How to Care for Golden Retriever’s Teeth: A Step-by-Step Guide

Golden Retrievers are one of the happiest, most loyal dogs you’ll ever find, and they always greet you with a great big smile! To keep that smile bright and healthy you’ll need to make taking care of your golden’s teeth a priority.

You can care for your Golden Retriever’s teeth by brushing them regularly and using dental care products made especially for dogs. Bad canine teeth can cause life-threatening and painful infections. These infections can damage your pet’s internal organs. Caring for your Golden Retrievers teeth, will help boost his health.

In this article, you’ll learn how to care for your pet’s teeth and what to look for when buying dental care products for your Golden Retriever.

Golden retriever getting his teeth brushed.

(This article may contain affiliate links and loyalgoldens may earn a commission if a purchase is made.)

Unlock your goldens natural intelligence and see just how quickly problem behaviors disappear.This is the best at home dog training I've ever used!

Importance of Dog Dental Health

It’s important to know that keeping your dog’s teeth clean is an important part of his overall health and well-being.

Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly will prevent periodontal disease (gum disease) and avoid cavities. The primary indication of periodontal disease is bad breath. Over 80% of dogs aged three years and older suffer from periodontal disease, and cavities can put your Golden’s well-being and health at risk. 

Therefore, your Golden Retriever should have his teeth examined by a veterinarian once a year. Not only can the vet can provide a comprehensive cleaning of your pooch’s teeth, they’ll also be able to take X-rays that will examine below the gum line to detect other dental problems that are impossible to see otherwise.

Dental Problems in Golden Retrievers

Poor tooth care can cause a host of problems for your Golden Retriever just as it can for you. You should check for the following dental problems in your pet:

  • Swelling around the mouth area
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Tartar covered teeth
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Mouth pain
  • Drooling
  • Unusual chewing 
  • Discolored teeth 
  • Extra teeth 
  • Broken teeth

Symptoms and Signs of Dental Problems in Dogs

You should know the signs of dental problems in your Golden Retriever. 

Pawing at the Cheek and Mouth

One of the first signs of dental problems is if you notice your dog pawing at his mouth. When a human experiences pain, one of the first things we do is hold the area that hurts. Dogs are the same when it comes to mouth pain, and they will paw their mouth and snout.

You should check the inside of your canine’s mouth for dental problems, such as red gums and ulcers. Do not downplay a dental issue, even if it appears minor as it can have major health consequences.

Golden Retrievers with dental pain will become moody and annoyed and may have behavioral changes. If you observe a dental problem with your pet, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 


If you notice your dog is increasingly drooling this could be a sign of dental problems.

Your pet’s excessive drooling may be due to a painful dental condition. This could be something as simple as an object being lodged in his teeth causing discomfort or could be as major as an infection. If you’re unable to determine the problem, you should immediately take your pet to the veterinarian for a dental checkup.

Bad Breath

With Golden Retrievers, bad breath is usually pretty obvious as goldens like to be up in their owners faces on a pretty regular basis. Bad breath is a major sign that something is going wrong inside your pet’s mouth.

You’ll want to have your Golden Retriever’s teeth cleaned and examined by your vet if his breath smells bad.

The easiest way to avoid canine dental problems is to maintain oral care in-between veterinary appointments. So, remember to brush your Golden’s teeth on a regular basis and use dental treats like these (Amazon) that have been designed to help with your Golden Retriever’s oral health.

Things to Look for in Dental Care Products for Your Dog

Fortunately, there are various dental products available on the market that can help with your Golden’s overall dental health. However, you should know what to look for when buying dental care products for your canine friend.

  • Buy dental products that stop the formation of plaque. These products also make the enamel strong and help whiten the teeth.
  • Look for the newest flavors and formulas when choosing dental chews for your Golden. It’s worth knowing that various brands offer dental health guides that contain information on how to look after your Golden’s teeth effectively.
  • Ensure that the dog toothbrush you choose has a 45-degree brush head for complete removal of bacteria and plaque from below your dog’s gum line.
  • Choose brands that are well-known and have good customer feedback.
  • Use dental chews and treats along with brushes and pastes for the best overall canine dental care.

Buying a Toothbrush for Your Pet

Choose those brushes that help you reach difficult areas and have soft bristles. Toothbrushes with soft bristles will not hurt the teeth or gums of your Golden Retriever. Remember, choosing the right dog toothbrush can make it easier for you to convince your Golden Retriever to have his teeth brushed. This is not to be underestimated!

Take into account your pet’s size when choosing a dog toothbrush for him. If you have a puppy, buy a small toothbrush that easily fits into his mouth, and if you have an adult dog, buy a toothbrush that comes with bristles on both sides and a long handle.

Also keep in mind to replace the dog toothbrush regularly. Just like with humans, a dog toothbrush becomes worn and less effective over time. It’s best to purchase a packet with two or more dog toothbrushes as it provides the best value and you’ll always have a spare. 

You should not use your old toothbrush for cleaning your Golden Retriever’s teeth. Why? Because a dog toothbrush and a human toothbrush are way different in terms of design. Human toothbrushes will cause sore gums and bleeding as they are very hard on a dog’s mouth. Hence, it’s recommended to not use a human toothbrush to clean your pups teeth.

There are many types dog toothbrushes available on the market depending on your needs. Here are some of them:

  • Single-headed dog toothbrush. This comes with a curved end. They have soft bristles and won’t hurt the gums and teeth of your Golden Retriever. Single-headed dog toothbrushes look similar to human toothbrushes.
  • Double-headed dog toothbrush. This is perfect for you if you want to brush the teeth of your Golden Retriever quickly. They brush both sides of your pooch’s teeth in one go. If you do it correctly, you can ensure the bottom and top of your Golden’s jaws are cleaned with ease.
  • Double-ended toothbrush. This comes with two ends of different sizes. This type of dog toothbrush makes it easy for you to switch from incisors to molars. You just need to flip the ends, and you’ll have the right-sized toothbrush for cleaning the teeth of your Golden Retriever.
This good boy loves getting his teeth brushed!

Best Dog Toothbrushes

Here are two of the best toothbrushes you can buy for your Golden Retriever.

Arm & Hammer Dental Health Kit  (Amazon)

This kit includes toothpaste, a finger toothbrush, and a dual-sided toothbrush. The finger toothbrush scrubs away grime and cleans your pooch’s gums. The dual-head toothbrush lets you work in different parts of your Golden Retriever’s mouth.

The toothpaste has a chicken flavor and is formulated with natural ingredients that ensure effective dental health for your Golden Retriever. 

H&H Pets Dog Toothbrush (Amazon)

There are also many finger brushes available on the market. These finger toothbrushes just slip on over your finger and provide a great cleaning at a low cost.

You can use H&H Pets Dog Toothbrush to clean your dog’s teeth. These brushes are manufactured from human grade materials that are safe to use on a dog. And these finger toothbrushes fit firmly over your fingers. 

The bristles brush remove the tartar and the dirt without hurting your Golden Retriever. You can help your dog significantly decrease dental problems by brushing his teeth with this finger toothbrush.

These work great for goldens that are used to having their teeth cleaned. However, your Golden Retriever can unintentionally hurt your finger while you are cleaning its teeth. Therefore, you should be careful when using these brushes. 

Buying a Good Dog Toothpaste

There are many different kinds of toothpaste available on the market for your Golden Retriever. 

Whatever you do, don’t brush your golden’s teeth using your own toothpaste! Why? Because human toothpaste contains fluoride that can harm your pet. Exposure to higher levels of fluoride can cause kidney damage in dogs.

Apart from this, several kinds of human toothpaste contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol that is harmful to your pet. Xylitol can damage your pet’s liver and reduce his blood sugar levels.

Here are some of the symptoms of xylitol poisoning in pets:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Incoordination
  • Staggering
  • Weakness
  • Reduced activity

If you think your Golden Retriever has consumed xylitol, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Remember dogs don’t spit. Your dog WILL swallow the toothpaste you use, so it’s important to use a toothpaste designed for a dog.

Best Dog Toothpastes

The following dog toothpastes are highly recommended and will do the trick of effectively cleaning your dogs teeth.

Nutri-Vet Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs (Amazon)

This toothpaste from Nutri-Vet is effective in eliminating plaque and tartar from the teeth. Regular use of this enzymatic toothpaste can help prevent dental problems from occurring. Also, it won’t make a mess because it doesn’t contain any foaming agents. The toothpaste can be safely swallowed by your pet without any problems.

This chicken-flavored toothpaste contains glucose oxidase that helps inhibit the formation of plaque and kills harmful bacteria. Apart from glucose oxidase, the paste also contains sodium benzoate that keeps the toothpaste fresh. 

Nylabone Dental Advanced Oral Care Toothpaste (Amazon)

This dog bone flavored toothpaste consists of Denta-C that has been scientifically proven to reduce plaque. Using it can leave your pet with both healthy teeth and gums. The toothpaste will help decrease the build-up of tartar and plaque with regular use. 

Virbac CET Poultry Toothpaste (Amazon)

This toothpaste from Virbac is both effective and safe for your pooch. It has a poultry flavor that’ll really appeal to your Golden Retriever. Your golden may actually like getting his teeth brushed due to the flavor!

The toothpaste restricts the buildup of plaque in the teeth and decreases the chances of tooth decay.

It’s specially formulated for pets and it’s completely safe for your Golden Retriever, even if he swallows it. The best thing about this toothpaste is that it doesn’t contain any foaming agents which just make a mess.

How To Brush Your Golden Retrievers Teeth Step-by-Step

#1. Make Your Pooch Comfortable 

When you’re cleaning your pets teeth for the first time, don’t rush it. The first few initial brushings will set the tone for how your dog reacts to getting his teeth brushed in the future.

Know that it will take some time for your dog to become comfortable with the feeling of your hands and fingers in his mouth. Touch around your Golden Retriever’s mouth and touch his teeth with your fingers.

Go slow and remain calm. Once your dog is used to the procedure it’ll be relatively easy to clean your dogs teeth in the future.

#2. Apply Some Toothpaste on Your Fingers and Let Your Pet Taste It

Smear some toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet a couple of licks. This will help you determine whether your Golden Retriever likes the taste of the toothpaste or not. If your pet likes the taste of the toothpaste, it’s likely that he’ll be more accepting when you put it on the toothbrush and begin to clean his teeth with it. 

If your dog doesn’t like the taste, then try a different flavor of toothpaste. Hopefully, you’ll find a paste that you Golden Retriever will like. After you’ve got an acceptably flavored toothpaste, lift the upper lip of your dog and rub the toothpaste along his teeth and gums in a circular motion.

#3. Show Your Pet the Toothbrush

Accustom your dog to the toothbrush before you actually use it to clean his teeth. Let your pooch see the toothbrush, sniff it, inspect it, and lick some toothpaste off of it before you put the brush in his mouth. Don’t forget to constantly praise your dog for this behavior. 

#4. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth (The Basics)

  1. Put some dog toothpaste on the brush and softly brush a few of your pet’s teeth. Clean the teeth that you can reach easily.
  2. To brush the teeth, lift the upper lip of your Golden Retriever and put the dog toothbrush softly on his teeth. 
  3. After that, slowly brush the teeth back and forth. This will help your dog become familiar with the feeling of the toothbrush inside his mouth and on his teeth and gums.

Also, it’s worth knowing that some dogs like getting their teeth brushed, while others hate brushing. Proceed with care if your dog doesn’t like the experience and becomes angry.

Talk to your canine friend in a soothing voice. Give your Golden Retriever a break if he continues with his aggressive behavior, and brush his teeth the next day. Talk to your dog trainer if your pet continues to aggressively resist having his teeth brushed.

This little puppy is really enjoying his first cleaning!

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

#5. Clean the Outside of Your Pet’s Teeth

Now that your dog is used to having his teeth brushed you can start to do a bit more thorough job of it.

Begin by completely brushing the outside of your golden’s teeth. Put some dog toothpaste on the toothbrush and softly brush the outside surface of your pet’s lower and upper teeth. Slowly increase the number of teeth you are cleaning until your pet is okay, having all of his teeth brushed. 

Additionally, try to brush along the gum line to help your dog get familiar with that sensation. Brush your Golden Retriever’s teeth for a few minutes. Praise your pet throughout the brushing session.

#6. Clean the Insides of Your Pet’s Teeth

Now it’s time to get a little more advanced. Here’s how to brush along the insides of your Golden Retriever’s teeth.

  1. Lift the upper lips of your pet and open his mouth.
  2. Apply inward pressure if your pet doesn’t want to open his mouth.
  3. Brush a small inside area once your dog opens his mouth.
  4. Move on to a bigger inside area once your pooch becomes comfortable with the cleaning.
  5. Also, don’t forget to clean your pet’s tongue.

Don’t expect your dog to get this far in his first few brushings. Brushing your dog’s teeth is a process and it will take time before you can easily brush the insides of his teeth, while he calmly holds his mouth open.

Quality Food for Good Canine Dental Health

Feeding healthy and good quality foods to your pet will boost his oral health as well. It’s important for you to know that a healthy diet is essential to keeping your Golden’s teeth clean and in good shape. You should avoid feeding foods filled with by-products and grains to your Golden Retriever. These ingredients are unhealthy and will stick to your pet’s teeth. 

In addition, low-quality foods will increase the buildup of tartar and plaque and will cause your Golden’s dental health to decline over time. Finally, these low quality foods will also negatively affect the functioning of your dog’s overall immune system, leaving them open to other diseases and health issues. 

By feeding only quality, whole ingredient dog food to your Golden, you’ll boost his dental health as well as his entire immune system. These foods contain natural ingredients that help eliminate the buildup of plaque on your dog’s teeth.

Best Foods for Your Golden Retriever

There are many foods that support oral care for pets. Below are some of the best foods for dental care that you can buy right now for your Golden Retriever.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food (Amazon)

This dry dog food from Hill Science is formulated with natural ingredients and helps improve the oral health of your Golden Retriever as it contains no preservatives, chemicals, or artificial flavors. 

This special dry kibble is designed with interlocking fibers that decreases tartar and plaque. In addition to this, it’s loaded with vitamin E and omega-6 fats that will give your Golden Retriever a healthy skin and coat.

Royal Canin Dental Care Dry Food (Amazon)

This dry food from Royal Canin maintains dental health and prevents the accumulation of tartar and plaque on your pet’s teeth. In fact, it’s made for medium to large canines 12 months or older that are susceptible to tartar. 

The special kibble shape and texture works like a toothbrush to clean and polish teeth as your dog chews.

Diet Transition

It’s worth knowing that every canine tolerates foods differently. Transitioning will be a breeze if you’re already feeding a high quality food to your Golden Retriever. Whenever you change your Golden Retriever’s diet, do it slowly to avoid stomach problems.

Dental Toys

For optimal dental hygiene, you should use dental dog toys, along with other dental care products. Dental toys help to remove debris that causes plaque to buildup in your golden’s mouth.

It’s worth knowing that chewing helps clean the gums and teeth of your Golden Retriever. The act of chewing itself helps remove tartar and clean your dog’s teeth. Additionally, it promotes antibacterial saliva that cleanses your pooch’s mouth. Regular chewing also improves your Golden’s breath.

Adult golden retriever chewing on dental bone.

Rubber and plastic chew toys and ropes do not contain lead and other harmful substances. In fact, these toys promote the oral health of your pet and provide mental stimulation as well to keep your golden retriever from getting bored and lonely. Look for durable and safe dental ropes and rubber chews to ensure safety.

Best Dental Toys for Your Golden Retriever

With so many dental toys out there, it can be overwhelming to determine which dog toy is perfect for your Golden Retriever. Given below are some of the best dog toys you can get for protecting your pooches teeth.

Benebone Dental Chew Toy (Amazon)

Benebone Dental Chew Toy has a bacon flavor that will entice your Golden Retriever to chew it. Plus, it has stimulating ridges to help keep your Golden’s gums healthy and teeth clean. Your pet can easily pick up the toy and chew it. The best thing about this dog toy is that it’s robust and can withstand rigorous chewing.

KONG Dental Dog Toy (Amazon)

This dog toy is designed to clean your Golden Retriever’s gums and teeth as well. Plus, it’s long-lasting and durable. The toy has a hollow interior that you can fill with treats to hold your Golden’s interest. It will keep your furry friend engaged and happy for hours.

This dental dog toy can help prevent behavior problems in your pooch, such as chewing furniture, digging, and barking. Other than that, it can also help your pet overcome separation anxiety and deal with boredom when home alone.

Nylabone Dura Chew X Bone (Amazon)

This dog toy encourages your Golden Retriever to develop good chewing habits. What’s more, your furry friend can easily carry, hold, and pick up this toy. The toy includes four chewing ends that your Golden Retriever will love to play with. And each chewing end helps freshen your pet’s breath and clean his pearly whites. 

On top of that, this toy is great for satisfying your dog’s urge to chew and helps him deal with separation anxiety when you’re away from home.

If you’re looking for a selection of toys that you Golden is sure to love, check out our article: The 19 Best Toys Golden Retrievers Will Actually Play With!

Gels and Sprays 

Dog dental sprays and gels are specifically formulated to soften tartar and plaque. These products work below the gum line and prevent the accumulation of tartar and plaque. Other than that, they help prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis and destroy bacteria. 

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums that happens because of the buildup of bacteria or plaque on the teeth. If left unattended, gingivitis can transform into periodontitis. Unfortunately, this can lead to tooth loss.

You don’t have to reach the teeth when using sprays and gels since you’re spraying into the mouth of your pet. The ingredients in these gels and sprays disperse in your Golden’s saliva and target difficult-to-reach parts of the mouth. The good news is that there’s very little stress involved for you and your pooch with gels and sprays.

When it comes to dental sprays and gels, a good choice is Arm & Hammer Tartar Control for Dogs (Amazon).

Water Additives

Water additives are dental rinses that you can add to your pooch’s drinking bowl. They help to keep the teeth of your Golden Retriever healthy and clean.

In addition to keeping your dog’s teeth in good shape, water additives help maintain your Golden’s fresh breath and are great because they’re very easy to use. You should choose brands that are well-known and have good customer reviews like this one at Amazon.

Professional Cleanings

A professional cleaning at a veterinarian’s clinic is a crucial part of your dog’s oral care. Your canine friend will need dental X-rays, teeth cleanings, and oral examinations about once a year.

Your veterinarian knows what’s good for the teeth of your pet and will be able to address any problems he discovers. The vet is capable of locating and treating any problems that you might have overlooked.

More Tips on Dog Dental Care

Here are some more tips on daily dental care and cleaning your Golden Retriever’s teeth. 

Clean Your Golden Retriever’s Teeth Regularly

Brush your pet’s teeth more often. This way, your Golden Retriever will get used to your hands and toothbrush in and around its mouth and you will be able to brush your dog’s teeth easily over time. As a matter of fact, you should clean the teeth of your dog as often as daily to keep gum diseases at bay. 

However, if your pet has loose teeth or is bleeding orally, you should speak to your vet before continuing to clean your dog’s teeth. 

Choose a Good Time for Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Choose the right time for brushing your pooch’s teeth. In fact, clean the teeth of your Golden Retriever when he is calm. Golden Retrievers are friendly, playful, and active. So, your pooch might run around while you brush his teeth. 

Hence, it would be better if you clean your Golden’s teeth after a play session or heavy exercise. This way, your pooch will be tired and will be calmer and more open to having his teeth cleaned.

The best case scenario would be for you to begin brushing your pet’s teeth when they’re just a puppy. This is the easiest way for your dog to become familiar with the teeth cleaning process. 

A Word of Caution

If left unchecked, bacteria from infected gums and tooth roots can enter your dog’s bloodstream and may lead to a host of health problems. Failure to seek immediate dental care can have serious consequences. Damage to your pet’s organs can happen if dental treatment is not acted on in time. 

Furthermore, organ failure or tooth loss can happen due to dental neglect. Remember, good oral health is important for the overall health of your Golden Retriever.


Brushing your Golden Retriever’s teeth is important to his well being and health. Additionally, brushing your pet’s teeth regularly keeps bad breath at bay.

In addition, cleaning your Golden Retriever’s teeth daily can increase his happiness and longevity. Plaque and tartar are not good for your dog’s health. 

Furthermore, dental hygiene problems may cause life-threatening infections and diseases that may damage your pet’s organs, including heart, kidneys, and liver. Therefore, it is essential to clean your pet’s teeth on a regular basis.

Other Articles You’ll Love!


Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

Recent Posts