth, including its toothbrush, then there’s no way the brush will last a long time. There is an easy way to tell if it’s time to replace a toothbrush, however. Look at the head of the toothbrush with the bristles pointing away from you. If you can see any bristle “peeking” on the sides of the brush head, then it’s time for a new brush.
Q: How do I sanitize my dog toothbrush?
A: Cleaning your dog’s toothbrush after each use is a responsibility of every pet parent. This is actually not different from the way you clean your toothbrush. Make sure to rinse in warm water first and remove any visible material or debris from the bristles. Now store this in its proper receptacle.
To sanitize your dog’s toothbrush, combine equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water. Immerse your dog toothbrush in the solution for 30 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with warm water. You can perform this disinfection every 4 to 6 weeks; more often if needed.
Q: Can I use a toothbrush for humans on my dog?
A: Under no circumstance should you use a toothbrush intended for humans on your dog. These have larger brush heads and stiffer bristles that can injure your dog’s sensitive gums. The angle of the toothbrush heads are also greater than that of dog toothbrushes, preventing human toothbrushes from really reaching deep into the back teeth of dogs.
However, veterinarians do advise using a soft-bristled toothbrush for babies with a shorter brush head. Unfortunately, this may only work with small dogs as the relatively shorter handle of the baby toothbrush prevents effective cleaning of the inner teeth of the dog.
Q: How can I keep my dog calm during brushing?
A: If you haven’t trained your dog to like having its teeth brushed when it was still a puppy, there’s a great chance that every teeth-brushing session is like a wrestling match. Nothing can be more frustrating that having to wrestle with your dog for the simple fact that it doesn’t like the idea of its teeth being brushed and its mouth being poked upon.
One of the simplest ways you can calm down your pet during teeth-brushing is by getting it to go on a very vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes. This will naturally release all the energy in your pet such that it will no longer have anything left by the time you take it to the sink to brush its teeth. It is a very simple solution yet is one of the most effective so far. Since the dog will be too tired from the exercise, it will no longer be able to resist your attempts to brush its teeth.
You can also skip the toothbrush for the first few weeks of the brushing session. What you may want to use instead is your thumb and index finger. Wrap them in a gauze pad and put on some enzymatic toothpaste designed specifically for dogs. You can also try to make your own pet-safe toothpaste. Use your fingers to rub its teeth and massage its gums. Your dog will not offer that much resistance since it knows that it’s your fingers that are in its mouth.
If this is your dog’s first time to brush its teeth, then you can still use the thumb and index finger method but without the gauze pad. Just let your dog be accustomed to the feel of something rubbing against its teeth and gums. Don’t forget the treats. If ever your dog is already accustomed to feeling your fingers in its mouth, it’s time to up the ante by wrapping your digits with gauze pad.
Other ways you can calm your dog while brushing is to bring its favorite toy. You have to remember to make the brushing a pleasant experience for your pet. Keep the sessions short, especially during the first few sessions.
Check Out Our List of the Best Cat Toothbrushes
Our Top Pick
In determining the best dog toothbrush in our list, we had to make a very methodical evaluation of the pros and cons of each product. We looked into the practical utility of each product including the angle of the brush head, the length of the handle in cases of handled brushes, the softness of the toothbrush bristles, and the size of the brush head in relation to the recommended dog sizes for the brand. We also decided to come up with three winners, one each for a standard, dual-head, and finger toothbrush.
For the standard dog toothbrush, we picked the CET Pet Toothbrush basically for its unassuming yet fully functional design. The Kenko Care would have been our choice, except that we find the 4-cluster micro bristle design to be wanting. The CET, on the other hand, is everything that pet parents may want in a standard dog toothbrush.
Our choice for the dual-head dog toothbrush is Pet Republique’s Dog Toothbrush Series. Its bristles are not too soft that it cannot remove debris from your pet’s teeth. It’s not too stiff either that it hurts your pet’s gums. It’s also made of food-grade, pet-safe, FDA-approved materials.
When it comes to the finger brush, it was hands-down Pet Republique’s again. It is made of the same pet-safe materials as the Pet Republique long-handled dual-head dog toothbrush. Compared to others in this list, the Pet Republique finger toothbrush fits snuggly over one’s fingers for better control of brushing.