Administering medicine to your dog can be tricky. Like many humans, dogs generally do not enjoy taking their medication. Here are a few tips and techniques to help you painlessly administer medicine to your dog.
Like a good physician, adopt a pleasant bedside manner. Administer any medicine properly and positively. Always stay calm and affirming as it’s important for your dog to view this experience as something positive. It’s never safe for you to approach your dog aggressively. This will not result in a good experience for your dog and may even lead to hostility when administering medication in the future.
For oral medications
You can hide and/or crush and mix medication in food, have your dog’s medication compounded into liquid or get medication in ointment form.
To hide a pill in food
Choose a food that strong tasting, malleable (peanut butter, cream cheese). Serve your dog several different tastings of food so that they may not notice which sample holds the medication. With the medication buried and hidden inside the food, make sure to reward your dog for eating his/her “treat.”
To crush a pill in food
Before ever crushing medication for your pet’s food, consult your veterinarian as some medications should not be crushed.
Getting your dog’s medication in liquid and/or ointment form
Should your dog not accept medication hidden or crushed in food, ask your veterinarian about a flavored liquid alternative. If your pet doesn’t accept liquid medications, you can check with your veterinarian to see if medication can be made into a form that is rubbed directly onto the skin, which is called transdermal dog medication.
For eye drops or ointment
Make sure to hold your dog securely and if you can’t do this alone, ask someone to secure your dog while applying medication. It is most beneficial if your dog sits or is lying down. Next, clean your dog’s eye area before applying medication. Open your dog’s eye by gently placing your hand on top of your dog’s head, holding the upper eyelid open. Hold the medication at an angle above the eye and put the appropriate amount of medication into the eye. Be extra careful not to touch the eyeball directly. When finished applying your dog’s eye drops or ointment, allow your dog a moment to shut the eye and then massage gently.
For ear drops
Again be sure you hold your dog securely or seek help if needed. Always communicate with your dog in a stress-free and calming way. Gently clean your dog’s ear passage with cotton and then put the ear dropper slightly outside his or her ear canal. Be sure to not to insert the medication to far into your dog’s ear.
For subcutaneous injections
Subcutaneous injections takes expertise, so be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions after training. You will need a bag of room-temperature solution cooled in warm water, IV tubing and needles, and rubbing alcohol. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
Remove the port of the solution bag, usually located towards the bottom of the bag where you will connect the IV line. Next, connect the IV tubing to the bag of solution. Locate the clamp on the IV tubing and fasten the IV line to bag of solution. Now join the tubing to the solution and IV line.
The IV line, which is now connected to the solution bag, will allow you to monitor the flow of fluid. To assure the safe, steady flow of liquid, you can partially fill the tubing reservoir with liquid, which avoids air bubbles. Remove the needle without removing the needle cap. Put the needle on the end of the IV line and secure. Now, uncap the needle and loosen the clamp. Make sure the clamp is secure and recap the needle.
With alcohol, clean at the injection area, usually between the shoulders. Trim the hair around this area if necessary. Take the extra skin, uncap the needle fully into the skin and inject your dog’s medication promptly. Once you have injected your dog’s medication, put your finger on top of the needle, holding it in place where the needle enters the skin. Slowly open the clamp to the IV and let the liquid flow. Hold the needle into place and monitor the flow.
After administering your dog’s prescribed medication, clamp the IV tubing and remove the needle. Apply pressure to the injection area with alcohol to disinfect the area and prevent bleeding. You will notice a pouch of fluid under your dog’ skin and will slowly dissolve. If the bubble does not dissolve to some degree, contact your veterinarian immediately.