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Having a sick furball at home can be stressful enough without the added difficulties of administering medications. Ill pets, however, often require medication. These pills and liquids do not smell like food to your pet's super-sensitive nose. So, your little animal does not know the medication will help or that it is even edible. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make medicine time easier on both you and your pet.
1. Always ask your veterinarian if your pet's medication can be taken with food. Sneaking a pet's meds into its meals is the easiest method. The medication, pill-form or liquid, will make the food smell funny to your pet. So, you will need to be smart about how you hide it.
If your pet's medication is liquid, mix it into a can of wet pet food. Begin by giving your pet a small nibble of food without medication. While your pet is hungry, mix the dose of medication in a small amount of food and give it to your pet. Never mix medication into a full meal because if your pet does not finish its food, you will not know how much of the dose your pet missed. It is also a waste of medication.
If your pet has been prescribed pills that can be taken with food, stock up on a variety of foods and treats that will easily conceal the pill. Think peanut butter, cheese, hot dogs, and canned food. Pet food companies have begun manufacturing treats with special pockets designed for pills. Be sure to vary the foods and treats so that they do not lose their appeal.
2. You asked the veterinarian, and your pet's medication cannot be taken with food. If this is the case, always have everything ready before you call your pet into the room. Arrange your pet in a comfortable seated position with its back to a wall (dog) or in your lap (cat or small dog). If the medication is liquid, your veterinarian should supply you with a syringe or a dropper. Using one hand, open your pet's mouth from above and tilt its head back slightly. Squirt the medication into your pet's mouth slowly so that it does not choke. Then close your pet's mouth until it swallows.
If your pet cannot take its pills inside food, then you will have to administer the medication by hand. You will want to follow the same steps as with liquid medication, but when your pet's mouth is open, insert the pill as far back in its throat without gagging your pet. Then close its mouth, massaging your pet's throat which will encourage it to swallow.
4. The most important thing you can do is to remain calm while giving your furry friend its medication. Animals can sense when you feel nervous and will react by feeling the same. If you act as if everything is okay and normal, your pet will also. So, remember to speak with a cheerful, calm voice, praise your pet, and offer up lots of medication-free treats after.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|