BARK Bright Dental: A Step-By-Step Guide on How I Clean My Dog’s Teeth Without Anesthesia

Written by: Stacie Grissom

April 3, 2020

Oh hey, just so you know: You should always see your vet if you have questions or concerns about your dogs’ health—they know their stuff! Please do not use Bright Dental as an alternative to professional veterinary care if your pups’ doc says it’s necessary.

In my 8 years here at BARK writing and editing about all things dog, I’ve learned *so much* about topics ranging from what your dog’s poop color means to all the crazy things you need to worry about if you have a small dog. When I first adopted my dog, Pimm, I had a LOOOONGGG list of things that I wanted to prioritize to make sure she lived the longest, happiest, healthiest life possible. (I *also* had the most adorable collection hoarding of the best BARK toys to come through our office—which Pimm destroyed immediately upon her adoption… 😐)

For Pimm’s health, I knew that properly taking care of her teeth was at the top of my priority list if I wanted to give her the best life I could.

This is Pimm! ^ She's 5 years old.

For the most part, dogs are wonderfully resilient creatures. They can drink from gnarly puddles. They eat sticks. They put their nose in other dogs’ butts. They consume mysterious things in the backyard and they wrassle and roughhouse until their little limbs tremble with exhaustion.

But one area where dogs are super vulnerable is their mouths, and most of us dog parents do little or nothing to maintain our pups’ oral health. Because dogs can’t brush their teeth, 80% of dogs over the age of three develop dental disease, which causes pain, inflammation, and more serious (or life-threatening) issues.

Dental disease starts as plaque builds up on dogs’ teeth and inflames the gums. If the plaque is left to stay there, tartar, or very rough plaque, takes over. As more plaque gets on top of the tartar, dogs’ gums become more inflamed, and then the disease travels deeper.


But the thing is—brushing a dog’s teeth is a gigantic pain and sometimes horror story for everyone involved. When I adopted Pimm, I made it my goal to brush her teeth daily (lol) and then I also had grand plans of using this dental scraping tool every so often to remove any plaque.

The best-laid plans…

Guess what THAT didn’t work out. Brushing your dog’s teeth is messy, gross, and not pleasant for everyone involved. Pimm never enjoyed the tooth-brushing process no matter how often I tried. And my grand plan of using the dental scraper, HA! Seriously—good luck getting this scraper tool on your dog’s back molars… Pimm for SURE does not sit perfectly still like @LouLouMiniDachshund!

Photos by @LouLouTheMiniDachshund

Here at BARK our mission is to make dogs happy—and as our company has evolved beyond sending out a themed monthly box of toys and treats, our tactics for achieving this mission have grown. Recently we launched a first-of-its-kind dental product called Bright Dental, a triple-enzyme daily dental stick + gel which replaces the painful-but-necessary task of brushing your dog’s teeth.

About two years ago, our co-founder and CEO Matt Meeker walked into a meeting surprised by how much he had to pay for a dental cleaning for his Great Dane, Hugo. It was over $2,000 for the vet to clean Hugo’s teeth. Matt thought that people would be shocked by the cost, but instead, he was met with the room saying, “Uh—duh. It sucks!! Cleaning your dog’s teeth is scary and exPENsiVE!!”

So to make things easier for all of us… AND all of you, we launched Bright Dental!

Matt and Hugo

We spent two years on the research and development of this product by partnering with the scientists at Novozymes, the multinational world leader in biological solutions who created an enzymatic human toothpaste for a well-known toothpaste brand. With Novozymes, we worked on creating a product that the pet industry has never seen, a chew and toothpaste combo with a three-enzyme system that replaces daily brushing.

No other dog dental product has three enzymes, which is why Bright is much more effective than anything else on the market. Already, Bright has received a special mention from TIME’s Best Invention Awards and has been endorsed by the President of the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry, Dr. Jan Bellows, and the founder of Fear Free Pets, Dr. Marty Becker. 

And one additional disclosure—as a BARK employee I *do* get a free BarkBox subscription, but I find Bright to be so valuable and money-saving in the long run that I actually pay $25/month to make sure I get Bright delivered to the PimmPup.

So how does Bright Dental work?

You can get your hands on Bright Dental in a variety of ways! Not only is Bright a subscription product like our first business, BarkBox, but as of today you can purchase Bright Dental at select CVS locations around the country as well as at and select Target stores! For this step-by-step guide, we’ll go through the stages of the subscription route.

Step 1: Place an order on!

It’s a super simple process to order Bright Dental online. Give us your dog’s name, size, breed, birthday, and address and we’ll ship you a box each month starting at $30. If you add a recurring Bright subscription to an existing BarkBox subscription, the price is only $25 for a 28-day supply.

Step 2: Once your box arrives, open it up!

In 3-4 days, your box will be delivered to your home! (Unless you added a Bright subscription to your regular BarkBox or Super Chewer box, then they’ll come together!) Open your Bright Dental kit and you’ll find all the supplies you need to brush your dog’s teeth for 28 days.

Step 3: Now for the fun part!

Squeeze our triple enzyme gel along the wide edge of the stick and then let your dog do the dirty work! The gentle abrasion of the chewing action helps expose more plaque and tartar to the enzymes already found in your dog’s mouth. The Bright Dental gel adds even more of those enzymes into the mix to supercharge their benefits.

If your dog isn’t much of a gnawer, and more of a wolf-it-down-er, don’t worry — the enzymes will still do their thing inside your dog’s mouth regardless of speed of consumption. It’s also okay if they lick off the gel before they eat the chew! Below is a breakdown of our enzyme trio and how they work:

  • Enzyme #1: Amyloglucosidase (AMG) AMG breaks down the starches and complex sugars in your dog’s mouth and turns it into glucose, a simple sugar.
  • Enzyme #2: Glucose oxidase (GOX) GOX takes that glucose and transforms it into a safe and effective natural cleaning agent. Think of it like a team of very tiny toothbrushes scrubbing away bacteria.
  • Enzyme #3: Lactoperoxidase Lactoperoxidase is the real superhero. It triggers a catalyst of reactions to boost the toothbrushes’ glucose-conversion performance, and helps other compounds already present in your dog’s saliva (like natural antibacterial agents) do their best work.

Step 4: Repeat every day!!

And watch your dog get more and more JAZZED to brush their own dang teeth, goodbye saliva fingers!

brushing dogs teeth with bark bright

In 1–2 weeks of Bright, you’ll notice fresher breath, and in 4-6 weeks, you’ll see whiter teeth. Keep up the habit, and you’ll get, “Wow how often do you brush your dog’s teeth?” from your vet. Pimm did!

To find out more about Bright, including the breakdown of ingredients used in the gel and dental sticks, visit these articles!

And of course, if you’d like to try Bright on your own dog, subscribe here!

Written by: Stacie Grissom

April 3, 2020

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A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.