It’s not always easy to get your pet to cooperate when giving them oral medication.
Just as people occasionally need to take oral medication to fight off infection, treat sickness or prevent disease, pets also need oral medication from time to time. Regardless of the reason why you are giving your pet medication, the process isn’t easy, and the fact that your pet doesn’t understand why you are trying to shove a pill down their throat doesn’t make it any easier. Here are some tips from our veterinarian to help you give your pet oral medication successfully:
#1. Hide it in food.
If it’s safe to give your pet their medication with food, the easiest way to give your pet a pill or a capsule is to hide it in something they really love to eat. For many pets, wet food makes the perfect hiding place for medication. This is especially true if wet pet food is a rare treat in your home. There are even some treats that were made especially to hide pills in. Unfortunately, some animals will sniff out the medication and eat around it, and if that’s the case, this method probably won’t work for your pet.
#2. Crush it or break it apart and sprinkle it on your pet’s food.
Some capsules can be pulled apart and some tablets can be crushed, making it easy to mix the medication in with your pet’s food. However, before you pull apart a capsule or crush a tablet, ALWAYS consult your veterinarian. Some medications contain a coating that is medicated or are designed to release slowly over time.
If hiding the medication in your pet’s food doesn’t work or the medication cannot be crushed or broken apart, you may have to put the pill in the back of your pet’s mouth and make them swallow it manually. Keep in mind that, if your pet is sick or injured, it could change their behavior, putting you at risk for getting bit, but you can protect yourself by sliding your pet’s lips over their teeth. Here are the steps for giving your dog a pill manually:
- Start by holding the medication between your index finger and thumb.
- Grasp your pet by the upper jaw, and gently tilt their head back with your other hand.
- Use your middle finger to carefully pry the lower jaw open.
- Keeping the middle finger on the incisor, place the pills as far back on the tongue as you can.
- Immediately close your pet’s mouth and place a hand over it.
- Massage the throat or blow into your pet’s nostrils — this encourages them to swallow. You could also squirt water into their mouth with a syringe to encourage them to swallow.
Still having trouble getting your pet to swallow medication manually? Try using a pill syringe. A pill syringe is a tool that will allow you to place the medication in your pet’s mouth and reduces the risk of them spitting it out.
Don’t forget to ask your veterinarian for advice!
While these general tips may help you successfully give your pet the medication they need, you can always ask our veterinarian for further assistance. We are located in East Meadow, but we serve Levittown and the surrounding areas. Contact us today.