When Fido or Fluffy get sick, this is already a stressful time for you. You want them to receive the best care possible – both from your veterinarian and yourself! We can help with that first part, of course, and we will offer plenty of input on how you can care for your pet at home. But when it comes to giving dogs and cats medication, many pet owners struggle. How can you get a stubborn pet to accept a pill or liquid?
We try to anticipate these issues before we even give you a prescription, and take the appropriate action. Having said that, here are some tips you can use once you get home.
Hide it in food. This is the most obvious solution, although some discerning animals figure it out quickly! Try hiding pills or mixing liquids into an appealing food with a strong smell. We can offer a few suggestions at your appointment, based upon your pet’s dietary concerns.
Try treats. We can even recommend some treats that have been created for the specific purpose of molding around pills. They’re available in a variety of flavors, so surely we can find one that your pet will accept. And here’s a clever strategy for you: Offer a “primer” treat without the pill included, so that your pet gets the idea. Then slip the pill into the next treat, which dogs and cats often gobble eagerly without suspicion.
Learn “pilling” techniques. Some feisty animals catch onto your tricks quickly, and simply will not accept medication hidden in food or treats. If this is the case, we can teach you our techniques for giving pills manually.
Flavored liquids. If pills just aren’t working, ask us about flavored liquid medications. These can be mixed into canned food, another offering, or simply squirted into your pet’s mouth. If you go the more direct route, do be sure that your pet is actually swallowing most of the medicine, rather than spitting or drooling it back out.
Stay calm. As frustrating as these situations can be, it’s important to remain calm. If your pet senses anxiety or frustration, they will only become more fearful of taking medications in the future. Give us a call if you’re having trouble with your pet’s medications, and we can help you identify a solution.