Medicating Your Pet
Whether it is a monthly heartworm preventative or an antibiotic, a medication must be given properly for it to work. That is often easier said than done. Dogs and cats can be difficult when it comes to taking medicine. Ask your veterinarian or technician for advice if you have any questions. It is important to follow the label instructions given with each drug. Many liquid medicines need to be refrigerated or they will become ineffective. Suspensions need to be shaken well before given. Many antibiotics and pain relievers can cause an upset stomach, and so they should be given with food. If your pet is on more than one medication, find out if they can be given at the same time. If your pet has a reaction to a medication, make sure your veterinarian is aware of it. Luckily, there are often options for medicating your pet. If your pet is difficult to medicate, find out if the bitter-tasting pill can be specially compounded with a flavored liquid. Sometimes a capsule is easier to give because the animal will not taste the medicine. In some cases, a drug that is only given once daily can be used rather than one given two or three times daily.
No matter what type of medication you are giving your pet, the most important thing is to make the process as quick and easy as possible. This means having everything ready beforehand. Have the medication out, shaken if needed or measured out properly, and easily accessible. For most dogs and even some cats, most pills and tablets can be hidden easily in a treat. Cheese, bread, peanut butter, or a meatball of canned dog food are good places to hide a pill for your dog. It is important to make sure that only enough of a treat is given to hide the pill and not enough that the pet leaves some for later (or makes it possible for another pet to get it).
If your pet won’t take the medicine with a treat, then preparation is the key. For cats, using a towel to wrap your cat often helps to prevent getting scratched or bitten as he/she tries to get away. Holding the cat on your lap or on a table will give you more control of the situation. Hold your pet?s head with the nose slightly pointed up so that gravity will aid in the process, especially for liquid medicines. For pills, open the mouth and drop the pill into the back of the mouth, over the tongue. This will help to prevent the pet from spitting it back out. Then, gently lower the head while holding the mouth closed so your pet can swallow. Wait for them to swallow before letting them go. When giving a tablet or capsule to a cat, it is important to follow it with 2-3 milliliters of water to keep the medication from sticking in the esophagus and risking esophagitis. Alternatively, you may coat the tablet/capsule with a small amount of peanut butter to make it slide down better. For liquid medicine, hold the head in a slightly elevated position so the liquid doesn?t run back out of the mouth. Place the syringe or dropper in the corner of the mouth and give slowly so your pet can swallow normally.
Try not to become frustrated or stressed. Your pet will pick up on your mood. Reward your dog or cat after giving the medicine with some petting or a treat. If you still have any difficulties, contact your veterinarian for advice.
Animal Hospital of Waynesboro
1009 West Main Street
Waynesboro, VA 22980
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