Dog Tartar Removal: 8 Ways To Improve Your Dog’s Oral Health (2024)

A person brushing a Vizsla's teeth with a dog toothbrush.

Owning a pet means providing it with proper care, including dental care. Your dog’s teeth are important, and they require specific care.

There are many ways you can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup and protect your dog’s teeth and gums. 

Understanding Tartar and Plaque

Tartar and plaque can grow on teeth and become hard and difficult to remove. Tartar can only be removed with professional cleaning, but plaque can be removed before it hardens.

When plaque hardens, it can stain the teeth and lead to inflamed gums. It’s best to clean your dog’s teeth regularly to avoid dental and gum problems. 

What Is Tartar? 

Tartar is a buildup of minerals on the teeth. It comes from a dog’s food and water. It sticks to the teeth and eventually hardens and stains them.

It can be prevented by regular cleaning and brushing, but if it forms and is left untreated, it can cause tooth and gum problems.

Tooth Plaque vs. Tartar

Plaque usually comes before tartar. It forms as bacteria that sticks to the teeth and along the gum line. It can be removed daily with proper brushing and teeth cleaning.

Tartar is caused by minerals that stick to the plaque and become hard. While the two are related, they are caused by different substances.

Effects of Tartar Buildup

If tartar is left untreated, it can cause inflammation of the gums, which can lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis. It may eventually lead to missing or failing teeth and tooth decay.

How To Remove Tartar From Dog Teeth

Tartar is plaque that has hardened on the teeth and can only be removed from a professional veterinarian or dental professional.

The following methods can remove plaque before it hardens and turns into tartar.

#1. Professional Cleaning By Vet

Schedule dental cleanings regularly with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s teeth are cleaned properly. The dentist can remove plaque before it hardens and turns into tartar.

Your veterinarian will schedule the appointments ahead of time to ensure your dog’s teeth are cleaned often to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

#2. Brush Teeth With Dog-Safe Toothpaste

There are many dog-safe toothpaste options on the market that can help you keep your dog’s teeth clean at home and in between professional cleanings.

You can brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week to remove plaque and help keep the teeth and gums healthy.

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste

Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste| Eliminates Bad...
  • FOR DOGS AND CATS: Enzymatic toothpaste specifically formulated using an enzyme system for dogs and...
  • 100% SAFE: Includes no foaming agents, so this toothpaste is safe for pets to swallow

Enzymatic toothpaste is a type of toothpaste that contains special enzymes that help fight bacteria from growing on the teeth and gum lines.

It can help protect the teeth even without daily brushing. It’s safe for dogs and has a flavor they love.

Arm & Hammer Dog Teeth Cleaning Kit

Arm & Hammer for Pets Tartar Control Kit for Dogs...
  • PROMOTES HEALTHY GUMS - Dog dental kit is gentle yet effective in reducing tartar buildup,...
  • MADE WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS - Natural ingredients ensure optimal dental health for your dog with a...

This cleaning kit has everything you need to keep your dog’s gums and teeth healthy.

The toothpaste has a flavor that dogs enjoy, and the toothbrush is soft enough that it won’t irritate your dog’s gums with regular brushing. 

#3. Provide Dental Treats & Chew 

There are many dental treats that are made to help clean the dog’s teeth when the dog chews them. These treats are enjoyable for dogs and keep the teeth clean between dental appointments.

Merrick Fresh Kisses

Merrick Fresh Kisses Natural Dental Chews...
  • Merrick Fresh Kisses Infused With Real Mint, Natural Toothbrush-Shaped Dental Dog Chews For Medium...
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These treats are shaped like small toothbrushes that have little ridges that can move against the gums and gum lines as your dog chews on them.

They are safe for dogs and have a good flavor and texture that feels great on your dog’s teeth.

Greenies Dental Treats

Greenies Original Regular Natural Dog Dental Care...
  • Contains one (1) 36 oz. 36-count pack of GREENIES Original Regular Size Natural Dental Dog Treats;...
  • The unique texture of GREENIES Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and...

Greenies are also shapes like toothbrushes and other shapes that have different ridges and lines that get in between teeth and around the gum lines.

As the dog chews on the treats, they remove plaque before it can harden and become stuck on the teeth. They work similar to a toothbrush and leave your dog’s breath smelling nice.

#4. Brush Teeth With Baking Soda

Baking soda is also safe to use on dogs. It has a rough texture that allows it to move along the teeth and gum lines to remove plaque before it can harden.

It can be mixed with water or dog-safe toothpaste for brushing.

#5. Offer Antlers and Real Bones

Antlers and real bones are also capable of removing plaque and debris from the teeth. As dogs chew on the bones, the plaque wears against them and comes off the teeth before it can harden. 

WhiteTail Natural

WhiteTail Naturals - Antlers for Small Dogs (6...
  • IDEAL FOR DOGS UNDER 30 lbs. The Perfect Small Antler Chew Bulk Pack: Each pack contains 6 deer...
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These are made from natural sheds, so they are safe for dogs. They come in different sizes and are hard enough to remove the plaque but also gentle enough for dogs to chew on regularly. 

#6. Provide Dental Toys

Dogs don’t care about their dental health, but they do like to have fun.

There are many toys that are designed to help clean the teeth and gums to protect your dog against gum disease and tooth decay.

Your dog can chew on these toys and play with them daily to enjoy clean teeth between professional cleanings.

Hartz Chew’ n Clean Tuff Bone

Hartz Chew 'n Clean Tuff Bone Bacon Scented Dental...
  • Satisfy your dog's natural urge to chew while promoting the dental benefits of clean teeth and...
  • Includes a medium version of our signature Tuff Bone for dogs 20-50 pounds

This toy has special teeth to remove plaque and food stuck in between teeth and along the gum lines. The prongs are soft and flexible, which means your dog will enjoy chewing on them.

They can also be used for fetch and other games to make them even more fun for your dog.

Toothbrush Stick Dental Toy

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This chew toy is made so your dog can hold it in place and easily chew on it from all angles. You can also stick it to the floor so your dog can enjoy it in one location.

This chew toy has prongs on it that can move between the teeth and along the gums. The prongs are soft and flexible but won’t break off and cause a choking hazard.

#7. Use Dental Wipes

One of the fastest ways to clean your dog’s teeth is to use dental wipes. These wipes are made of a special dog-safe solution that removes particles and plaque from the teeth.

Most dogs don’t mind the dental wipes because they can be used on their teeth quickly and don’t have a bad flavor.

MAXIGUARD Dental Cleansing Wipes

MAXI/GUARD Dental Cleansing Wipes for Dogs, Cats,...
  • CLEANS TEETH: fights plaque and tartar and eliminates bad breath
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These wipes can be used instead of brushing to clean the teeth. They are specially formulated to remove the plaque and any dirt or food debris that may be stuck on the teeth.

They have a flavor dogs like and are gentle enough to use daily. 

Vet’s Best Dental Care Finger Wipes

Vet's Best Dental Care Finger Wipes - Reduces...
  • CLEANS TEETH & GUMS: Keep your pet's teeth and gums clean and healthy with these cat and dog dental...
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These wipes fit on the fingers and make it easy to swipe your finger around the gum line and all the teeth to remove the plaque and food debris.

Dogs also don’t mind because they taste good and they work quickly. 

#8. Dental Water Additive

For dogs who refuse to allow their teeth to be cleaned, you can use dental water additives.

These additives have special enzymes that break down the plaque and food debris on the teeth to help make teeth and gums healthier without brushing and in between dental cleanings. 

TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care

TropiClean Fresh Breath Original | Dog Oral Care...
  • FRESH BREATH — Rid your furry friend of stinky dog breath in 14 days or less, while defending...
  • HEALTHY ORAL CARE — Dog teeth cleaning water additive is formulated to help control plaque &...

This additive gives your dog fresh breath and has a special blend of ingredients that are safe for dogs and help to remove plaque from the teeth.

This can be used with brushing or in place of brushing, and it doesn’t change the flavor of your pet’s water. 

Pets Are Kids Too Premium Pet Dental Spray

Pets Are Kids Too Premium Pet Dental Spray - 8oz...
  • Minty Fresh Pet Breath Spray - Introducing our dog care bad breath treatment for dogs! Targeting cat...
  • Effective Dog Dental Care - With natural ingredients like baking soda, aloe vera, and peppermint...

This oral solution can be sprayed directly onto your dog’s teeth. It softens the plaque and debris around the gum lines to remove the plaque more easily.

The next time your dog chews a toy or eats, the plaque will be more easily removed. 


It is important to clean your dog’s teeth just as you would your own. While dogs may not like to have their teeth cleaned, it should still be done regularly.

You can schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian and use multiple methods to clean them in between professional visits.

Last update on 2024-07-24 at 15:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API