Giving medication to your pet can be a challenging experience. Sooner or later it may become necessary to give your pet medication. Therefore, it may be wise to know a few “tricks of the trade” before hand. In some cases it may be easier to give liquid rather than tablet medication to your pet.

It is often easiest on your pet if the medication is given quickly and if possible without much struggling. In addition, coated tablets are helpful if the medication has a bad taste or if the liquid form is flavored. If your veterinarian says it’s all right to disguise the medication then most dogs like peanut butter and most cats like cream cheese. It may be best if two people are involved in medicating, one to hold or distract and the other to give the medication.

For dogs it is best if you gently but firmly place your hand over the muzzle with your thumb and index finger behind the large canine teeth. Next, squeeze the lips inward firmly as you raise the dog’s nose to the ceiling. The dog’s mouth should open slightly, enough for you to pull down the lower jaw with your middle finger of the opposite hand after you have picked up the pill with your thumb and index finger. Place the pill as far back in the mouth as possible as well as in the center of the tongue and push it over the “bridge”. Quickly close the mouth and hold the muzzle while stroking on the throat downwardly until he/she has swallowed. Of course your pet should get lots of praise for successfully swallowing the pill.

The technique is similar for cats; however, more assistance may be necessary. Wrapping a towel around the cat “straight jacket” style may be needed for the uncooperative ones. Cats seem to have much more of a narrow tolerance for forceful restraint compared to dogs. After you have opened the mouth, push the pill all the way to the back, close the mouth and begin stroking the throat. You may find that rubbing the nose or blowing onto the nose will help the cat to swallow. When giving liquid medication to your pet, point the nose to the ceiling as with the pill technique and introduce a small amount of the liquid into the cheek “pouch” while tilting the head away from you. Again stroking the throat and giving praise will make this a more pleasant experience.

As is the case with all medications it is important to follow the directions on the label carefully. If you should have problems or questions please call your veterinarian. Your pet depends on you to get better thus learning how to give medication is an important skill to master.

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