When you have a pet who needs to be medicated, your life can change in one of two ways. You can either add a simple adjustment to your routine, or you can have a daily struggle, trying to convince your pet that you’re acting in their best interest. Obviously, pets have NO idea that when we stick them with needles or try to trick them into eating yucky pills, that we are just trying to keep them healthy! Luckily there are a few tricks of the trade that can make medication time way easier on both pet and person.
Speaking as someone who worked in a massive inner city shelter clinic, and someone whose dog is incredibly difficult to pill, I can attest to the fact that these methods DO work! You just have to figure out which works best for your specific pet.
Firstly, when it comes to pilling a pet, there are a few things to try (and I would recommend trying in this order):
- Try to hide the pill in food. Find the stinkiest, most enticing food you can find (wet dog/cat food, pureed baby food, hot dogs, stinky cheese, etc.) and hide the pill in the food. This may be something you have tried in the past with no success – chances are the food just wasn’t enticing enough! Give this a couple of tries with different types of food, and hopefully you’ll find one that works. It’s always easier if your pet does the work for you 🙂 Always be sure that if you are using human food, there is no seasoning or spices, and it is 100% edible for pets.
You can also try grinding up pills into powder to mix into your pet’s food. Sometimes this tactic works better, and sometimes it backfires – it just depends on the pet! Always ask your vet if the pills come in a certain flavor to make them more enticing, and always ask whether or not it is alright to crush the pill.
2) Manually pill your pet. This may seem traumatic and scary, but I assure you, it’s not! It is WAY easier to successfully pill a pet with confidence, than to give it several tries because you are unsure of yourself. Your pet can absolutely sense your confidence (or lack thereof), and will feel more comfortable being handled if you act like you know what you’re doing. If you are not confident in your pilling abilities, ask your vet to demonstrate for you a few times.
It can also be helpful to shoot a syringe full of water down your pet’s throat along with the pill. You can buy needleless syringes on Amazon in bulk! Always pair the pilling process with a tasty treat so your pet can associate the experience with something happy. Before you know it, this will just become a part of your daily routine.
If none of the above works, ask your vet if your pet’s medication comes in a liquid form. Many pet medications are produced in liquid, rather than pill form for exactly this reason! Additionally, there are several medications that are produced in a paste form for transdermal application that can be applied on the inside of the ear flap. These forms of medicating are often less stressful for pets and their parents, and are just as effective in providing the necessary medication.
Having a pet who requires medication does add some complications to your life. However, once you figure out a routine, things will be just a new kind of normal! Additionally, it’s helpful not to have to worry about a pet with medical needs when you go on vacation. To make things even easier on you, Alexandria Pet Care employees all have professional animal care experience. This means that we are all well versed in the art of medicating pets (everything from birds to cats and dogs!). We are here to put your mind at ease, and ensure that your pet receives the very best care (both mentally and physically) while you’re away from home.