How to Give Your Pet Pills

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How To Pill A Dog; How To Pill A Cat

Often in our pet's lives we come across times when they need medication or we just want to supplement their diets. The trouble is that pets don't readily open their mouths and swallow down pills. It can even be hard to get liquid into them at times.

So, how does one pill a dog or cat? Let us start with dogs. Many dogs will willingly take a pill if it is wrapped in something tasty. Some hot dog or cheese or other such foods will hold a pill and the dog will often gulp it down, not even realizing there was something in there but food. I even saw special treat-like products in a local pet store with a hollow center, just for such adventures. Put the pill in the hollow and feed it to your dog.

Now, some dogs get wise to these tricks and eat the food or treat and carefully spit the pill back out. In these cases you will have to "give" the pill to the dog by coating it in something with a little slipperiness (butter or even soft dog food, etc...) and push the pill into the dogs mouth over the back of the tongue. If you don't get over the back of the tongue, the whole thing will be spit out for sure. The easiest way to do this is to put your thumb and a finger, each behind one of the canine teeth on the top (over the top of the muzzle) and then use your other hand's rIng & pinky finger to push down the jaw (over the lower front flat teeth-incisors) and quickly pop the coated pill which you have in your thumb and forefinger of that hand over the back of the tongue. Then close the mouth immediately. The dog should swallow. If not. blow a quick puff of air at the nose and this will often cause swallowing. Sometimes y ou have to hold the mouth closed a bit. Once you see a swallow-will be noticeable in the neck area-you have succeeded. This can take some practice and care must always be taken to not get bitten. You may need a veterinarian or technician to demonstrate to you if you have trouble.

There are also pilling "syringes" which have no needle, but a cut off and rounded end that you can put some soft canned food and the pill in and then pop it over the back of the tongue in a similar fashion. This saves you putting your fingers actually in the dog's mouth.

Capsules can be done the same, or if the contents inside the capsule are not bad flavored, the capsule can be opened and the contents mixed in food.

Liquids usually come with a dropper or syringe. The liquid is measured and then put behind the canine teeth on the side of the mouth with the head held slightly tilted back and the mouth held mostly closed.

All the above works for cats too, though they are more of a challenge due to their added weapons, called claws. It may be necessary to wrap kitty in a big towel-tight like a burrito- and then administer the medications, Also, putting the cat on a table that they aren't usually allowed onto can distract them enough to get the job done. Usually medicating a cat is a two person job, but the truly talented or lucky (who have that rare cat who just sits there and lets you do it) can get the job done alone.

Cats tend to not like anything put in their food, but you can try it as above. There are pilling syringes and pill treats made for them too. I did have one special cat who loved cheese so much, I could put a small pill in some soft cheese and he would gulp it down.

There are also, compounding pharmacists who can take pretty much any medication and make it into a liquid and flavor it with a preferred taste.

Those are the tricks I know. If anyone has other successful actions, please let me know and I will post them for others as well.

RECOMMENDED ENTERTAINMENT: The Chronicals of Narnia: Prince Caspian. A great story and really incredible animals.

Until next time,

Dr. Jan

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