How to Take Care of Poodle Teeth: The Ultimate Checklist


When it comes to toy breeds and poodles, in particular, dental health is vital. Poodles are very prone to dental problems as a breed. So, if you plan on purchasing a poodle anytime soon, you’ll need to know how to take care of your dog’s teeth properly. While most pet owners have the best intentions, many people that own poodles don’t know how important dental hygiene is for their pooch.

How can you take care of poodle teeth? There are three things you can do to take care of your poodle’s teeth. You can brush your poodle’s teeth regularly, use dental chews to keep your dog’s teeth healthy and feed your pooch quality food that’s good for its teeth. 

Since there isn’t a lot of information available on the Internet that covers how to take care of a poodle’s teeth, we created this guide to give you a complete overview of what you can do, and how you can do it. We’ll cover how you can brush your poodle’s teeth, use dental chews, and purchase quality food to keep your pooch healthy.

Poodles and Dental Problems

Recently, more and more veterinarians are placing a greater emphasis on taking care of your dog’s teeth. That’s because there are many oral diseases dogs can catch that can cause more health problems later. These types of health problems can be easily avoided if you take a few steps to keep your dog’s teeth clean. 

Unfortunately for poodles and many other toy breeds, their mouths will experience problems if you don’t correctly care from them. Toy breeds and poodles have many unique issues when it comes to dental problems. While toy breeds are prevalent because owners typically wind up with small dogs that exhibit huge personalities, they all have little mouths. 

However, even with those tiny mouths, the teeth of poodles and other toy breeds tend to be much larger compared to different types of dog breeds. That means poodles and toy breeds usually have more dental problems because their mouths are already overcrowded. 

When too many teeth are crowded into a tiny area, there are more areas where tarter can start forming. Tartar build-up causes gum and periodontal disease. Another reason why poodles and toy breeds have dental problems is that their large teeth don’t allow them to get bones between their teeth to clean out the tarter. Unfortunately for poodles, even slight periodontal diseases can create substantial health problems in the long run. 

Teeth Issues With Toy Breeds

Another thing you’ll need to know about poodles and toy breeds is that they are known for persistent deciduous teeth. That means that their baby teeth don’t all come out as they should when you compare them to most other dog breeds. While this can happen in several different types of canines, it’s a more common problem for toy breeds and poodles. So, not only do poodles have an already crowded mouth and overly large teeth but they probably also haven’t lost all of their baby teeth.

Many toy breeds and poodles will experience deformed permanent teeth issues during their lifetimes.

Many of them have abnormally shaped crowns or roots, which make tarter build-up more significant, leading to periodontal disease. When a dog has improperly formed tooth roots, it might experience endodontic disease, which affects the jaw bone that engulfs the roots.

Besides the many tooth problems we’ve listed here, toy breed dogs and poodles can also experience dental malocclusions. Some dogs are bred to have these issues, like Shih Tzus, for instance. When a dog has a malocclusion, it will wind up with an unusual tooth to gum or tooth to tooth experience. Not only can that feel uncomfortable for the dog, but it can also cause dental disease.

So, if you are currently in the market for a toy breed or a poodle, you’ll need to remember that these types of dogs can experience many dental issues. You’ll want to get a complete oral exam whenever you do a puppy or dog health check visit with your vet. Also, you’ll want to start getting into a good oral hygiene health care routine with your dog at home.

You won’t be able to influence your dog’s ability to retain or lose its baby teeth. However, you can help your poodle out with its potential oral hygiene issues by brushing your dog’s teeth each day. You can also use other products like dental chews, dental wipes, and water additives ( Check on Amazon). It’s a good idea to talk to your vet and get some recommendations about products you can use to help your dog’s teeth.

Poodle Oral Hygiene

If this is your first time owning a poodle, then you’ll need to remember that the most crucial aspect of health care will be making sure your dog has a clean, healthy mouth. About ten years ago, many owners and vets thought that dogs cleaned their teeth from the food they ate. However, since that assumption, we’ve wised up to the fact that dog owners need to take care of their dog’s oral hygiene.

Poodles are very prone to dental issues.

If you don’t give your poodle proper dental care, the following items can happen:

  • The quick plaque build-up that clings to your dog’s teeth, creating enamel loss.
  • Plaque hardens into tartar within about three to five days, creating an even more significant problem.
  • Tarter can sit under your dog’s gum line, and create gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gums, in your dog’s mouth.
  • Signs of plaque and gingivitis usually also signal some periodontal disease or infections in and around one’s teeth.

Unfortunately for poodles, once they start developing periodontal disease, that disease can move quickly from their mouth into more essential organs, like the heart and liver, through the poodle’s bloodstream. When that happens, you’ll have some serious issues on your hands. Remember, for poodles, infections can be fatal if you don’t treat them. Also, eventually rotten, decayed teeth will fall out, but that causes pain and problems with eating.

Poodles and Missing Teeth

Primarily because of improper dental care, about 80% of all poodles wind up with periodontal disease by the time they are three. Periodontal disease can cause all kinds of problems, like missing teeth and mouth infections that can lead to more severe health problems. If you plan to show your poodle, most clubs allow one to two missing teeth to pass. However, if your poodle has three or more missing teeth, especially in a row, it could be disqualified.

If your poodle has misaligned teeth, then it has another problem. Misaligned bites can often be too long or too short because of breeding and genetics. Misaligned teeth happen when a dog’s canine adult teeth grow too quickly when their milk teeth are still in their mouths. When that happens, the poodle’s line of teeth can be misaligned.

Misaligned teeth are a completely different issue. While misaligned bites due to too short or too long upper or lower jaws may be due to genetics, misaligned teeth often occur if adult canines grow in too rapidly, when milk teeth are still intact.

This factor can throw off the entire line of the poodle’s teeth.

You can help encourage proper alignment of your poodle’s teeth be manipulating the top incisors to come into your poodle’s mouth first. Here are a couple of things to remember about your poodle’s teeth:

  • If you notice the permanent upper teeth are coming in before the bottom incisors, don’t worry. The top teeth will hold the bottom teeth in a better position if this happens.
  • If the top and bottom permanent teeth are coming in at the same time, your dog may have some discomfort because its teeth may crash together. This issue can make your poodle’s bite undershot, so be wary of this. 

If you’re wondering how you can encourage the upper incisors first, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Gently wiggle the incisors if they are loose. You should gently shake the teeth by pushing on them lightly with your fingertips one to two times daily.
  • Remember, you need to perform this action gently because if the roots are still firmly on your dog’s teeth, you can’t push them out. 
  • The most you can do is to encourage the teeth you want your dog to lose first with some light wiggling. 

If you notice that your poodle’s adult tooth is coming in next to a milk tooth that won’t move, then it’s a good idea to take your poodle to the vet. Your vet will be able to pull out a baby tooth that does this to make room for new teeth. That way, you can keep an eye on your poodle’s developing mouth and help your pooch avoid some oral hygiene issues later on in life. 

When to Start Brushing Your Poodle’s Teeth

When your poodle reaches the age of two months, it will be ready for dental care. However, you won’t be brushing your dog’s teeth quite yet. Instead, you want to start an oral hygiene routine with your poodle while it is still young. That way, your poodle gets used to having its teeth cared for early on in its life.

By starting an oral hygiene routine at a young age, your poodle will get many benefits.

  • Your poodle will get used to its owner touching its teeth, making the process of brushing much easier later.
  • Your poodle will learn to sit still while you work on its teeth.
  • Also, your poodle will learn that oral health is part of its daily routine before it ever starts teething.

You’ll want to make brushing your poodle’s teeth a regular part of your everyday schedule, just like a walk schedule or a feeding schedule. You want to make this part of your regime with your dog and also never forget to do it. If you start taking care of your dog’s teeth from the moment you take your puppy home, it will get used to oral care very quickly. So, pick a time of day, and start helping your dog with its oral routine from the first day.

By starting early and brushing your poodle’s teeth every day, you’ll be ensuring that your pooch lives a long, healthy life that won’t be full of mouth discomfort. Even if you are doing research on poodle teeth and you own an older dog, or you are planning on adopting an oral dog, you should start an oral hygiene routine right away.

Now that you know why you should brush your poodle’s teeth, we’ll cover the three ways you can take care of your dog’s oral health. We’ll tell you how to clean your poodle’s teeth, how to use dental chews for better oral health, and how to shop for food that will be good for your dog’s mouth.

Taking Care of Your Poodle’s Oral Health

When it comes to taking care of your poodle’s oral health, there are three things you’ll need to become aware of initially. First, we’ll cover how you can brush your poodle’s teeth. After that, we’ll cover how you can use dental chews for better oral health, and some food that will help your dog’s mouth.

Brushing Your Poodle’s Teeth

Probably the best way to prevent oral diseases in your poodle is by brushing its teeth. However, brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t always an easy process. Don’t get too frustrated if your first few attempts at teeth cleaning don’t go well. When you are just starting with your oral hygiene routine with your poodle, whether it’s a dog or puppy, you’ll need to introduce it slowly to the idea.

What you’ll need to brush your Poodle’s teeth:

  • First, you’ll want to make sure you buy the right type of toothbrush as well as a toothpaste that is made for dogs. I recommend the Petsmile Professional Dog Toothpaste on Amazon.
  • You do need to buy special toothpaste for your dog because dog toothpaste has ingredients in them that are safe for dogs. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are toxic to dogs. So, you should never use human toothpaste when brushing your poodle’s teeth.

You should plan on brushing your poodle’s teeth daily, if possible. The minimum amount of cleaning allowable is twice a week for most dogs. However, since poodles have more dental problems than many other dog breeds, you’ll want to try to brush your poodle’s teeth daily.

As soon as you bring your dog home, you should start your dental care regime, regardless of the dog’s age. If you have an older poodle and you are just getting started with dental care, it’s a good idea to bring your dog to the vet to get a full dental check-up.

Step #1: Schedule Your Time

First, you’ll need to pick a time of day that will be your everyday oral hygiene time for you and your dog. It doesn’t matter if you decide to do this daily in the morning or at night. You honestly need to pick a time that works well for you and your schedule, and that you can stick to every day. As you get to know your dog, you might find out that there are certain times of day when providing dental care works well.

For instance, you might want to try to brush your dog’s teeth before its daily playtime or daily walk. That way, you can clean your poodle’s teeth, give it a treat when it’s done with the process, and take it out for some fun. Your dog will feel like it is being rewarded every day for getting its teeth brushed, so it’ll be more apt to want to sit through the process, making it easier for you to get the job done.

Step #2: Touching Your Dog’s Teeth

Next, you’ll need to start getting your poodle ready by touching its teeth from time to time. Before you start brushing, you’ll need to make sure your poodle is okay with you touching its mouth. When you first start out doing this, you don’t need a toothbrush or toothpaste initially. Most of the time, puppies and even older dogs won’t understand the process at first. Many will think you are playing with them, while others will try to escape the procedure.

As you are getting your dog prepared for its daily tooth brushing experiences, you’ll need to start slow.

  • Try sitting on the ground with your poodle on your lap to begin. Have your poodle’s tummy facing up and use your leg to support your dog’s head.
  • Then, use your left-hand thumb to hold open your poodle’s mouth while you let your right hand touch your dog’s teeth.
  • At this point, you’ll just be using your fingertips to rub your dog’s teeth gently. If you have long fingernails, you may need to keep them trimmed down when you are first working with your poodle. You also need to make sure you are touching every tooth in your dog’s mouth, including the back molars.

The entire process of manipulating your dog’s teeth only requires about a minute or two. You’ll need to do this every day for a few weeks before you can start brushing your dog’s teeth.

Your poodle will let you know when it is ready for the next step. Every day that you touch your dog’s teeth, you’ll start seeing your dog try to avoid you or fight with you less and less. Eventually, your dog will give in to the process and allow you to touch its teeth with no fight.

Keep in mind, it will take some time, and it might be a bit of a struggle to get to the point when your poodle gives in to your desires. However, it’s best to be gentle with your dog when going through this process, and use some baby talk, love and attention, and a nice treat when it’s all over.

Step #3: Add Toothpaste

Once your poodle seems to accept your daily tooth-touching routine, you’ll want to start bringing in toothpaste to the mix before you move onto other parts of the process. Remember, you can never use human toothpaste on a poodle. That’s because dogs cannot rinse and spit like humans, and will wind up swallowing a lot of the paste. Human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs, and since dogs typically swallow toothpaste, you can see how this could be a problem.

Dog toothpaste is designed without chemicals that are toxic to dogs, and a dog can swallow this type of toothpaste without experiencing any additional issues. You’ll need to be especially careful if you have a toy poodle since human toothpaste can seriously affect smaller dogs.

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Step #4: Finger Brush with Toothpaste

After your dog gets used to having its teeth touched, you’ll want to switch from your finger to a canine dental finger brush. (click to see on Amazon) These toothbrushes come made out of soft rubber and slide right over your fingertip. The brush has tiny knob areas that help brush and clean your poodle’s teeth. 

When you start using the finger brush, you’ll have to go gently and slowly at first. Although your dog is applied to your finger, the finger brush is going to feel different, and that might take a bit of getting used to for your pooch. The finger brush feels harder and isn’t as pliable as your fingers, so your poodle will notice the difference.

Once you start using the brush, you’ll want to add a small amount of dog toothpaste to the brush and then use your one to two minutes a day cleaning your poodle’s teeth. It’ll take a week or two for your dog to get fully used to this process, and you may experience a few hiccups as you go along. 

However, once your dog gets used to this experience, it’ll be almost to the finish line. After a dog gets used to using a finger brush, a full-sized canine toothbrush( click to view on Amazon) won’t feel too differently, and your dog will be ready to move on. 

Step #5: Daily Cleanings with a Full Brush

Next, you’ll need to get ready to move onto doing complete daily cleanings with a full-sized brush. When you start working on this step, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make sure you purchase a high-quality toothbrush. The best types of brushes are three-sided brushes. They work well to clean a poodle’s mouth. When you are buying your brush, make sure you get a size that will work for your poodle. Different dogs require different sizes of toothbrushes.
  • When you use your dog toothpaste, make sure you place it between the bristles, not just on top of them. Get the toothpaste down into the bristles so that more paste will cover your dog’s teeth when you brush.
  • You’ll need to hold your brush at a mild angle while you clean your poodle’s gums thoroughly.
  • You’ll need to get your dog used to about five minutes per day of daily cleaning. That will be enough time to maintain good oral hygiene daily.
  • Make sure you start cleaning the top teeth first and then move onto the bottom teeth.

Using Dental Chews

Another product you’ll want to make sure you have on-hand for your poodle is dental chews. Dental chews offer you an easy way to boost your dog’s teeth. Dental chews are designed to clean your dog’s teeth almost as effectively as brushing your dog’s teeth daily. I recommend Greenies Original Regular Size Natural Dental Dog Treats. Click the product name to see on Amazon.

Dental chews are designed to scrape off plaque and tartar as the dog chews the treat. Also, these types of chews are filled with ingredients that help prevent dental problems, and they also make your dog’s breath smell better. Also, dental chews are very easy to use since most dogs love tasty treats.

We recommend keeping plenty of dental chews in your cabinet for your daily brushing adventures. You can give your dog a dental chew on top of brushing its teeth daily once you are done cleaning your dog’s teeth. That way, your pooch is getting a double-punch effort from you with teeth cleaning.

Quality Dog Food

he type of dog food you give your poodle can also affect its oral hygiene. Making sure your dog is getting all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs will help your poodle grow strong and healthy. You want to stay away from certain ingredients, including grains, by-products, and food that can stick to your poodle’s teeth.

Purchasing low-quality dog food means your poodle will wind up with more plaque and tartar on its teeth. It also won’t get the vitamins and minerals it needs for its immune system to function correctly. Instead, buying high-quality dog food means you’ll get whole foods and natural ingredients inside your pup. Better food also includes enzymes and supplements that can break down tartar and plaque on your dog’s teeth.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve covered why poodles need effective dental care, how you can brush your poodle’s teeth, how you can use dental chews, and the type of dog food you can buy to improve your poodle’s teeth, you should be well on your way to forming your daily regime with your poodle.

Keep in mind that starting early on will be best when working with any dog. However, whether you are adopting an adult or puppy poodle, you’ll need to use a lot of patience and spend plenty of time getting your dog through the learning process. Once you’ve done that, you can provide excellent dental care and keep your poodle happy and healthy for years to come.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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