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How To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing

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Not all dogs like to have their mouths touched to keep teeth and gums clean. I am often asked how to clean dog teeth without brushing. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but keeping teeth clean is something dog moms and dads should do year-round. If it sounds easier said than done, stay with me for brushless solutions to cleaning your pup’s teeth.

Cleaning a dog’s teeth without the use of a toothbrush is easy with Zymox Oratene’s line of enzyme-based oral care products for dogs. For the past two decades, Pet King Brands has helped dogs enjoy healthy mouths, avoid bad breath, and keep teeth sparkly and plaque-free without brushing. Because Zymox’s Oratene line for dogs is enzyme-based and free of dyes, chlorine, alcohol, detergents, and toxic Xylitol, pet parents can feel safe using their entire line of products. I know because I use the Zymox products on my dog.

Which of the following do you think is true?

  1. Only six percent of pet parents regularly brush their pet’s teeth.
  2. Over 80 percent of dogs will show signs of periodontal disease by age three.
  3. The rising concern of antibiotic resistance in people and pets has created a need for effective products that work without antibiotics.
  4. Pet owner compliance is the number one reason pets don’t receive adequate oral care on a regular basis.
  5. All of the above.

If you guessed, 5 all of the above, you got it right. All of the above statements are true. Dog parents know they need to keep their dog’s teeth clean, but many dogs hate having a toothbrush used in their mouths. The folks at Zymox and Oratene know this, so they invented four brushless products for good canine oral hygiene. They come in super handy to help clean dog teeth without brushing.

Oratene brushless dental products for dogsOratene brushless dental products for dogs

Four Products To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing

Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Toothpaste Gel: I’ve been using this product on my Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, since he’s been about two years old. This clear gel is recommended for dogs in need of gentle, non-drying, everyday oral care. It is pleasant and flavorless, does not contain harmful additives, can be applied with a toothbrush or finger, and is especially helpful to pets who suffer from dry mouth (from medications or a medical condition).

Fun fact: One 2.5-ounce tube of the Oratene brushless toothpaste gel lasts about four months.

Oratene Oral Gel: Designed for dogs with serious oral conditions such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, ulcerations, and inflamed gums. Preferred over chlorhexidine, the Oratane Oral Gel won’t stain teeth, cause excessive salivation, and features a mildly sweet, non-bitter taste.

Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Water Additive: Simply add to your dog’s water bowl and let the enzymes wash over her mouth with every drink. One four-ounce bottle makes up to 15 gallons. Simply shake the container and add two pumps to one quart (four cups) of your dog’s drinking water daily, then stir. Free of dyes, chlorine, alcohol, detergents, and toxic Xylitol.

Important note: The Oratene Brushless Water Additive can be used with a water fountain, but the filter should be removed or the enzymes in the additive will be removed along with plugging up the fountain’s filter.

Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Breath Freshener: Finally, a solution for doggy breath! This breath freshener delivers a gentle mist to freshen up a dog’s mouth. With over 900 pumps a bottle and using the same LP3 enzyme system, I feel confident using this on teeth, on gums, and inside cheeks.

Pro tip: I recommend using this if your dog gets any sort of fish oil capsules or eats a fish-based diet. My dog also takes heart medications and I love that he enjoys this easy-to-administer spray. When we start traveling again, this is the product I’ll keep in his travel bag.

dog getting his teeth brusheddog getting his teeth brushed

How To Get Dogs Used To Teeth Care

I’ve never brushed my dog’s teeth. I hear that all the time, and if that sounds like you, it’s totally okay because we are starting from ground zero. Even without a toothbrush, some dogs are just going to be totally annoyed if you try putting a product in their mouth. I’ve developed an easy-to-follow system for dogs who hate to have their teeth brushed.

Purchase some inexpensive gauze at a local drug store and gradually begin to rub your dog’s teeth with a dry gauze pad. Repeat the same behaviors as you did in the previous step. Reward, praise, choose a calm time, etc. Once the dog accepts this behavior, dampen the gauze pad with warm water (not cold, as it may irritate the dog’s teeth and gums).

The goal is to get the dog used to having dental care at home performed without making him nervous in the process. Move from dampened gauze to gauze with some Oratene Enzymatic Brushless Toothpaste applied to it. Alternatively, have the dog lick a bit of the gel from your finger and praise her big time.

As your dog is getting used to the idea of having her mouth touched, put some Oratene Water Additive to her water to start the at-home dental routine.

Pro Tip: The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends a pet’s teeth and gums should be checked by a vet at least once a year.

Pro Tip: Praise, reward, and ensure you are being happy and not struggling with the dog to do this. Yelling at her or scolding her with “stop it” or “no, Bitsy” will defeat the purpose. If you were a 2-year-old child making a first trip to the dentist, how would you want to be treated? Now envision your dog in that dental chair: This is all new to her.

Carol Bryant

cleaning dog teeth without brushingcleaning dog teeth without brushing
Dexter has clean teeth

True Stories of Dogs With Teeth Problems

Dawn Gelhausen is a dog mom to several Cocker Spaniels in Oelwein, Iowa. Her 10-1/2-year-old Cocker, Gabby, underwent a dental extraction of her front teeth. She also had extra skin growing on her gums that needed to be removed. Her veterinarian compared it to a corn stalk. Dawn incorporates Oratene Brushless Toothpaste and puts a little bit on both sides of her dogs mouths every night.

I’ve known California dog mom Kim Kiernan a long time, and despite living on opposite coasts, our Cockers have cyber grown up together. Her now 13-year-old Cocker, Poppy, has struggled with poor teeth throughout her life. She had 20 teeth extracted in 2018 and another 10 in 2020. She has 10 teeth left, but a lot of Poppy’s issues stem from genetics.

“I recommend asking your dog’s breeder about the dental health of the puppy’s parents. I did not know to do this and only found out after I had such dental problems with her, that Poppy’s mother had terrible teeth!”

Of course, Kim loves Poppy with 10 teeth, no teeth, or a full mouth of teeth.

Debora Berg of New Bedford, Massachusetts says her rescue Cocker, Libby, has undergone several dental procedures since adopting her in 2013. During her last dental cleaning, Libby required 13 teeth be extracted.

“I am committed to doing better with Libby going forward and with future babies.  As soon as they come home, we will start working on a regular tooth brushing routine so they get used to it and accept it,” she shared. “Clearly, this is much easier to do with puppies vs. full grown rescues, but it is very important either way.”

Stockton, California dog mom Lynn Wobeck has a heart of gold and opens it frequently to dogs in need. Her hospice Cocker, Quinn, came to her with a difficult time eating. He had a strong odor emanating from his mouth and a blackened gumline.

During a dental cleaning, 22 teeth were extracted. His veterinarian felt Quinn had been chewing on metal, probably from someone locking him in a kennel for a long time. Lynn says after Quinn, she made sure to check each dog’s mouth regularly and have checkups to screen for dental disease.

Gina Norton and Tennille Rehm have Cocker Spaniels that have undergone extractions. Gina’s beautiful Cocker, Bella, has had a tooth removed each time she underwent a cleaning. At 10 years of age, she is thriving and due for her next cleaning.

Tenille’s dog, Aubrey, learned her Cocker’s front teeth were so severely decayed that extraction was the best thing to do. She had considerable plaque buildup that required a deep cleaning.

All dog moms we interviewed stressed the importance of getting to know your dog’s mouth, and we completely concur. When you know what a normal mouth looks and feels like, you can act on it when ‘abnormal’ happens.

dogs who had dental issuesdogs who had dental issues
Top: Gabby and Poppy
Middle: Libby, Quinn, and Bella
Bottom: Aubrey before and after

Beware of Doggy Dental Imposters

Not all dog dental products are created equal, and Zymox has launched their very own store to ensure the real deal. Thanks to the Zymox Oratene online e-store, pet parents can rest assured they are purchasing authentic products and not a knock-off or imitation.

At the Zymox online store, dog moms and dads can explore all the products in the line, including those offered and sold at veterinary clinics and pet specialty retailers.

Bonus: Since the pandemic, ecommerce has been the go-to source for everything from groceries to pet supplies, so we applaud Zymox for their commitment to the health and well-being of pets.

Learn more and shop with confidence at As an added bonus, use code fidoseofreality10 to save 10 percent off the entire Oratene Brushless Oral Care line through February, 2021 for National Pet Dental Health Month.

Enter to Win Zymox Oratene Brushless Toothpaste Gel

After you’ve explored the Zymox store, let us know what products you are most interested in by commenting below. Everyone who comments will be eligible to win a full-sized Oratene® Enzymatic Brushless Toothpaste Gel, ($14.99 retail). USA only, except Hawaii and Alaska.

Complete rules here. Simply comment below on the product you’d be most interested in using on your dog from the Zymox Oratene e-shop.

One lucky winner will be selected at random on 02/28/21 and contacted by email.

How to clean dog teeth without brushingHow to clean dog teeth without brushing

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