How to Help a Reluctant Pet Take Medication

How to Help a Reluctant Pet Take Medication

Feeding the dogAside from the dreaded task of tooth brushing, many pet owners struggle with administering medications. Most animals don’t like their mouths touched, and there are times when no amount of treats or promises will convince a pet to take medication. However,understanding your options and learning simple tips for pills and capsules can be useful.

What are Your Options?

Oral medications generally come as a pill, capsule, chewable tablet, or in liquid form. If your pet is particularly resistant when it comes to swallowing a pill, ask the team at Schertz Animal Hospital if a liquid alternative is available.

Dosage is also important. Antibiotics, for example, must be administered until all pills are gone; otherwise, you risk decreasing their effectiveness. Pets who require multiple meds each day will need a schedule, unlike medications that are taken on an “as needed” basis.

The better you understand the prescribed medications, dosage, frequency, and possible side-effects, the more confident you will be when preparing your pet’s treatment.

Simple Steps to Help Your Pet Take Medication

  1. Choose a time when your pet is relaxed. While there may be certain requirements surrounding the medication, waiting for your pet to be in a relaxed state is a good idea. Try waiting until bedtime or going for a long walk or playing an energetic game beforehand.
  2. Conceal the pill. Delicious snacks are one of the best tactics at your disposal. To help your pet take medication, try hiding it in a dollop of mashed sweet potato or peanut butter. Some treats also serve as pill pockets. They’re typically small, which is great for pets who need to watch their weight!
  3. Crush the pill. Unless it must be swallowed whole, you can open up a capsule or crush a pill and mix it in with wet food. Just keep in mind that your pet will need to eat all of the food to get the entire dosage of medication.
  4. Learn to give pills by mouth. If you must give your pet a pill orally, practice and patience will be in order. Sit beside your pet and place one hand between the upper and lower teeth, towards the back of the mouth. Gently open the mouth and place the pill on the very back of the tongue. Close the mouth and stroke your pet’s throat to encourage him or her to swallow.
  5. Know how to dispense liquid medications. To help your pet take medication in liquid form, follow the same basic instructions for administering meds by mouth. Be sure to carefully measure out your pet’s dosage. Angle the syringe toward the back of the mouth and release the liquid. Stroke your pet’s throat to ensure all the medication is swallowed.

No matter which approach you take, don’t forget to give lots of praise. Consider rewarding your furry friend with a favorite treat, game, or snuggle. This will encourage a positive association with medication time.

Please contact us if your pet continues to resist or you’re at risk of being bitten. Some owners also choose to board their pets at our facility when medication is needed for a week or two.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns!