Tips on How to medicate your pet

how to medicate your pet

After having a sick visit with a pet what two things do you think most pet owners worry about? One may be the final cost of the visit when they get up to the front desk, another is how are they going to medicate their pet? Is this what you as a pet owner worry about? Do you worry about how to medicate your pet?  Fortunately, there are many options that can help make sure your pet gets the medication they need.

Techniques on how to medicate your pet

Many people are unaware of how to pill their pets. It does require some technique and out-thinking your pets. To know what best would work for your pet you have to be aware of their behavior. Is your pet food motivated? Is your pet laid back ? Is your pet stubborn where they will fight you tooth and nail if you attempt to give them a pill?
Food motivated pets
If your pet if highly food motivated then food is a good way to get your pet to take medication. Even with the most food motivated pets there are still common mistakes that owners make when trying to give their pets medications. One is to put the medication in food when medicating. This may work fine if your pet eats the food rather quickly. But many owners complain that their pets eat around the pill. Here are a few tips to maximize using food when figuring out how to medicate your pet.

  • When possible give your pets their medication during normal feeding times to make sure they are hungry
  • If using their food to administer medication, try putting the medication in meatballs made from the food instead of their  food dish.
  • If using meatballs or any other food to administer medication, offer a few pieces without the medication first then offer with  the food. This will make them less suspicious. There is also a product called Pill Pockets that can aid in giving pills as well.

Pilling your pet
If your pet is laid back, then learning the technique on how to medicate your pet would be helpful. To pill most pets you can gently grab the top portion of your pet’s mouth with your less dominant hand. Then use the finger of your dominant hand to gently open the mouth by pushing down on the bottom jaw.  Place the pill or capsule on the back of the tongue and gently press down. This will initiate a swallow reflex. You may also may need to hold the mouth closed and rub the throat until your pet swallows. Again this technique may only work on the most laid back pets or if you are very good with your technique from practice.

how to medicate your pet

Other options if  unable to medicate your pet

The all mighty pill gun
The pill gun can help in pilling some of the most difficult pets. It allows you to take a pill and basically “shoot” it in the back of the throat stimulating a swallowing reflex.  This device may still take some practice to use.
Injectable medications
For a pet owner that finds it impossible to give their pet anything by mouth there are long lasting injections available. Injectable medications can replace oral medications by a pet just receiving an injection at the veterinarian’s office. Medications available as injections include antibiotics, steroids, and heartworm preventatives.

Transdermal medication
These allow for easy administration of many medications. It just requires applying the set dose of medication to the inner surface of the ears. From there the medication is absorbed through the skin. Some common medications that are available in this form include thyroid medications for cats, anxiety medications,  and cardiac medications.
Topical medications
For this discussion when I refer to topical medications, I am referring to medications when applied to the skin they have a long lasting effect. Topical heartworm preventatives are the most relevant for this discussion and are a great option for those who having difficulty giving meds by mouth. The most popular topical heartworm preventatives are Advantage Multi and Revolution.

Final thoughts

As you can see there are many options available on how to medicate your pet. So if your pet is laid back, or an absolute terror for medications, there is likely some form of medication that can work for them.

3 thoughts on “Tips on How to medicate your pet

  1. Very good tips.
    There was once I medicate my dog. No problem at all as my dog loves to eat. 🙂
    I just mix the pills together with his favorite food and then he just finished the whole bowl.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I didn’t know a lot of these options were available. I have an aging dog that is starting medication soon. I will have to see how he reacts to it first before seeing if I need to try a different method.

  3. Wow, I had no idea that you could use a pill gun to help get a pill down my dogs throat. I think I will try that gag reflex pill technique. My dog is really chill and relaxed. I am sure she will be okay with me grabbing her snout.

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