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Giving medication to dogs

Giving medication to dogs can be challenging and somewhat stressful for animals and humans alike. The old fashioned way used to be to force a dog’s mouth open and push a tablet in and hold the muzzle closed until you see that they have swallowed. These days there are much easier ways and this short article gives what we thing are some useful tips on how to do this with minimum fuss. In fact, done well, you can actually turn this into a really positive experience for your dog.

How to give a pill or capsule

My favourite method is to push the tablet into some cheese, then call your dog over in a way that they think a treat is in store. Make your dog sit, or any other command that makes them think they are earning a treat. Now say well done and pop the cheese/tablet into their mouth and have another treat immediately on hand to catch your dogs attention with. You will find he swallows the first one in preparation for the next. You can use this technique with soft cheese and peanut butter if you like, but I find them a bit messy.

If you still have problems and the tablets can be mixed with your dogs normal meal (check this with your vet). Then the best method is to crush the tablet with a pill crusher (see image to the right) to ensure none of the tablet is lost pill crusher and thoroughly mix in with your dogs normal meal. Its not a good idea to put the whole tablet in your dogs meal as you cannot be sure it has been consummed and dogs have an amazing way of filtering out tablets when eating. Just because the bowl is empty does not mean the tablet has been consumed!

If you still have problems, you may have to resort to the old fashioned method where you place one hand on the upper jaw and press the dog’s lips gently against the sides of the teeth with your fingers. With the fingers of your other hand, pull the lower jaw down and place the pill on the base of the tongue, far back in the mouth. You might find a Pill Gun helpful here, especially if you have a small dog. Be sure the medication gets to the back of the throat and not in the lipfolds or on the tongue where it can be spat out later. Close the mouth, return the head and neck to normal position, and blow on the dog’s nose or massage the throat to encourage swallowing. Any form of distraction (praising, stroking, treats etc) will also help to get the dog to swallow. Some people recommend squirting some water into the mouth with a squeeze bottle or syringe to further encourage swallowing and help the medication down the oesophagus.

How to give liquid medication

Some medications are available in liquid form, so make sure you tell your veterinarian if you have a preference. Gently pull the corner of the mouth away from the face to form a “pocket”. Slowly give a small amount of the liquid. Allow your pet to swallow before giving more liquid. Do not squirt all the medication into your pet’s mouth at once.

Applying Ear Drops and Ear Ointments

Firstlly clean your dogs ears with Ear Wipes To apply the medication, push back the ear flap and gently position the applicator or tip of the tube in the base of the ear. Discharge the number of drops or amount of ointment prescribed. Gently massage the base of the ear with your fingers to help the medication work its way into the ear canal. Excess can be blotted away with a tissue.

Applying Eye Drops and Ointments

Before administering eye medication, be sure the eyelids are clear of discharge with an Eye Wipe. Next, use your thumb and forefinger to open the eyelids. Gentle pressure often makes this easier to do. With your other hand, place the medication on the eye or the pink tissue around the eye. Your pet will blink and the medication will cover the entire eye. When applying medication to the eye, try to avoid your pet’s direct line of vision when approaching, and avoid touching the eye with the container of medication.