One of the toughest struggles any pet owner will experience is having to give them medication. Unlike children, pets don't listen to rational explanations and will often struggle especially when the smell or the taste of the drug is especially abhorrent to them. Below are a couple of tips to make medication administration to pets easier.
Hide it in food
One of my go-to techniques when it comes to giving medicine to my dogs is to simply hide it in food. When I had to give antibiotics to my lovable dachshund, I inserted the pill into a piece of hotdog, one of this favorite treats. He would happily chow it down with only a slightly sour expression on his face indicating that he did notice the pill but only slightly. Eventually, he started chewing any hotdog I gave him carefully, having realized there was something in it. The day came when he learned to eat the hotdog but spit out the pill which leads me to look for other methods of giving him his pills.
Hiding pills in food is an excellent way to administer medicine to your pets especially when they are still young. Puppies and kittens are curious about their senses, especially their sense of taste, and will gobble up anything they can get their paws on. Besides hotdogs, you can hide their meds in bacon, cream cheese, and any treats that your little pooch can't resist. If they keep spitting out the pill, you can follow it up by giving them another treat like peanut butter or chicken skin.
As for crushing pills and mixing them with their food, this is certainly something to consider. But crushing pills could decrease its effectiveness. It's best to check with your vet if this method is appropriate.
Giving Liquid Medications
In the years of being a proud pet owner to three wonderful dogs, I have only ever tried giving them liquid medication once, and that one I didn't have too much trouble with since they really like the taste of the medication. They all thought it was a treat.
But I am well aware that there are pet medications that your fur baby would never want to drink and it will take a lot of patience and perseverance on your part to make them drink them. If only our pets understood the rational explanation, our lives won't be as hard.
Unlike pills, you can't really crush liquid medications or hide them in treats. Administering it will require you to hold your pet a certain way so you have access to their mouth and make sure they swallowed the medication. It would be helpful if you have someone else to help you out. You can hold your pet while someone else administers the medication via a syringe or a dropper.
When it comes to giving liquid medication to dogs, kneel right beside your pup, the same side as your dominant hand. Then take your non-dominant hand and place it behind your dog's head. Place the dropper into the side of the dog's mouth, making sure it is near the back and as close to the throat as possible. Drain the dropper before releasing your dog's head. Give them a little throat massage to help them swallow the medication.
Administer while pets are distracted
There will be times when you will have a dog or cat that is rather fussy especially when they are being held tight. In such instances, it would be difficult when you give them any sort of medication where you'll need to restrain them. Many local dog groomers Boise have learned to give pets medications when they are distracted. You can follow this guideline.
- First, ensure that your cat or dog never sees the medication or is watching you when you are preparing the medication.
- Wait until they are sleepy to give them the medicine. At this point, they won't fight or struggle as much or notice that something is going on. This tip might be more effective on dogs than on cats.
- If it is possible, you can distract your pet with a new environment as you are giving the medicine. You can take your dog to the park and they won't notice that you've given them a pill or a dropper of medicine.
- You can also give them medicine while they are eating. Take note, this is only possible if the medicine is not liquid. Giving cats their ear drops while they are focused on their cat food will mean they won't be bothered as much.
- Finally, you can give pets a treat after giving them their medicine to trigger the reward signal and will make them more eager to accept their meds if they know they will receive something afterward.
Two of my dogs are quite competitive with one another. If someone is receiving scratches, the other one will inevitably push his way into your hands too. I've used this dynamic to my advantage and it has worked quite well when it comes to giving them their pills, especially when they've grown wary about inserting it into treats.
What I do is wrap or insert a pill into one of the treats I'll be giving to them as a reward. First I give a command to my non-medicated dog and reward them the treat with no medicine for following the command. I do the same thing with the dog that needs the medication and gives him the medicated treat as his reward. It works wonders. The fact that the other dog got a treat is more than enough to make him eat the treat even when the taste is a little bit off.
Use compounding pharmacy
When all else fails, you can use a compounding pharmacy to help medicate your pet. They take the prescribed medication and change its taste into something the patient can tolerate. This is typically done with drugs that have a foul smell or taste. It works on humans as well as for pets. However, not all medications can be made to taste better.
For pets, a compounding pharmacy can change the taste of the drugs into something they will enjoy such as chicken, fish, beef, or fruits. It's also possible to change pills that are hard to swallow into liquid or gel form.