If a dog is part of your
family, you’re aware that there are a wide range of medications and drugs that
involve various delivery systems. They include everything from topical, dermal
patches, oral, intra-dermal injections, solutions, drops, intranasal and
medicated collars to spot-on, creams, shampoos, dips and injections, just to
mention a few. The list is long and can be confusing.
While many medical conditions require different administrative avenues, co pet
owner medications, which occur on a daily or monthly basis, are slightly easier
One rule of thumb is to have your veterinarian or veterinary technician train
you to administer the medication your pet requires. Besides just placing a pill
in a small amount of dog food and then feeding it to you dog, you will learn
vital techniques to better administer medications in the event your dog is not
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to make the entire
administration process as positive of an experience as possible. This means
confidence, control, consistency, and a lot of praise.
Do learn from the pros
learn how to drive a car by having someone who knows how to drive teach us.
Veterinarians and staff are experienced in administering medication and will be
able to teach you the specifics to help make the experience as easy as possible
on you and your dog.
Do keep it positive
freak out when it comes to medication time there’s a good chance your dog will
too. Use soft, soothing tones, don’t make the process appear to be a big deal,
and heap lots of praise on your dog throughout. Your energy will dictate your
dog’s response. When medication time is over, spend a little time playing with
your dog’s favorite toy or going for a walk. The goal is to associate medicine
time with a good time.
Do get crafty
kinds of medications can be delivered through your dog’s food. Consider using
what are known as “pill pockets.” These are meat-flavored treats with a hollow
center that allows you to place the pill inside and feed to your dog. Also, ask
your veterinarian if any oral solutions you are administering can be mixed in
to store-sold gravies which can be added to your dog’s daily meals.
Do follow all directions
the medicine administration directions of your veterinarian cannot be stressed
highly enough. This is not the time for any of us to play doctor. One pill
three times daily doesn’t mean three pills at once because you missed the first
two dosages. Follow the directions to the letter…every time.
Do stay consistent
it can be easy to forget to take our vitamins in the morning, but we can’t
forget to give our dogs their medication as well. Get into the habit of
administering proper doses at roughly the same time each day. Setting an alarm
or a daily calendar reminder on your computer or smartphone will keep you on track
and give the medication the best chance of working properly.
Do not jump in a lake if you can’t swim
some medications can be hidden in food, others require skill to administer.
Don’t practice on your dog. Learn the proper techniques from your veterinarian
first, and then practice before you attempt at-home administration.
Do not change the rules
are created following years of testing to provide the exact properties and
dosages that address certain conditions so no diluting, modifying or adding
medications unless your veterinarian advises otherwise. If the directions call
for three drops in the eye that doesn’t mean two or five drops. If you have two
or more medicines you need to administer, don’t deliver them together to make the
process easier without first checking with your veterinarian about possible
Do not force it
fight or reprimand your dog if they are resistant at medication time. This will
only ensure the same behavior the next time. Your job is to make the experience
as pleasant and positive for your dog. Keep your dog calm and use treats, play
and praise liberally as rewards.
Do not guess
sure if your dog swallowed its medicine? Then err on the side of caution and
don’t provide a second dose. Your dog missing one dose is preferable to giving
it too much.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
some medicine into a pill pocket and feeding it to your dog is one thing.
Needing to administer daily insulin shots to your diabetic dog is another. If
you are hesitant or afraid of administering some forms of medications, then ask
your veterinarian for assistance. Most will be glad to have a staff member stop
by to administer the drug for you or help you practice so you can learn the
necessary skills yourself.
odds are that eventually your dog will need some form of medication. And while
there is a financial cost involved and it requires a little extra work on our
part, you should be thankful that you can help keep our dogs healthier, happier
and living longer than ever before.
like our dogs depend on us for food, shelter and exercise, they are also
dependent on us to make sure that health conditions are diagnosed and any
medications properly administered. So if the time comes for your dog to receive
medication, it should be approached the same way as other areas of dog
ownership – with love, patience and care.
Guest post by Pet Expert Steven May, CVJ