Administering pet medication may seem daunting, yet nearly every pet will require the administration of medication at some point in his or her life. In fact, we’re fortunate to have so many effective options for disease treatment, pain management, and preventive care.
However, when it comes to convincing your reluctant cat or dog, it’s a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve!
Temecula Valley Animal Hospital’s Fear Free staff can help you, with information and demonstrations.
Knowing Your Options for Administering Pet Medications
If your pet absolutely refuses to take a pill, it’s better to understand all your options rather than forcing the matter. If a pet is medication-averse, he or she has already formed negative associations with whatever method you’ve been using.
Making a pet swallow a pill not only sets you up for a bite or scratch, but the experience can also cause your pet to fear you (quite possibly the worst outcome for a loving pet owner). Instead, positive reinforcement or reward-based tricks are the best bets for making the medicine go down.
Also discuss your options with The Pet Experts at Temecula Valley Animal Hospital. We may be able to find more suitable alternatives for your fur friend.
Tablets & Capsules
The use of pillers allows you to dispense a pill by placing it into a piller and angling it toward the back of your pet’s tongue. Of course, the best way to get your pet to cozy up to the piller is by using it to also dispense soft treats.
If you don’t have a piller, use the dispensers that hold peanut butter or banana flavored filling for Kong toys (or something similar). Simply cut the nozzle large enough to contain the pill (hidden in a tasty substance).
To dispense pill directly into your pet’s mouth:
Step 1. Place the pill between the thumb and the index finger of one hand.
Firmly grasp the upper jaw with the thumb and index finger of the other hand.
Step 2. Gently fold the upper lip over the teeth as you open the mouth. This will reduce the chance of being bitten.
Step 3. Rotate your wrist to tilt the head upwards.
Use your middle finger to slowly open the lower jaw.
Step 4. Keep your middle finger over the small incisor teeth and deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible.
Immediately close the mouth. Keeping your hand over the mouth, put the head down to facilitate swallowing.
Step 5. Stroke the throat or blow on the nose to encourage swallowing.
Love and praise your pet!
If your pet is comfortable, you can administer pet medication orally without the dispenser – just be mindful of avoiding an unwanted bite.
If all else fails (and especially if the medication is short-term), you can always fall back on treats as the best option.
Simply crush the pill or dispense the liquid (if instructions allow) into one of the following foods:
- Dollop of peanut butter
- Small piece of cheese (for dogs only).
- A clump of wet dog or wet cat food
- 1-2 teaspoons of tuna fish or pate
- A teaspoon of mashed sweet potato or pumpkin (unsweetened).
- Piece of rolled up tortilla
- Mixed in with your pet’s wet food
You can also use pill pocket treats, which are made to conceal pills.
For more information about pet medications and your options, please give us a call.