How To Medicate Your Dog
Medicine, oral, pills, capsules, liquids, topical, how to give, refusal, medicate, difficult, swallow, liquid, cream, lotion
How To Medicate Your Dog
Medicating your dog is one of those things that gets easier with experience. There are a number of types of medications you may be asked to administer to your pet-oral medications, either pills, capsules, or liquids; ear meds, eye meds, or topical medications.
Obviously, the easiest way to administer oral medications is to hide them in your pet's food or treats. This sounds good, but doesn't always work so easily-many pets can smell, taste, or simply sense the medication, and will refuse to eat the food or the treat. If this is the case, the best way to give a pill or capsule is to gently grab the pet's snout placing your thumb and index or middle fingers just behind his k-9 teeth, or the fangs, tilt the head all the way straight back-you'll now notice that once you reach a certain point, the lower jaw automatically relaxes, then with your other hand, holding the pill or capsule, pull the jaw down using your middle finger on the lower incisor teeth, place the pill inside the mouth, way back, beyond the base of the tongue, close the mouth and let the pet swallow. Sometimes, depending on how good your aim is-or isn't, you may need to give the pill or capsule a little push with your index finger. There are two tricks to induce the swallowing reflex-one is to gently rub the neck, and the other is to blow sharply right up the nostrils which will usually cause the pet to lick, and when they lick, they swallow.
Liquid medications are a bit easier. Here, the key is not to open the mouth and shove the dropper or syringe down the back of the throat. Firstly, dogs and cats hate this, and are likely to choke on the medication. The better way is simply to gently pull the cheek or jowl on one side of the mouth away from the teeth creating a little pocket, insert the dropper or syringe into the pocket, and administer the medication. You don't even need to open the mouth to do this. Pets rarely seem to mind, unless the medication tastes terrible. If you have a pet that hates to be pilled, try to get the medication in a liquid form, or have it compounded into a liquid.
Ear medications are a little easier to administer, but there are a few tricks to helping this process as well. Ear medications usually come as liquids or ointments, and some, usually the liquids, are dropped into the ear, while others, usually the ointments, are inserted via a long nozzle at the end of a tube or a plastic bottle. The real trick to making this process relatively painless is to get your pet used to having its ears handled using baby steps and lots of positive reinforcement. Start by merely touching the ear, inside and out, with your finger, praise your pet and give a small treat. Handle the ear a little bit more and more each day, always following with praise and rewards. Once he or she seems to be tolerating the handling, start inserting the medication-continuing with the praise. Most pets will tolerate ear medications fairly well.
Similarly, medicating eyes is not that tough, and the key is the technique and making sure your pet understands that it doesn't hurt. As with the ear, most eye meds come as drops or ointments, and are rarely painful. For drops, I recommend tilting the head as far back as possible so the eyes are pointing upwards, and, using the fleshy part of the side of your hand to keep the upper lid open, and your thumb to keep the lower lid open, insert the drops or ointment directly onto the eye. Try not to touch the metal nozzle of the ointment tube directly to the eye. With ointments, an alternative is to apply the small amount of the medication to your thumb, and with a single quick motion, rub your thumb gently over the eye to apply the medication. It sounds difficult, but it's actually quite easy.
Topical medications are the easiest, and whether sprays, liquids, gels, or ointments, you want to make sure to apply the medication onto the lesion, and not on the hair. Rub the medication in as per your doctor's instructions, and make sure to keep your pet away from the medication after the application-even using an Elizabethan collar if necessary. The best trick is to apply topicals just before a walk or a meal, so your pet will be distracted with something more fun than licking off the freshly applied medication.
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