Can brushing your dog’s teeth cure bad breath?

Whether you’ve got a Chihuahua or a Doberman, all dogs can been prone to bad breath.

But did you know that bad breath (or halitosis) can often indicate more serious health and dental problems?

Just like humans, dogs can develop dental problems like plaque build-up, gingivitis and tartar which not only contribute to bad breath but can actually lead to serious issues like heart, liver, and kidney disease.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to prevent bad breath (and all the associated health problems that can come with it) and Petplan has put together some useful advice to help you get started…

Start brushing your dog's teeth early

Since it’s not natural for dogs to have their teeth brushed, it’s sensible to introduce dental care from an early age. Although grown dogs can learn to become comfortable with teeth brushing, younger dogs and puppies can be more open to changes in their routine.

Choose the right moment to approach your dog

Choose a quiet time when your dog is neither hungry, tired nor distracted, a puppy who is excited about going out for a walk for example will not appreciate being asked to sit still for a tooth-brushing session.

Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste

Most human toothpastes contain fluoride which is poisonous for dogs but you can find specially formulated toothpaste at most pet stores that is safe for animals to swallow. Get your dog accustomed to the taste of toothpaste before you try brushing.

Once your dog is used to the taste of toothpaste, introduce the brush by allowing him or her to lick the toothpaste from that. A soft-finger brush (below*) is ideal for small dogs and bigger brushes are available from pet shops for larger dogs.

How to start brushing your dog's teeth

Gently hold your dog’s head steady and brush the outer surfaces of the teeth in a gentle circular action. There is no need to brush the inner surfaces of the teeth because your pet’s tongue will do that naturally.

At subsequent sessions, brush more teeth at a time as you work towards the back of the mouth but always stop as soon as your pet resists. Talk to your pet while brushing and reward with a treat afterwards.

What about brushing your cat's teeth?

Many of the same principals apply with regards to a cat as a dog. However, more information about brushing a cat's teeth can be found here but, as always, you should speak to your vet first to get as much information as possible before you get started.

*image courtesy of

Do you have any tips for brushing dog’s teeth? Does your dog love getting their teeth brushed? Let us know your stories below…