Tips For Medicating Your Dog

When your veterinarian gives your dog a prescription for medication, does your heart sink? Is your dog difficult to medicate? Here are some tips that may make it easier for you.
1. Ask for a liquid alternative. Some medications are available in a liquid formulation and this can make it much easier to give them to your dog. Gently pull your dog’s bottom lip to the side, making a pouch. Use a syringe or eye dropper to slowly trickle the medication into the pouch. Make sure you do it slowly, so he has the chance to swallow it. The risk of using this method is that the liquid goes in too fast and he inhales it instead of swallowing it. If you take your time and wait for your dog to swallow the liquid before squirting in any more, he should be just fine.

2. Put the medication in his food or in a treat. This works well if your dog is a chow hound and eats whatever he is given. Some dogs are clever and will eat right around the tablet, leaving it sitting in the middle of his dinner bowl. To avoid this, hide the tablet in a little piece of cheese or hot dog and give him this before the rest of his meal. Alternatively, put it in a tiny part of his dinner and wait until this is finished before adding the remainder.
3. Pop the pill down the back of his throat. There are two ways of doing this. One involves putting your hand over your dog’s muzzle with your index finger and thumb on his upper canines. Gently pull his head back to straighten his neck. Have the tablet between the fingers of your other hand and open his mouth by using these fingers to pull his lower jaw down. Then, pop the tablet as far back as you can over the back of his tongue and hold his mouth closed. It can help if you stroke his throat to make him swallow, or even blow gently in his nose.
If you’re reluctant to put your fingers that close to your dog’s teeth, then you can use a device called a pill popper instead. The technique is the same but you just use the pill popper to hold the tablet instead of your fingers.
You’re unlikely to push the tablet too far and make him choke, because there is a flap over his windpipe that closes when he swallows.
4. Repeat injections by your vet. Some dogs just will not take medication by mouth and this is the only alternative. If his medication is available in an injection form then you can visit your vet daily for a shot. This is a much more expensive way of treating your dog, and it’s only suitable for a brief period such as a course of antibiotics. It isn’t suitable for long term medication.
There’s no need for you to stress over giving your dog his medication. Your vet can teach you how to safely give him a liquid or tablet so he gets the treatment he needs.
Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert, a vet and a freelance writer. Susan is able to share her expanded knowledge by writing articles on a variety of topics including health conditions as they relate to dogs.