10 Effective Ways To Clean Pug Teeth Without Brushing!

Dental hygiene is one of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects when it comes to maintaining the overall health of a dog. Owners often forget that dogs use their mouth and teeth much like how humans use their hands. It’s crucial to keep them clean in order to prevent the onset of infections and diseases.

Pug teeth should ideally be brushed 2-3 times per week. However, there are substitutes and complimentary ways to help promote good dental hygiene. These include: dental sprays, chews, wipes, and toys. Food supplementation, bones, and water additives are also effective.

While brushing is one of the most effective ways to ensure optimal dental hygiene, it certainly isn’t the easiest. If you didn’t start brushing your pug’s teeth from an early age, it will be met with a lot of resistance. Rather than giving up, you might find some of these alternative methods to be helpful in keeping their teeth clean and healthy.

Pug Teeth Issues

So, why is dental hygiene important for pugs? Well, they are classified as a brachycephalic (flat faced) breed, and this makes them prone to several dental diseases. Their facial structure forces their teeth to overcrowd, which can cause bacteria to build up, food to be entrapped, and plaque to accumulate.

This can lead to several periodontal problems such as tooth decay, gum infections, loss of teeth, bone loss, and even organ damage. Some typical signs of a pug suffering from dental issues can include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty eating
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Inflammation in the gums
  • Discharge
  • Excessive licking and pawing at the mouth

It’s distressing to see your pug in any sort of pain, so in order to prevent such diseases, it’s important to look at different ways in which you can help promote good oral hygiene. While brushing is very effective, it is not the only method owners can use to clean their pug’s teeth.

1. Dental Sprays

Dental sprays are another route you can take to ensure good oral hygiene. Many people use a gel but get tired of the struggle of ensuring the gel reaches every part of their pug’s mouth. An easier option is to use a dental spray that only requires a single puff; allowing it to reach every part within the dog’s mouth. Once you have sprayed it, you can go ahead and scrape the teeth yourself for full coverage.

These sprays are readily available at most pet stores, and you can even find them online if you want a wide variety of options to choose from. They are great when it comes to tackling bad breath, although it will require you to place the spray inside the dog’s mouth frequently. Some pugs are sensitive about having things near their chompers, so there is still potential that they may resist.

Also, your pug might not like the taste of the spray, which can be a drawback because you can’t force your dog to enjoy it. Dental sprays can also be an expensive product and add up in the long run. But the hassle will be worth it because you can say goodbye to bad breath. Look for an option with natural ingredients and enzymes that help soften the plaque.

2. Dental Chew Sticks

Dental chew sticks are a great way to keep your pug engaged in dental care without them even noticing. Give it to your dog as a rewarding treat, and see how their teeth improves as the days go by. The chewy texture not only helps remove the tartar and plaque, but it is also great for strengthen the gums of your little pug. Some of these chews come with a minty smell and will help improve your dog’s breath too.

Another option in this category is to use dog chews instead. These are tasty and healthy treats like tendons and bully sticks that’s not only great for their teeth, but will also keep them occupied for hours. They are long-lasting, so your dog will chew it for quite some time, and it is made of simple, natural, and healthy ingredients.

You can find tasty chews online and in stores too, it won’t be the biggest task to hunt the product down. This is a fantastic option for owners that have a busy schedule, as you can leave your dog to take care of their teeth on their own. However, it should be noted that these can be high in calories, so if your pug is on the heavier side, you may want to limit the amount of long-lasting chews you offer them each week.

3. Water Additives

Water additives are liquid solutions that owners can add to their pug’s water. They contain enzymes that help break up the plaque and keep germs away, which helps to prevent any diseases or oral mouth infection from occurring. It is very simple process and it works by exposing your dog’s mouth and teeth to the additives as they drink water throughout the day.

The drawback is that it isn’t a rapid process, so other methods might be more effective. In addition, these additives can be expensive and pugs may not like the taste of it. Although, this solution won’t require you to run after your pug when trying to clean their teeth. You can spot these additives on Amazon or other online stores without much difficulty.

4. Dental Wipes

Pugs can be stubborn about having foreign objects forced into their mouth. They might run away when you use a toothbrush and despise the taste of canine toothpastes. Another effective option are dental wipes, since your pug will most likely be less resistant to it compared to having a bristled toothbrush poking in and around their mouth.

Many owners neglect the work that dental wipes can do. Indeed, hardened plaque tart does not come off as easily with these wipes, but they still contain enzymes that help soften any plaque that’s built up. When used regularly enough, you will eventually be able to scrape it off as it loosens.

Dental wipes are more tolerable and you can even use it as an opportunity to bond with your pug. They may even enjoy the feeling of getting their gums massaged by their owner. To be effective, you’ll need to gently move your fingers in a circular motion in between and across their teeth to scrape off any unwanted substances.

These are single-use disposable wipes, and you might have to buy more after running out. They can also be used in tandem with sprays and foaming agents to get a better result. Dental wipes can come in many flavors, so you have the option to pick and choose if your pug is particularly picky.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used in two ways to promote better dental health for your dog. First, you can use a brush to scrape the plaque off once you have applied the oil to your pug’s teeth. Alternatively, you can add the oil to your pug’s water or food so it reaches their teeth. Once that is done, the coconut oil simply breaks the plaque down after being exposed to it.

Although you might want to avoid using a brush, it is recommended that you do so for the best results. It is a hundred percent natural method, and it’s a product that’s very accessible. But make sure you don’t go overboard; after all, it is an oil that is high in calories. It can lead to weight gain if used in excess, so ensure they are getting a healthy dose each day if this is the route you’d like to take.

6. Food Supplements

There are many options for food supplements when it comes to softening and removing plaque in a pug’s teeth. By routinely adding these supplements to your dog’s diet, it can help keep their breath smelling fresh and their teeth sparkling clean.

PlaqueOff is a great option to preventing dental tartar build up as it contains an alga known as Ascophyllum nodosum. Additionally, this is really easy to administer since it doesn’t require you to stick your fingers into your pug’s mouth. By simply sprinkling the supplement over your dog’s dry or wet food daily, it will help fight against any plaque producing bacteria.

7. Bones & Antlers

Similar to dental chews, you can provide your pug with bones and antlers as a natural option to improve their oral hygiene. Being such hard items, these bones help scrape off some of the hardest plaque and tartar as your dog chews and gnaws on it.

However, it is crucial to note that they must be raw. When cooked, they can break off and splinter into jagged pieces, which becomes a choking hazard. Not only will they contain less nutrients than raw bones, there is also a risk of it causing cuts, blockages, and even internal damage. Lastly, it can even cause a tooth to chip when bones are cooked, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.

Always supervise your dog when eating bones to ensure nothing goes wrong. You should aim to let them gnaw at it from 10-15 minute sessions before taking it away from them. Large bones that aren’t finished should be kept for a maximum of 3 days before throwing it out. With these safety measures in mind, this is a method with long-lasting and proven results.

8. Dental Toys

There is also the option of providing your pug with dog toys designed to help improve their dental hygiene. They can work just as well as chew sticks and treats, and very suitable for a pug that may be on a diet. These fun toys contain ridges for your pet to chew on, and are design to help remove plaque. Additionally, they will keep your dog occupied and stimulated, espcially if you’re out of the house.

The best thing is that owners don’t really need to do anything besides giving it a clean from time-to-time. The down side is that your pug may get bored of it overtime and stop using it. Many people also question the effectiveness of them, since they can break before proving to be effective. It might take a few different chew toys before finding the right one for your dog.

9. Healthy Fruits & Vegetables

Natural and healthy foods in the form of fruit and vegetables can also help improve your pug’s dental health, especially if they are also on a diet. Foods like carrots, apples, celery, and broccoli are great alternatives to regular store bought dental chews. They are much lower in calories and contain many beneficial nutrients to go along with it.

It is also possible for you to freeze these items to make them harder. It may prove to be more effective in removing plaque from your pug’s teeth. Always avoid options that are high in sugar and if it is calorically dense, as pugs can have a tendency to put on weight and suffer from obesity related diseases.

Sourcing fruit and vegetables is convenient, cheap, and effective. You’ll just need to ensure that your pug isn’t allergic to anything prior to feeding. If you do notice any reactions, stop immediately, and take your pug to a vet if the symptoms don’t subside.

10. Professional Cleaning

There is no harm in seeking professional cleaning every once in a while. It is great for preventing plaque buildup and help detect any infections that might befall your pug. However, sometimes your pug’s teeth health might have deteriorated so much that you might need a few visits to the vet before you implement any of the natural alternatives.

It can cost you somewhere between $300 USD to $600 USD, but it will save your pug from painful infections and other periodontal diseases. Your pug won’t feel any pain as the professional will sedate your dog before the procedure takes place. Don’t try to do anything yourself that requires oral equipment. You might end up hurting your pug so let the professionals step in.

The professional will extract any teeth that may be causing too much pain or are decaying. Then, the vet will scrape the plaque for perfect results and polish the pug’s teeth for a great final result. It might be a costly method, but there is no harm in taking your pug to a vet for checkups. It will be beneficial for you in the long run and prevent any further costly surgeries for diseases that worsen over time.

Tips For Brushing Your Pug’s Teeth

While there are many different ways in which pug owners can maintain and improve their dog’s dental health, brushing is by far the most effective. However, it is the most difficult method, which often leads to neglect. There are a few simple tips that can hopefully help you incorporate it as part of your dog’s grooming routine.

  1. Start early – Making it a habit while your pug is still a puppy will teach them that this is part of their routine. They are more likely to oblige with early exposure, and it’s a great way for you to bond with your pug puppy. You must get it right from the get go, otherwise, you will be met with resistance from that point on.
  2. Routine – Owners need to set a routine to brush their pug’s teeth every 2-3 days. The best times to do it is when they are in a calm and relaxed state. They will be less likely to oblige if they’re full of energy, so it might be helpful to go for a walk prior to brushing.
  3. Dental tools – Ensure that you have all the right tools for your pug. That includes a toothbrush that is the appropriate size and toothpaste that’s specifically made for canines. The bristles on the brush should be soft and angled so it’s gentle on their gums.
  4. Position – Pugs are sensitive with their teeth, so when it’s time to brush, they may become anxious. You don’t want to pin them down, but rather, hold them besides you or sit in front of them. If your pug stresses out, then take a break and try again later.
  5. Gums – Before diving into brushing, you can start by rubbing your fingers against their upper gums and teeth to test their willingness to oblige. By using light pressure, it will prepare them for brushing and instil trust in your pug.
  6. Toothpaste – Toothpaste for dogs is different to what humans use. They’re not interchangeable so please use the correct product. Start by letting them sniff and lick it so they get used to the taste and texture. If your pug doesn’t like the taste of it, then try another flavor.
  7. Brushing – At this point, your dog will be comfortable with letting your probe their mouth. It’s time to start brushing! Start by opening their upper lip and gently brush their teeth in a circular motion. Angle the brush to help the soft bristles massage the gums as you work through their teeth.
  8. Blood – If there is blood, you might be brushing too hard. If that’s not the case, then it could be a sign of gum disease. This is a sign that you should speak to your vet for advice.
  9. Plaque – Focus on areas that contains the most plaque. Usually, this will be on the outsides of the canine and back teeth.
  10. Time – Aim to brush your dog’s teeth for 2 minute sessions.
  11. Positive reinforcement – Be reassuring throughout the session with pats and praises. When the brushing is complete, remember to positively reinforce them with a dental treat! This will help remove further plaque, and ensure future cooperation.

Related Questions

Do pugs have bad teeth? There are quite a few problems associated with the pug’s crowded teeth. These include tooth decay, plaque buildup, gum infections, and periodontal disease if owners neglect proper oral care.

How many teeth do pugs have? Pugs have 42 teeth when they reach adulthood.

What are some pug teething symptoms? Drooling, pawing at the mouth, excessive chewing, blood spots left on belongings, and loss of their puppy teeth.


Animal Emergency Service, n.d. Cooked Bones are Dangerous for Dogs.

Pupford, 2021. 11 Simple Ways to Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing [2020 Update] | Pupford.

VCA Hospitals, n.d. Common Dog Dental Problems.

Wilson, K., 2020. 10 Ways To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Using a Toothbrush.

Flowers, A., 2021. Fetch by WebMD.

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