Best Way to Clean a Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

rottweiler with tongue hanging out of mouth

You know your dog needs regular teeth cleanings, but your dog refuses to let you get a toothbrush anywhere near their mouth. Ahead, I’ll tell you how to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing. That’s right, no toothbrush required!

How to clean a dog’s teeth without brushing? To clean a dog’s teeth without brushing, you can use doggy dental treats, chew toys, fruits and vegetables, water additives, dental spray or gel, dental wipes, or bones. 

In this guide, I’ll take you through all 7 options for retaining your pup’s pearly whites sans toothbrush, including the pros and cons of each. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have some great products for keeping your dog’s teeth shining clean! 

7 Ways to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without a Toothbrush 

Doggy Dental Treats

From Milk-Bone Brushing Chews to Greenies Dental Dog Treats and Nylabone Nutri Dent Dental Chews, there is no shortage of dog treats that promise cleaner teeth and a fresher breath.

Most of the treats are uniquely shaped to get deep into the grooves and crevices of your dog’s teeth that you can easily miss when using a toothbrush. 

For example, the Nylabone treats are spiky whereas Greenies treats resemble an edible toothbrush.

Most of these treats have delectable flavors that dogs go gaga for such as filet mignon or chicken. 

You can give your dog a dental treat in addition to their regular treats, usually after they have their breakfast or dinner. What dog wouldn’t love an extra treat?

However, you do want to check the ingredients list before purchasing doggy dental treats, looking for potentially risky chemicals and ingredients. 

I always recommend supervising your dog while they’re eating a new treat for the first time. Some of my dogs are older and don’t have all their teeth anymore.

they’re to ensure they don’t struggle with chewing or swallowing the. 

Chew Toys

Your dog is going to chew on rubber or plastic toys, so you might as well make chewing a twofold benefit by cleaning their teeth, right?

If your dog has a lot of smooth rubber toys in their collection, those aren’t going to help reduce teeth yellowing, tartar, or plaque. 

Rather, your pup needs a dental chew toy such as the Arm & Hammer Treadz or the Nylabone Dental Dinosaur Power Chew

In the case of the Treadz toy, this gorilla-shaped rubber pet toy features grooves throughout that can clean a dog’s teeth much like a dental chew can. Infused with baking soda to reduce odors and doubling as a treat dispenser, it’s a good all-around solution for cleaner teeth.

The Nylabone toy is shaped like a dinosaur with round bumps across the dino’s entire body for a pleasing texture and for cleaning teeth. The Power Chew also tastes like chicken so a dog will gladly want to slobber on the toy for hours at a time.

Now, the thing about dental chews is that they’re often marketed as being made for strong chewers. All it takes is reading a few reviews to see that some toys can fall apart once a dog gets its teeth on them. 

Always do your research before buying any toy for your dog.

Another thing about these chew toys is that with all the spikes and grooves, some of the designs can look rather scary. 

If you’re not comfortable with your dog chewing on a toy with rubber spikes protruding every which way, then don’t buy it. 

Fruits and Vegetables

You can always amend your dog’s diet by incorporating more fresh fruit and vegetables if you’re not pleased with their breath or the state of their teeth.

The best vegetables for cleaner doggy chompers are pumpkin, squash, carrot, and sauerkraut. Recommended fruits include apples, blueberries, and strawberries. 

Some of these fruits and vegetables have a firm, toothsome texture that will naturally clean your dog’s teeth as they chew, such as carrots or apples.

Others, like sauerkraut and strawberries, contain enzymes such as malic acid. What is malic acid, you ask?

It’s an organic compound that can whiten your dog’s teeth. The malic acid will lift particles to reduce teeth staining.

Fruits and veggies are also nutritional powerhouses, which any healthy animal needs. Let’s look at the benefits of the above fruits and veggies now.

  • Pumpkin: This autumnal squash contains high levels of soluble fiber for digestion as well as potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Squash: Another veggie that’s a great source of fiber is the closely related squash. 
  • Carrots: Outside of augmenting your dog’s oral health, carrots contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. They’re also very low-calorie.
  • Sauerkraut: Loaded with fiber for less bloating and stuffed with good gut bacteria or probiotics, sauerkraut may be an acquired taste for some canines, but it’s worth eating occasionally. 
  • Apples: Toothsome and low-calorie, apples contain fiber in their peels as well as antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
  • Blueberries: Small and easily ingested, blueberries have vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants for a healthier canine immune system. 
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are another treat for doggy immune health. It’s even believed that regularly feeding your dog strawberries can turn back the hands of time. 

Even if you do give your dog fruits and vegetables daily, it’s still everything in moderation. Overloading your poor pup could cause an upset stomach, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Water Additives

Does your dog not go for the doggy dental treats? Do they turn their nose at every fruit and vegetable you offer them?

You can always improve their oral health by feeding them something they consume a lot of every single day anyway. I’m talking about water.

Water additives such as the TropiClean Fresh Breath Original Dog Dental Water Additive or the PoochiePets Dog Dental Water Additive are flavorless products.

You pour about half a cap (the quantity can vary by product) into your dog’s water bowl every single day. As your dog drinks, they’re naturally reducing tartar and plaque, bad breath, and yellow teeth.

It can take about two weeks to see results, which both the TropiClean and PoochiePets water additives mentioned in their respective products. 

With a water additive, you don’t have to change your dog’s diet or otherwise make it overt that you’re trying to clean their teeth. They’ll be none the wiser.

Of course, as with any new product for your dog, you want to do your research before you complete your purchase. 

Some people say that water additives don’t work as intended, even if they’ve waited three weeks instead of the recommended two. 

Others say the water additives made their dogs reluctant to drink, and others still say it caused lethargy in their pets and even made their dogs stop eating.

Could some of those results have been coincidences? Yes. That said, if you notice that your dog’s eating or drinking behaviors change when consuming water additives, it might be best to discontinue their usage.  

Dental Spray or Gel

The next option for cleaner canine teeth without a toothbrush is to use a dental spray or gel. 

Both work the same way, in that you open your dog’s mouth, spray or insert the product into your dog’s mouth, and they should be on their way to cleaner teeth.

An example of the doggy dental spray is the Arm & Hammer Dental Spray. If you’re looking for doggy dental gel, you can always try TropiClean Fresh Breath Oral Care Gel.

You have to put several pumps of the product into your dog’s mouth, and then they’re supposed to refrain from both eating and drinking for at least an hour afterward for the best results. 

If your dog is willing to go for that, then great. They might be a good candidate for a dental spray or gel. That said, do be aware that these products can sometimes cause runny diarrhea in dogs. 

For dogs that are a bit snippy though, trying to manually insert a product into your dog’s mouth every day could result in nips or even bites. 

Dental Wipes

In a similar vein to doggy dental spray or gel are dental wipes such as Vet’s Best Dental Care Finger Wipes

In the case of those wipes, you put one on your finger and then rub your dog’s teeth. Other dental wipes are like small, medicated sheets that you rub over the teeth instead.

Dental wipes are supposed to reduce tartar and plaque, improve your dog’s breath, and make their teeth cleaner, but that all depends on how effectively you can get in there.

More invasive than doggy dental spray, your pup could bite or nip if you try to get too deep into their mouth even if they’re not usually a biter solely because they feel uncomfortable. 


The last option you have for cleaning your dog’s teeth without brushing is to give them a bone. 

I just wrote a highly detailed and informative guide about the types of dog bones, and which are safe and which aren’t.

Every bone has its risks, but raw bones like chicken or beef bones are the least dangerous. 

You always want to supervise your dog to ensure they don’t splinter or crack the bone when chewing. 

If they do break the bone and keep munching (and swallowing), they could cut their throat or stomach. Blockages and choking are other risks of chewing dog bones.  

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