How to Clean Tartar From a Dog's Teeth Without a Vet

Updated February 21, 2017

It is important to maintain oral health in dogs, as failure to do so can result in serious health problems, such as gingivitis or heart disease. You should brush your dog's teeth regularly and give them rawhide or raw marrow bones to chew on periodically, as this helps to remove plaque and tartar naturally. If there is a tartar build-up on teeth, some people take their dog to the vet for a teeth cleaning under anaesthesia. For older dogs, this can be quite risky, and if there are only one or two teeth in need of a good scrape, then cleaning the tartar yourself is a better option.

Hold your dog's muzzle, with your hand across the top, pulling the sides of her mouth open with your fingers to expose her teeth.

Scrape the affected tooth with the metal tartar scraper, in swift, downward motions. Never scrape toward the gum, as this causes gum damage.

Wipe away the scaled tartar with a soft cloth.

Repeat on other tartar-affected teeth after some time, as your dog will not sit still for long enough to treat all the teeth at once, unless he is extremely well trained and patient.


The best way to avoid tartar build-up on your dog's teeth is to maintain a daily cleaning schedule, and to feed your dog raw or dry foods, rather than gravy-based pet foods.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal tartar scraper
  • Soft cloth
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About the Author

B.T. Alo is media director, chief writer and editor for a U.S.-based marketing and consulting firm. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and communications. Alo's interests include business, investments, electronics, personal finance, health, communication, popular trends and travel.