Kingsbury Animal Hospital

420 North Skinker Blvd.
Saint Louis, MO 63130


Using Behavior Modification to Teach Your Pet to Accept Oral Hygiene Care
If a tiger can be taught to jump through a ring of fire it is possible for you to teach your pet to accept oral hygiene care. You must begin the process slowly. It may be several weeks before you are actually brushing the teeth.
·         Have tiny bits of a food your pet LOVES available
·         Pick a time when they are likely to be  hungry
·         Pick quiet time…..not the first thing after you get home from work
·         As long as they are quiet, responding to requests and allowing you to manipulate their mouths they get IMMMEDIATE food treats. If they resist in any fashion….you take your treats away and end the session
·         Use a calm, gentle tone of voice
·         A small dog may work best on your lap; a cat probably would be best next to you on a large chair or couch; a large dog should be asked to sit on the floor.
·         Begin a brief time of affectionate touching and giving treats if they are staying calm.
·         Next lightly touch around the face and lips. If they remain still give an IMMEDIATE reward. If they pull away or resist…end the session and try again in a little while.
·         Slowly progress from manipulating the lips, to running your fingers along the teeth and gums, then add in a moist soft cloth on your finger, then add a veterinary oral hygiene product on the cloth.
·         THEN bring the toothbrush out, touch it to their face, put it under their lips and gently work it around. Concentrate on the outside surface of the teeth under the lips. It is more difficult to get on the tongue side of the teeth. There are a variety of toothbrush types. Sometimes we only use the soft cloth or Q-tip; it doesn't have to be a brush.
·         This process may take several weeks. There may be two steps forward and one step backward…..hang in there
·         The goal would be to spend two or three minutes every day brushing your pet's teeth.
·         Please ask us for assistance. We would be happy to coach you with your behavior mod timing and techniques.