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As a dog blogger, I’m always learning about pet-related holidays and awareness months. Each February I participate in Pet Dental Health Awareness Month by sharing facts and tips to keep your dog healthy starting with their mouth.

Unfortunately, over 80% of dogs will have some kind of periodontal disease by the time they’re 3 years old. That could have something to do with the fact that a tiny percentage of dog owners actually brush their dog’s teeth.

I hate brushing my dog’s teeth, too

I’m the first to admit that I hate brushing my dogs’ teeth! And my dogs don’t like it either. Half of the time I’ll manage to brush 2 teeth until Lucy bolts into another room. The other half of the time, Burt chews the head off the toothbrush!

Clearly, brushing isn’t working for us.

I can’t keep a functioning toothbrush in their mouth long enough to really brush. It’s frustrating and traumatizing for all of us.

So this year during Pet Dental Health Awareness Month I’m sharing a few products that I’ve discovered do a great job at cleaning my dog’s teeth. And none of them involve a toothbrush or toothpaste!

Yes, it’s possible to clean plaque and tartar without a toothbrush. Just look at how great Burt’s teeth look! Keep in mind he’s 8 years old, was found as a rural stray around 5 years old and has been with me for a year and a half. With a life like that, his teeth look amazing.

dog teeth cleaning at home

Products That Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing

We’re all on the same page that brushing is no fun. So what’s a dog mom to do? We can’t cut back on kissing our dogs because of bad breath! Actually, stinky “dog breath” is just one side effect of poor dental health and could be a sign that your dog has more serious health issues.

Too much bad bacteria in the mouth can be linked to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and brain disease. Basically, whatever is in your dog’s mouth will end up traveling through their blood system. So it’s really important to help them maintain a healthy mouth!

Instead of brushing I use dental chews, a dog dental care water additive and enzyme toothbrush wipes to keep my dogs as healthy as possible… starting with their mouth! In this blog post, I’m sharing my favorite products that we’ve been using for the past year.

*This post contains affiliate links. But I’ve personally used everything mentioned here and honestly believe in them. When you purchase through my links it helps keep Wear Wag Repeat running.

Best Dog Teeth Cleaning Chews

One of the easiest ways to make a positive impact on your dog’s dental health is with a dental chew. They will think it’s just a treat, but its actually doing lots of work while they chomp away!

When looking for a good dental stick chew, you want something that is specially designed with ridges that will scrape off plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth. Make sure the dental chew you buy isn’t too hard because that can chip your dog’s tooth and lead to much bigger problems (and expensive vet bills). You should be able to stick your thumbnail into the chew and make a little dent.

best dog dental chews

My favorite dental chew is Smartmouth by The Missing Link. I first discovered these about a year ago when I had the opportunity to do an Instagram campaign for them. What makes Smartmouth better than other dental chews is that they’re reinforced with vitamins and nutrients to support healthy joints, skin, and coat. They also have a patented form of Vitamin C added in that supports gum health.

Burt and Lucy go so crazy for these chews! When they’re jumping up and down for a dental chew it encourages me to give it to them daily because it turns dental care into a fun activity. That kind of consistency is really important to keep their teeth clean and prevent plaque and tartar from building up.

Although I originally discovered these chews thanks to a sponsored campaign, I have continued to buy them myself and honestly believe in them. Order a bag on Amazon and give them a try!

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Best Dog Dental Care Water Additive

An incredibly easy way to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and their teeth clean is with a water additive. A dental care water additive is something that you add to your dog’s water bowl every day and as they drink normally it cleans their mouth.

Not all water additives are created equal. We’ve tried some that the dogs turned their noses up at. But I recently discovered one that doesn’t change the taste of the water and also cleans better than any other product.

I’ve been using Teef!, a water additive powder that empowers good bacteria while eliminating bad bacteria. It’s the only dog water additive out there that doesn’t kill the good bacteria in your dog’s mouth. When your dog drinks it in their water, Teef! actually cleans below the gum line to make your dog’s whole mouth healthier.

best dog water additive

The Teef! water additive is so smart because it was invented by Dr. Emily Stein, a UC Berkeley and Stanford-trained scientist with an extensive background in microbiology and immunology. Listen to Dr. Stein talk about how she created TEEF on this episode of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast.

The powder contains a patented combination of soluble fiber, amino acid, vitamins and sodium bicarbonate. These ingredients work together to outsmart and neutralize bacteria by blocking it from eating sugar and stimulating it to eat protein instead. It also prevents plaque buildup and eliminates the bacteria that cause stinky “dog breath.”

You just need to add a tiny scoop to your dog’s water each day.

dog dental water additive

The ingredients in Teef! decrease the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, empower good bacteria in your dog’s mouth and strengthen and whiten your dog’s teeth. Head over to their website to order a 1-month supply to test it out.

Best Dog Dental Wipes

Dog dental wipes can be a great alternative to a toothbrush and can help keep your dog’s mouth clean. Just like dental chews and a water additive, the wipes are something that work best when used consistently. Ideally, you should wipe down your dog’s teeth every day to prevent plaque and tartar build-up.

My favorite dog dental wipes are the Toothbrush Wipes from Jax & Cali. They contain natural enzymes that reduce bacteria growth, plaque and inflammation. The wipes are textured and fit right over your finger so it’s easy to rub along your dog’s teeth and gums.

When I use these wipes on Burt and Lucy, the wipes actually show some of the residue that I wipe off their teeth. In addition to that physical abrasion, the enzymes will continue to work after you’re done. It may not look like Lucy is enjoying the wipes based on this photo… but it’s a million times better than how she reacts to the toothbrush!

the best dog dental wipes

Compared to a toothbrush, these dental wipes are so much easier to use! My dogs are used to having my hands around their faces so they don’t wrestle to get away like they do with a toothbrush. Plus, with my fingers, it’s much easier to feel around their mouth and make sure I’m wiping off every tooth. The “sleeve” style keeps the wipe on my finger and prevents the dogs from eating or swallowing them.

You can order these Toothbrush Wipes from Chewy. They come in a 65 pack which is really great for people with multiple dogs!

Learn more about Jax & Cali founder Gail Beregovich on episode 99 of the Wear Wag Repeat Podcast. You can hear how Gail came up with the idea for these dog dental wipes and how she and her son Andres work together to build the brand.

jax and cali toothbrush wipes

What If You Don’t Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth?

With dental chews, water additives and tooth wipes there are so many easy alternatives to brushing. I hope I convinced you to level up your dog’s dental care this year. If you ignore their dental health it can lead to a ton of problems down the line.

Dog teeth cleaning procedures done by a vet can cost between $500 and $3,000 depending on anesthesia and if any teeth need to be extracted. And like I mentioned earlier, bad bacteria in the mouth has been linked to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and brain disease.

Please keep in mind that all of my recommendations are from my experience as a dog mom. I am not a vet. If you notice that your dog has really bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, loose or missing teeth, major discoloration or discomfort while eating, then you should see your vet for their professional evaluation.

do dog dental wipes really work

Quick Links To My Favorite Dog Dental Products:
The Missing Link Smartmouth Dental Chew
Teef! Water Additive
Jax & Cali Toothbrush Wipes

Did you enjoy this post? If so, I think you’ll like these, too:
Making Dog Healthcare More Affordable
Episode 19: Jessica Williams of You Did What With Your Wiener?
The Missing Link in Your Dog’s Diet
What to Ask Your Vet if Your Dog is in Pain
Episode 101: Inventing New Ways to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

Take the BEST Photo of Your Dog

Great photos last a lifetime and remind you of every sweet moment with your pup! My free e-book teaches you how to take professional style photos using just your phone.


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*Just a reminder that this post contains affiliate links. But I’ve personally used everything mentioned here and honestly believe in them. When you purchase through my links it helps keep Wear Wag Repeat running.

Bandanas featured in this post: Birthday Sprinkles from the Wear Wag Repeat Shop

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