How to Clean Tartar off Dog’s Teeth at Home | Dog Tartar 101

I’m sure you have seen it, the not so appealing brown tinge on your dog’s teeth when he smiles or yawns, or worse, you have smelled their bad breath during a cuddle session with your pup.

Tartar removal is an essential part of your dog’s dental hygiene routine, and not doing it regularly can be very harmful to your dog.

Dogs cannot take care of their dental health; hence, it is their owners’ job to make sure their pearly whites are kept healthy. A happy dog needs to have clean teeth. So, here we will discuss – how to clean tartar off a dog’s teeth at home.

How to Clean Tartar off Dog's Teeth at Home

Here are the causes of tartar and how to clean tartar off your dog’s teeth.

What causes tartar in dogs?

Tartar starts as plaque. The plaque build-up is normal; it occurs every time your dog eats. A few hours after your dog has eaten, plaque begins to form on his teeth. When this plaque combines with the saliva present in your dog’s mouth, it hardens and forms tartar.

Tartar begins its journey as plaque and opens the gateway to a host of dental problems and expensive dental appointments for your dog, not to mention the pain your dog will be going through because of poor dental hygiene.

How does tartar affect a dog’s health? 

Tartar is just as harmful to dogs as it for humans. Because of tartar build-up, nasty bacteria begin to grow in your dog’s mouth, and it is only a matter of time before this problem escalates and becomes a major dental health issue for your pooch.

Tartar is the first step of many dental problems, including periodontal disease, gingivitis, and abscesses or loss of your dog’s teeth. A bit less major, but it also causes your dog to have terrible breath.

Tartar does not only affect your teeth; it is just as harmful to the gums. When tartar builds up along the gum line, it pushes the teeth away. Essentially the teeth are pushed away from the gums. This makes the roots of the teeth vulnerable as they are exposed and no longer protected by enamel.

As the roots of your dog’s teeth are no longer protected; they are extremely sensitive. So, whenever he eats something, he is likely to experience pain, which is very discomforting. 

Tartar can travel. After affecting your dog’s mouth, it will travel across his body, which can be very dangerous.

It travels throughout your dog’s body through the bloodstream and affects the vital organs such as the liver, kidney, and heart. It sounds dangerous. This only leads to more problems and can create a very unsafe situation. 

How to clean your dog’s teeth naturally – Best Ways

Tartar removal can be a task, but here are some natural ways on how to get clean tartar off your dog’s teeth at home.

  • Rawhides

Rawhide is an animal skin that has not been tanned. It is the most common way to get rid of tartar in your dog’s mouth.

When you are buying rawhide, make sure to purchase an all-natural one, that is, without chemicals and preservatives and dyes. It is also vital to ensure that you are purchasing the right size of rawhide for your dog.

While it might make sense to you to buy a large piece so you will not have to repurchase a new one quickly, your small dog might get frustrated by it as he will not be able to fit it correctly in his mouth. As a result, he will go back to chewing on unwanted items.

Another essential point to remember is never to leave your dog unsupervised while he is chomping away on the rawhide. You will need to watch him make sure that the rawhide is not falling apart or splintering because if that is happening, there is a possibility of injury.

The chemicals present in rawhide prevent the build-up of plaque, which in turn prevents tartar.

  • Deer Antlers

Deer antlers work exceptionally well to get rid of tartar. To ensure that you are giving your dog the best antlers, make sure you get ones that have been shed by the deer naturally rather than ones that have been butchered.

Deer antlers are a win-win situation because dogs like their nubby texture, and humans like them because they are relatively easy to clean, do not cause problems in your dog’s digestive tract, and have no odor. What helps with tartar is the bone marrow that is inside the deer antler. It does wonder for removing the tartar.

Deer antlers also last for a long time without splintering, which means they are safe for your dog for more extended periods of time. As your dog chews the deer antler, he is grinding it, not breaking it. Thus there is no splintering.  

  • Raw Bones

Raw bones are a great way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, but raw here is the keyword. Cooked bones are very unsafe for your dog because they can splinter and get caught in your dog’s throat and mouth. Raw bones do not splinter as easily and hence are safe for your dog.

Chewing on raw bones stimulates the flow of saliva, which prevents the build-up of plaque and tartar. For a large dog, a turkey’s neck bone is a good option, while for smaller dogs, the neck bone of a chicken is the right choice.

Source your bones from a poultry farm, or make sure that they are organically sourced so that you are not giving your dog a whole bunch of preservatives. Again, here, supervision is essential. Although raw bone does not splinter as easily as cooked ones, there is still a possibility of splintering.

Thus, keep a watchful eye on your dog when you give him a bone and never leave him unsupervised with a bone for long periods.

Can dog tartar removal spray help?

Brushing your pooches’ teeth can be a task, and it is an activity that both you and your dog do not enjoy. But dental hygiene is essential. Luckily there are other alternatives to brushing for the days you do not have the patience to coax your dog into sitting still so you can brush his teeth properly.

How to Clean Tartar off Dog's Teeth at Home

Tartar spray is one such alternative. It also is an excellent solution if no matter how much you brush, you cannot get rid of your dog’s nasty breath. It sure is a quick fix to freshen up his breath so that cuddle time is more enjoyable. Here are some effective tartar removal sprays you can use for your pooch:

Tartar spray eliminates plaque and tartar and also reduces the chances of gum disease. But the most effective way to avoid dental issues is brushing. Tartar spray is good for the days in between brushing as it reduces the risk of oral diseases. It has antiseptic properties, which can cure the problem at an enzyme level.

Tartar spay is very easy to use as compared to brushing. All you need to do is spray three to five sprays into your dog’s water bowl or directly into his mouth, and you are good to go.

How to make Doggie toothpaste?

Keeping your dog’s chompers white and clean I very important. But constantly buying doggie toothpaste can be expensive. Not to mention, you have no idea what chemicals are present in store-bought toothpaste.

How to Clean Tartar off Dog's Teeth

Homemade remedies to get tartar off your dog’s teeth are not only easy to make, but they are also inexpensive and use ingredients that you most probably already have at home. These homemade remedies can be stored in the fridge so you can make a big batch and store it for future use.

Here are two homemade remedies that are completely natural that not only keep your dog’s breath fresh but also help with dog tartar removal.

  • Coconut oil, Turmeric, Parsley and Kelp

Coconut oil is a natural base, turmeric a natural tooth whitener, parsley is an antibacterial agent, and kelp helps with dog tartar removal.

Melt the coconut oil if required and add in the turmeric, parsley, and kale. Mix the ingredients. Keep the mixture in the fridge between uses, and each time you use it to heat it a bit, so it is easier to apply onto your dog’s teeth.

  • Beef Bouillon Cube, Baking Soda, Salt and Parsley

This homemade remedy is flavored with beef bouillon, so your dog will love it, plus the baking soda and salt have granules that are great to remove that nasty plaque, and the parsley will ensure that your dog’s breath is fresh and he is always cuddle-ready. Add in a bit of water and mix all the ingredients. Store in the fridge and heat up before use.

How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

Just like human’s dogs would also benefit from daily brushing. Brushing your dog’s teeth every night is beneficial as it will help remove all the bacteria that have accumulated in your dog’s mouth from eating food the whole day.

Find a time in the night when both you and your dog are calm and do it at the same time every night.

Establishing a routine is a good way not to surprise your dog too much, and after a while, he also will get used to the brushing and not resist it so much.

How to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing?

Let’s face it; you probably do not have the time to brush your teeth twice a day, let alone find the time to brush your dog’s teeth every day. But dental hygiene is not something that should be ignored. So, on the days that you cannot find that time to brush your dog’s teeth, here are some alternatives that will help:

  • Doggie dental treats

Dog’s love treats, so why not give him treats with added benefits. There are various dental chews available that are both yummy and help with tartar removal. You can also go for natural ones like Greenies Natural Dental Treats. Natural dental treats contain ingredients like cinnamon and baking soda that help break down plaque build-up.

  • Fresh Foods

Instead of feeding your dog kibble, try out fresh foods. Not only are they more nutritious, but they also have enzymes that hinder plaque development.

  • Rawhide and Raw bones

Rawhide is a great natural alternative to brushing; the benefits of both these have been explained in detail above. Not only do these help with getting plaque off your dog’s teeth, but they also are a great solution if your pup loves to chew on unwanted things.

A point to remember is that regular brushing is the most effective way to get rid of tartar and keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

How good is coconut oil for a dog’s teeth?

Coconut oil is great for your dog’s teeth since it comprises almost 90% of saturated fats, which is why it is classified as a superfood, and hence it is perfect for your dog.

Coconut oil is great for maintaining your dog’s teeth. In between vet visits and cleaning, you can use coconut oil on a toothbrush and use it to clean your dog’s teeth. You can use coconut oil as is or make a doggie toothpaste using the recipes mentioned above. 

Without coconut milk, you can also create an oral mouthwash for your dog. Mix coconut milk with a human probiotic supplement, and you can give it to your dog as an after-meal mouthwash.


Dental hygiene is a vital part of overall health. If not looked into properly, it can lead to various problems. It becomes excruciating for your dog, and the vet bills will keep piling up. In a situation like this, the age-old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the best advice.

To prevent tartar from forming on your dog’s teeth, you have to stop it in the early stages when it is still plaque. As dog owners, we must care for our pups and do everything they cannot do for themselves.

Establishing a dental care routine is very important and beneficial for both you and your dog in the long run!


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