Your dog is your pride and joy – you would do anything to keep him happy and healthy. That is why a sick pup can be so disheartening on your, because no one wants to see their pet companion suffer with an illness or disease. Luckily, medical advances for dogs continue to make strides and today it is widely acceptable to treat your dog for any number of ailments, including thyroid disease, diabetes, and arthritis among many other conditions. This is great news because it means you can help maintain your dog’s health and any negative side effects with medicine – if you can get your dog to take it…
If you grimace at the thought of winning the battle of getting your dog to consume his medicine you are not alone. Many people have similar expectations, but do not fret as there are some tricks of the trade to help conceal the medicine which makes a big difference when trying to slip your dog his needed medications. So take a deep breath and relax as you read on about some simple, pain-free techniques to administer your dog’s medicine.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
If you have a young pup, you can begin training your dog to allow you to administer a “treat” into his mouth before meals. Simply train your dog to open his mouth, and place a delicious treat on the back of his tongue and close his mouth. By starting young you are getting your dog accustomed to this delivery method which will make it much easier to give him medication in the future. If your dog is older, you can still work on this technique, but it may take longer to master.
2. Side-By-Side Delivery
If you have a pill or liquid to give to your dog, sit next to your dog (facing the same direction) and let your arm wrap around your dog’s back. Use this hand to help open your dog’s mouth enough to either place the pill on the back of your dog’s tongue or drop the liquid in. Then you help your dog close his mouth to encourage swallowing. Keep his head level verses tipping it back.
3. Hiding Medication
What your dog does not know, will not hurt him. Right? If your pup refuses to take his medication, try burying it in his food or a delicious treat. The best choices are foods that are soft and can be molded around the medication. Your best bet is to give a few of the treats using the placebo effect. Give your dog a few bites of his special treat or meal without the medication and then slip him the medicated treat, and follow with more treats. Be sure to give your dog a lot of love and praise for consuming his medication. If hiding a whole pill doesn’t work you can try crushing it. Some medication has the ability to be crushed into your dog’s food to be even less conspicuous. Make sure you speak with your veterinarian or pharmacist to make sure the medication does not have special coating, usually designed to help aid in digestion. If the pills do not have a special coating crush away and mix with your pups favorite treat.
4. Flavored Medicine
If your dog cannot be easily fooled with pills hidden in his food, you can always see if there is a liquid option that your veterinarian pharmacist can flavor. Flavors have come a long way and you would be surprised at the options available and how good they actually taste!
5. Apply It
If none of the above tips help you achieve your goal of getting your dog his medicine, it may be best to see if the prescription or medication is available in a topical form. This would allow you to rub the medication in via your dog’s skin, just another way modern pet medication has made significant advances!
The best advice when giving your dog medication is to remain calm and positive. Dogs can sense when people are uptight and nervous and can even feed off of the negative attention in a not-so-positive way. So the more you stay positive, the better experience you will both have.
Dr. Susan Wright is a veterinarian, author and a dog bark collar expert who enjoys writing articles with dogs as the primary subject matter