01 Sep How to Give Your Pet Oral Medication
If your pet needs some meds, the question that might come to mind is – how?! Some pets have no problems taking oral medications, while others might be a little more reluctant. Or, just completely refuse.
Medicine doesn’t always smell or taste good, even to humans. It makes sense that a pet, who doesn’t understand the importance of swallowing an unfamiliar object, might not be enthusiastic about the idea.
Learning the best way to administer medicine helps keep the situation low-stress and much easier to manage. Here are some top tips on how to give your pet oral medication.
Hide it in Food
It’s tried and tested, and most often effective. If your vet says the medication can be taken with food, then it makes things a lot easier for most pets. Try waiting until they are hungry, and choosing a treat they love. Ideally, you want your pet to chow down as quickly as possible before they realise there is anything else added. It’s important to check they haven’t been sneaky and eaten everything BUT the meds – some pets are better at this than others!
If you can mix liquid into food with a paste texture ( like some xylitol-free peanut butter for your pup) or crush the pills into something like mince, it might make it easier. Don’t forget to check with your vet first though. Some medication is designed to be swallowed whole, and mixing or crushing it can interfere with the benefits.
Make it Fun
As soon as things get serious, your pet knows something is up. It’s much better to keep things light and fun, and as normal as possible. Maybe try a usual training routine, or entice your pet with a treat (with hidden medicine surprise)! They’re much more likely to snap it up without investigating the contents too much. No matter what technique you try, keeping things breezy even when you’re frustrated will help your pet stay relaxed and less suspicious.
Unfortunately, sometimes our furry friends are just too clever to be tricked into swallowing something they don’t want to. Or else, perhaps you have a medication that can’t be mixed with food. In that case, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands. Start by gently securing your pet with a soft towel or blanket, and positioning yourself behind them securely so they can’t scoot away.
Gently tilt their head upwards, which should make their jaw open – or otherwise you might have to very gently manoeuvre their jaw open by placing your fingers in the gap at the back of their mouth. You need to place the medicine as far back on their tongue as possible, or in the side of their mouth for liquids. Cats in particular have fewer taste buds at the back of their tongue, so that can help counteract the bitter taste of some medicines. Very gently keep their mouth closed for a few seconds, with lots of cuddles and praise. If you stroke their throat it can help to trigger the swallowing reflex.
If all else fails, there are tools available to help make medicine delivery easier. You can talk to your vet or local pet store for more advice.
How to Give Your Pet Oral Medication
Remember, your pet doesn’t understand that it’s good for them, even though you know you’re only trying to help. It’s absolutely essential that you remain calm and sympathetic, and have lots of cuddles and treats on hand for once the job is done. It’s not an easy task with some feisty little furballs, and practice makes perfect. If you are still not able to give the medication, it’s always best to chat with your vet so they can help you ensure your pet gets the treatment they need.
At Castelan, we’re experienced at looking after pets with all kinds of needs, and we have 24/7 emergency vet help near by if it ever becomes necessary. If you’re going away, choose Castelan as your furry friend’s home away from home.