How to Clean Dog Teeth? Simple... Brushing, Raw Food and Chews

How to clean dog teeth is easy with raw food, chews and coconut oil!Nimble with her teeth cleaning kit we used today... meaty bones, veggies, tooth paste, coconut oil and safe dog chews

I brush Nimble doggy's teeth and she gnaws on safe dog chews.  "How to clean dog teeth” is illustrated by Nimble's dad (me, the dentist) and Nimble (the patient).  We add the cleaning action of the best raw dog food and coconut oil.  look out...

The guy doggies will be lining up to date my little furry gal!

Don't get me wrong... we have our bad hair days.  But, anything in life that's worth a darn has it's challenges...

Getting Acquainted before Cleaning Your Dog's Teeth

Did you just bring your doggy home for the first time?   Get to know each other first!

It's best introducing dog dental care when your doggy is a couple months old.   Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.  The older your doggy is, the more she's set in her ways (like me).  Some dogs are more tolerant than others due to personality or how they were raised.

reward your canine with playtime after you clean your dog's teethIf your dog is a new addition to the household, spend quality time together... especially before and after new toothbrushing sessions

On a scale of 1-10, Nimble is a 9.  I've been brushing her clean dog teeth (bragging) for 3 years.  She's 3 ½ years old... I started when I brought her home from dog rescue at age 6 months.

Nimble and I started practicing dog tooth care a little at a time, twice a day.  After a couple weeks I brushed all her teeth twice a day.  It seemed like too much for her (and me).  Brushing half of her teeth in the morning and the other half after dinner works best for us.

My other doggie was different.  I brought Gidget home when she was 6.  I brushed all her teeth the first time... presto!  Learning to clean dog teeth was a breeze. 

Both dogs are Toy Poodle mixes about 10 pounds.

Teaching Your Dog how to Clean Dog Teeth

Hopefully you don't let him teach you!

Even though I started brushing right off the get go... it's probably best to be a little more subtle.

Gently compliment and reassure your pooch during the routine.

Start by...

Acclimate your dog by rubbing her teeth before introducing the toothbrush for the first timeGently open your dog's mouth and rub her gums and teeth before introducing the toothbrush

  • Gently opening your dog's mouth and peeking inside for a while.  Then...
  • After she gets used to this, use your finger to gently massage her teeth and gums.  Finally...
  • Introduce the toothbrush and dog toothpaste and slowly begin the brushing process.

Before you know it, your little guy or gal will be teaching you how to clean dog teeth!

Brushing Nimble's Pearly White Dog Teeth

Worth mentioning again... during your dog teeth cleaning process, talk gently while complimenting and reassuring.

I brush Nimble's upper teeth in the morning.   She lets me brush the stubborn spots again (top and bottom) when I'm finished.   In the evening after dinner I brush her lower teeth and hit those stubborn spots one more time.

All her teeth get cleaned once a day.  Our dog toothbrush scrubs those nooks and crannies (stubborn areas) three times a day.

Nimble has a small mouth compared to larger dogs.  There's not enough room to clean her dog teeth by brushing in a circular motion if that's your preference.   I brush all dog teeth teeth side to side, then up and down.  Don't forget to scrub the tops of those big molars in back.

Cleaning my dog's teeth with her brand new toothbrushNimble really likes getting her teeth brushed!

We divide each “half” (morning and evening) into sections.  I apply our healthy dog toothpaste before brushing each section.  I hit each section with about 5-6 up-and-downs and side-to-sides.

The whole dog teeth cleaning process takes about 10 minutes.  Sometimes I don't concentrate... I start brushing too hard or too long.  Other times I forget where I left off after applying more dog toothpaste (old age?).  Nimble reminds me by getting squirmy!

How to Clean Dog Teeth with Coconut Oil


  • I coat Nimble's teeth and gums with coconut oil after each brushing.
  • I put about a weeks supply into a small jar.  Put the big jar back in a cool, shady place.
  • Leave the little jar on top the 'frig or in another warm place.  I like it melted and runny.... it melts easily.  If it's hard before use, just put the little jar in warm water and presto!  Use a very low heat to keep from ruining it's nutritional dog food properties.
  • After brushing, I dip my finger in the stuff and start rubbing Nimble's gum line and teeth.  Before I re-apply, I dry my finger off with a rag.  It takes about ten dips to do the job.  Nimble loves the coconut oil and rubbing!

Cleaning my dog's teeth is not complete without coconut oilBesides liver treats, this is one of Nimble's favorite "gifts" from me... a coconut oil tooth rub!

I never heard of anyone else melting coconut oil.  I feel you waste a lot more if it's not melted.  Also, it's harder to coat all the nooks and crannies.  I've tried Q-tips and other things for applying...

Don't waste your time... your finger works best for healthy dog dental hygiene.

See... Learning How to Clean Dog Teeth was Easy...

Maybe not, but we hope so!  Stick with it... the rewards outweigh the disadvantages of dirty dog teeth care.  And, don't forget to factor in dog teeth cleaning and dental work cost.

Now is a good time to reward your dog...  

Nimble loves tummy rub rewards after I clean her dog teeth!Nimble loves her tummy rubs!

Give her a good rub.  And sometimes...'s hard not to give her a treat.  She was patient while you slaved away brushing her teeth!  Click here to see Nimble's home made treats menu.  Go ahead... I give Nimble one of her dog liver treats.  These little gems are her favorite treat on this planet... click here!

Following up with a pat on the back and “Goood dawg” should do it..

You and your dog should have fun while learning about cleaning dog teeth!

Here's the Rest of Nimble's Dog Teeth Cleaning Kit

Safe Dog Chews

Wild dogs chew bones, ligaments and cartilage.  Nimble does the same and so should your dog!  Chewing not only cleans your dog's teeth, it gives her exercise and enjoyment. You're not crazy about feeding a raw meat dog food diet (raw meaty bones)?  Then make sure...

...your pooch has plenty safe dog chews of different sizes and shapes.  All those nooks and crannies must be reached!

Nimble cleans her teeth with these safe dog chewsPlenty of fun stuff here to keep Nimble busy while she cleans her teeth (there's more in the house)

I leave Nimble's dog chews out all the time and I encourage her to chew. The more, the merrier.  She doesn't own a chew that needs to be supervised... I don't have the patience for that!  Teaching a dog how to clean dog teeth takes enough time...

There's plenty of safe dog chews to “chews” from (get it?).


I want to say more but... Nimble just reminded me this page is about how to clean dog teeth.  Guess I better stay on topic (I really get going sometimes).  Please read our following articles covering safe dog chews in much more detail...

How to Clean Dog Teeth with Raw Food

Simple.  Just feed your dog.  Let the abrasion action, dental floss (ligaments) and enzymes work their magic!  If you're lucky, you might not need to brush your dog's teeth at all.  Every dog is different.

Feed the whole prey animal for healthy dog teeth.

I feed Nimble whole organic chickens minus feathers.  I chop it up into pieces that are easily handled by my small dog.  Chewing the raw meaty bones, ligaments and cartilage cleans, flosses and polishes. The enzymes in her diet add extra cleaning power...

Nimble eats other organic poultry if I can find it.

Chomping meaty organic raw chicken bones is a dog teeth cleaning action unmatchedChopping Nimble's whole organic chicken into bite-sized pieces

I feed my doggy beef and other “large animal” meat.  I rip the dog bones down from smaller animals and cut into small pieces and serve 'em up.  Some will even go through our grinder... they need to be from smaller animals that have “softer” bones.

Big weight bearing bones from large animals are too big and hard for Nimble.  If your dog is bigger you can adjust bone size to your dog's size.

I catch fish and feed them raw to Nimble (the whole fish).  I chop the fish into smaller pieces suitable for her size.  And yes, fish for dogs is ok!  While Nimble grinds and chews fish, mother nature is polishing and cleaning her shiny dog teeth.

“How much of my dog's diet should consist of 'the whole' prey animal?"  About 80-90%.

For more particulars about the barf dog food diet (bones and raw food), please check out our pages...

Vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit clean dog teeth too!

They also cleanse the inside of your dog's body, just like this wheat grass we're growing...

The enzymes in this young wheatgrass cleans your dog's teeth!We grow our own wheatgrass for making wheatgrass juice. We just planted this batch that needs greening and growing.

The enzymes in these nutritious foods are beneficial for good dog teeth health!  Make sure you blend them first.  

Nuts and seeds need to be ground into nut butters (we make our own).  Imitate the stomach contents of a prey animal eaten by a wild dog (pre-digested/pureed).  Otherwise, your doggie can't digest them!

These nutritious foods should make up about 10-20% of your pooch's diet.

Even some of nature's foods are harmful to your canine... click here for your dog's hit list.

Need a Dentist for Dog Dental Hygiene?

Sometimes tooth brushing, raw feeding dogs and safe dog chews just aren't enough...

  • Perhaps when you met your pooch her dog teeth health was neglected.  Or..
  • Your dog can't chew very well because of missing teeth or other related dog teeth problems.
  • Maybe you feel better about having a dentist also maintain your dog's teeth.
  • Is your dog is on a restricted diet for various health reasons?  Maybe feeding a raw meat dog food diet (especially meaty bones) is against the recommendations of others.

For whatever the reason... take your furry companion to the dentist. Nimble's routine might need a helping hand. There are certain procedures your dog's doctor can perform beyond the scope of our daily dog tooth cleaning routine.

I'm not crazy about anesthesia, dog drugs and x-rays.  However, sometimes they're needed.  Other times I feel they're completely unnecessary!  Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?...

It's up to you!

Facts and Tips for How to Clean Dog Teeth

Here's a few dog dental hygiene tips we'd like to share...

  • You may notice your dog's gums bleeding (a little) occasionally.  Maybe you're brushing a little too hard.  Or perhaps you poked your dogs mouth.  Or, maybe your dog's “dental dog chews” are the culprit.... no worries.  On the other hand...

Are your dog's gums red and swollen?  Is there tarter and plaque build up?   If so, please take your pal to the doggy dentist asap!  This bleeding is caused by dental disease due to poor dental hygiene.

Cleaning your doggy's teeth pays off!Nimble's teeth are beautiful...

  • Nimble has some stubborn spots that won't disappear. They're not along the gum lines.  Also, the stains are small. These are those high maintenance spots I talked about earlier... we don't sweat it.

  • Scaling. You can buy a dog tooth scaler to remove the tarter off of your dog's teeth. They work great.  But, be very, very careful... don't remove the enamel.
  • Inspection.  I give my dog a full inspection once a week.  Also, I look inside her mouth every day (which is too often... I'll admit).  Nimble likes the attention so I can't quit!

Dog Teeth Cleaning Tools of the Trade

All of the “tools” that we use are easy to find.  Also, they're inexpensive except the coconut oil.  However, a little goes a long, long way...

  • Dog toothbrush. You'll find toothbrushes designed specifically for brushing dog teeth. They worked great for Nimble.  Lately, I've been using little kiddies toothbrushes with success.
  • Oil rag.  Use this to wipe your finger off before dipping it into the coconut oil jar before every application.
  • Towel.  Lay a big towel on the floor under your dog. The oil is drippy if you melt it before use.
  • Dog toothpaste.  We use a natural home made toothpaste with healthy dog food ingredients only.  Don't use human toothpaste... it contains dangerous ingredients that are very harmful to your dog!  Some doggie toothpastes on the market are unhealthy for your pooch.  Please check the ingredients before buying!
  • Coconut oil.  We use unrefined, unfiltered organic coconut oil...

I use organic coconut oil and home made tooth paste to clean my dog's teethOrganic coconut oil and home made tothpaste... you can't go wrong!

I'm trying to convince myself that a dog toothbrush without toothpaste will do the job.  Dip it in coconut oil and presto!

Learning How to Clean Dog Teeth is Not too Hard...

… if you have patience (something I'm constantly working on!).  Additionally, you must understand that your dog is a canine, not a human.  She's always trying to please you... each and every day.  Cleaning your dog's teeth pays big dividends.

Please don't overlook your dog's pearly whites. The sooner you start, the better.

If you want to read about dental hygiene in more detail, please click here.

Our website is a work in progress!  We'd love it (and so would your dog) if you returned regularly to check out all our new articles.  We can't wait to expand on the topics above! 

Also, we'll include our highly recommended products for you and your dog to choose from... only those we have used or would use ourselves.  Also...

Be sure to check out Scott & Nimble's News Flash for monthly helpful tips and other neat stuff!

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