How to give oral medication to a cat or dog?
How to give oral medication to a cat or dog?

Veterinary visits often result in a medical prescription. And it is not always easy to give your cat or dog oral medication. However, it is important to comply with the treatment regimen in order to ensure its effectiveness. Depending on the galenic forms (tablet, liquid, gel, drops, etc.), administration will be more or less easy. Here are some tips!

Under what conditions should you give your animal medication?

It is important to give your animal medication while he/she is relaxed and preferably in a quiet place.

Avoid administering medication after physical activities or a game. In fact, the animal, out of breath, could choke.

Speak gently and consider rewarding him/her with a treat or a cuddle. Do not forget that your pet picks up on your emotions perfectly.

In case of difficulties, do not insist, it is preferable to start over at a more convenient time for you and your animal.

Giving a medication in tablet form:

More and more treatments are available now in tablet form (anti-flea, deworming…).

An increasing number of treatments are said to be palatable, which means, they are formulated in such a way that their smell and taste encourage the animal for an unprompted taking. They are also breakable and chewable making their administration easier.

Unfortunately, not all treatments are as easy to administer.

In these cases, use tricks rather than force. Hide the tablet inside food that he/she likes, such as a meatball, tuna or cheese. You might even try mixing medicine in their favorite treat. Though tablets can sometimes seem big for your cat or dog, do not worry, your animal’s esophagus is large enough to ingest it.

However, some animals are more difficult than others. The only way to give them medication is to slide it to the back of their throat. To this end, put your hand around the snout. With the other hand, open his/her jaw and drop the tablet into the back of his/her throat. Gently close his/her mouth and slightly massage the throat to help him/her swallow. When he/she has swallowed, your pet will lick his/her nose. Always praise your pet and stay with him/her for a few minutes, petting him/her to avoid making this a bad experience.

Administering liquid medication to your animal:

Oral drugs:

Giving medication in liquid, paste or gel form to your pet will often be easier than giving a tablet. If your pet does not usually eat everything in his/her bowl, it is best not to spread the liquid on the food because the treatment’s dose might not be taken. The effective method will therefore be direct administration into the mouth. Grab his/her head gently and tilt it up. Insert the syringe behind the right upper fang or between the teeth and the cheek. Give the liquid medicine gently in small amounts to let your animal swallow.

Other forms:

In case of otitis, your veterinarian will prescribe drops to instill into your pet’s ear canal. When the ear canal is very inflamed, it can be difficult because the animal will struggle. Do not hesitate to get help from your veterinarian or veterinary nurse.

For eye drops (collyrium), have your pet sit down and bring him/her closer to you. Use one hand to open the eyelid and the other to administer drops into the eye. Wipe the excess off with sterile gauze. Do not use cotton that could leave fibers near the eye.

If you have difficulties, ask practitioners to show you the best method for your animal.