Some pets refuse to take substances they deem suspicious, making your job difficult if they are diagnosed with a condition requiring medication. They are also intelligent enough to realize when you are trying to trick them. Our team at Airway Animal Clinic wants to help by offering tips to medicate your pet without causing undue stress.
#1: Camouflage your pet’s medicine
Your pet has an extremely sensitive nose, and may not like the medication’s smell. Hide the drug in strong-smelling, wet food to conceal the odor. For dogs, placing the pill in a meatball or peanut butter can be effective. Make three treats, but put the pill only in one. Give your dog the two drug free treats first, and they should gobble down the final treat without fuss. For cats, try hiding the pill in tuna or their favorite, pungent wet food.
#2: Pill your pet
If your pet is not a biter, you can pill your pet. The methods are different for dogs and cats.
- Pilling your dog
- Using your subordinate hand, grasp your dog’s muzzle. Hold the upper jaw between the thumb and index finger.
- Tilt your dog’s head back, and place your thumb on the roof of their mouth.
- Hold the pill in your dominant hand between your thumb and index finger, and use your middle finger to open their lower jaw.
- Drop the pill as far back over their tongue as possible, close their mouth, and blow on their nose to encourage them to swallow. You can also massage their throat to encourage swallowing.
- Pilling your cat—and brachycephalic dogs
- Using your subordinate hand, grasp your cat’s head from the top with your fingers and thumb along their cheek-bones.
- Tilt your cat’s head back, which will cause them to open their lower jaw.
- Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger, and use your middle finger to keep your cat’s lower jaw open.
- Drop the pill as far back over their tongue as possible, close their mouth, and blow on their nose or massage their throat to encourage them to swallow.
Liquid medication should be given in the pouch between your pet’s teeth and cheek. Quickly squirt in the medication, hold their mouth closed, and massage their throat to encourage swallowing.
#3: Give every pet a treat
If you have multiple pets, gather them together, ensuring they know they are all about to receive a treat. Give everyone a treat, ensuring you give the medicated treat to the correct pet. Most pets eat faster when around other pets, to ensure their treat is not stolen. The excitement and commotion will distract your pet from realizing they are being medicated.
#4: Put your pet’s medication in a capsule
Certain medications have strong smells that offend your pet. You can place the drug in a gel capsule to mask the smell before hiding the medication in their food.
#5: Prepare your pet’s medication in secret
Do not let your pet see you hide the medication in their treat, because they are smart, and will refuse the treat. You can prepare several medicated treats in advance when they are not in the room, so they do not realize they are being medicated.
#6: “Drop” a savory treat for your pet
When you are preparing dinner, your pet may sit at your feet, hoping you accidentally drop a savory scrap. You can use this to your advantage by “accidentally” dropping a medicated treat during your preparations. Your pet will think they lucked out and not realize you successfully medicated them.
#7: Put your pet’s medication on their paw
You can mix powders and liquids, and crushable pills, with peanut butter and spread the substance on your pet’s paw. Cats especially will ensure every morsel is removed from their fur.
#8: Distract your pet
Take your pet for a walk or on a car ride, and give them a medicated treat while they are distracted by all the interesting sights, smells, and sounds.
#9: Ask if your pet’s medication can be compounded
Certain medications can be made in a different form that your pet will tolerate better. Ask your veterinarian if flavoring can be added to make the medication more palatable to your pet. In some cases, the medication can be formulated to be absorbed through the skin. Compounding is not an option for all medications. You can ask our veterinary professionals if this is an option for your pet’s medication.
#10: Ask if your pet’s medication can be injected
Some medications can be given as a slow-release injection, saving you from needing to orally medicate your pet.
Getting your pet to take their medication can be difficult, but hopefully, these tips can help you dose your pet without too much stress and drama. If you would like to discuss other medication options for your pet, do not hesitate to contact our team at Airway Animal Clinic.