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How to administer oral medications to dogs

Oral medications for dogs

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Most dog owners will inevitably come across the situation where they have to give their dog medication to treat a condition during the dog’s life.

As with their human counterparts, most dogs naturally dislike being forced to swallow any type of medication, so what is the best way to give a dog an oral treatment?

We’ve come up with six ways to accomplish the sometimes difficult task of getting your pooch to take their medication, without the fear of getting snapped at by your dog:

1. Inserting into the mouth by hand

This is the quickest method of administering oral tablets to dogs.  Tilt your dog’s head upwards and insert you thumb and index finger behind the upper jaw behind the canine teeth, which will cause your dog’s mouth to open.  This will allow you to insert the tablet into the back of its mouth as far as possible.

Then remove your fingers and hold your dog’s mouth closed for a few moments and blow on its nose which will force it to swallow in response.  However, blowing on its nose is unpleasant, so do not do this on more agressive dogs.

2. Hidden in food or treat

The easiest way of giving tablets to dogs is in their food.  Most dogs will not realise the medication has been hidden discretely within their dog food and will happily eat it.

In some cases you may be able to crush the tablet and then add it to the food, however check with your vet as some medications are less effective when crushed.  Try hiding the tablet inside your dog’s favourite snack, or dip it inside honey, peanut butter, or any food that will coat the tablet in a delicious taste.

3. Use a ‘Dog Piller’

A device used to administer tablets and capsules, and designed by veterinarians, this is an ideal way to give your dog the medication it needs, as well as protecting your fingers from being bitten by an aggressive dog!

Available at most major pet stores, the pet piller (or pill popper) is a plastic plunger with a soft rubber tip that makes giving oral medications a breeze.  Place the tablet inside the tip and place the plunger into your dog’s mouth, push the plunger and the tablet will drop to the back of its mouth.

Similar to giving medication by hand, hold your dog’s mouth closed for a few seconds until the dog swallows the tablet.

4. Pill Pockets

Pill Pockets are a tasty treat that have a built-in pouch that’s perfect for hiding tablets and medications. The pocket masks the medicine, making it an easy and stress-free way of giving tablets to dogs.  They come in a range of flavors to choose from.

Some are also an excellent source of vitamins to complement the medication to promote a healthy immune system.

5. Liquid Medication

If you need to administer medication in liquid form, you’ll find this is slightly easier than tablets or capsules.  To do this pull the dog’s front lower lip away from its teeth to form a cavity where you can squirt the liquid medication into.

As with solid medication, ensure that you hold your dog’s mouth closed for a few seconds so that it spreads into the mouth.

Check with your veterinarian to see whether the liquid medication is suitable for adding to your dog’s food.

After you’ve administered the medication, reward your dog with a small treat.  This will create a positive association between giving them medication and receiving a treat.

As with all pet medication or health treatments, ensure that you follow the directions and instructions printed on the label of the product.

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Categories: Dogs, How to Tags: , ,
  1. mona
    July 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for thIS informative article…keep up the good work!

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