How Often Do Dogs Need Their Teeth Brushed? (2022)

Dog owners typically neglect their dog’s oral hygiene, assuming that the dog’s mouth will stay clean enough on its own, but this is not true.

Dogs mouths do not have the digestive amylase that human saliva contains. Because of this, plaque and tartar build up faster for dogs than humans.

So, how often do dogs need their teeth brushed? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

How Often Do Dogs Need Their Teeth Brushed?

Dog having teeth brushed
Your dog may not like it at first, but tooth brushing is vital to his overall health and longevity.

Dogs need their teeth brushed once a day. Vets suggest that 3 times weekly will have a positive impact, but a minimum of once weekly is needed for your dog’s oral health.

2 of 3 dogs suffer from gum disease due to poor oral care, so brushing is a neglected dog care topic that owners must be aware of and begin practicing.

When Should I Start Brushing My Dog’s Teeth?

As early as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a new puppy, start toothbrushing without delay. Training a puppy to love a tooth brushing routine is the smartest thing you can do.

If you have an older dog, you should still start without delay. Nearly all dogs over the age of 3 have some sort of periodontal disease which is preventable with canine oral care.

How Do I Encourage My Dog to Sit for Tooth Brushing?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is an important part of their overall health, but it’s not always easy to get them to sit still long enough for a thorough brushing. 

Start slowly by training your dog to accept the toothbrush, toothpaste, and oral intrusion without fear. Make each session a fun, cuddle-filled, and praise-filled time for the dog.

Never lose your temper with a fearful or aggressive dog. They react to the process because they’re afraid. Focus on building trust and diminishing fears with your dog.

Give your dog a delicious treat as a reward for sitting patiently for each step of the process.

We love to use dental treats as rewards for our dogs. Each time they chew one it does a little more to clean their teeth and mouth.

Read our related article on How to Make a Dog Toothpaste at Home for an easy, safe, and effective DIY recipe!

Why Does My Dog Need Teeth Brushing So Often?

Dogs learn to enjoy tooth brushing
Once dogs learn to accept brushing, most enjoy it as a fun part of their daily routine.

It is no secret that dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly. However, many people do not know why it is so important.

  • Helps prevent plaque buildup that eventually hardens into tartar
  • Helps to keep gums tight against the teeth, preventing root cavities
  • Helps to keep gums from infection and inflammation – periodontitis
  • Helps to avoid tooth cavities and tooth loss due to gum inflammation
  • Helps reduce the risk of mouth infections
  • Protects your dog from heart disease
  • Saves you a lot of money in the long run on expensive vet dental bills

How Do I Brush My Dog’s Teeth the First Time?

Start by getting your dog used to having you touch his mouth. Spend a few days simply taking a look at all your dog’s teeth, and rewarding him for accepting this touch near and in his mouth.

Next, introduce your dog to the dog toothpaste and dog toothbrush. Make it a fun investigation, and let your dog inspect them and play with them a little. Let your dog taste the dog toothpaste.

Finally, once your dog is comfortable, begin by brushing your dog’s front canines with a little dog toothpaste on the brush. Stop there and give your dog a treat for being patient.

Each day try to brush just one or two more teeth before stopping and rewarding your dog. It may take a few weeks, but eventually, your dog will learn to sit for a full brushing each day.

Most dogs start out hating the process, but in the end, they love it because it’s a fun time with their owners with delicious dog toothpaste and a treat and cuddles to follow!

Read our related article where we cover How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth the RIGHT Way. Make sure your dog is getting the best at-home dental care with these tips.

Is It Bad That I Never Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

Start slow to get dogs used to tooth brushing
Help your dog learn to love tooth brushing by starting slow and remaining calm.

No, it isn’t bad that you never brush your dog’s teeth, but we hope that you now understand the importance of doing so and will begin to take care of your dog’s oral health.

Poor oral health is the main cause of tooth loss, mouth pain, gum inflammation, inability to eat, and even heart disease in dogs. As bacteria build up in the mouth they get into the bloodstream through the gums.

From there they go throughout the body, impacting the health of organs including the liver, kidneys, and even the heart.

So, learning to brush your dog’s teeth is a loving, caring way for you to protect your furry best friend.


While it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly, you don’t need to do it every day from the start. Once a week is a great start for dogs who aren’t used to it.

Once your dog is okay with brushing once a week, move up to three times a week and then daily to maintain good oral hygiene.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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