The simplest way to give medicine to your dog is to hide it in food. Hollow dog treats are commercially available, but hiding a tablet in a piece of meat or bread, especially if coated with peanut butter, works just as well. Always check with your vet first, however, since some foods should not be given with certain types of medicine.
If these sneaky methods do not work with your dog, you will have to give the pill directly by mouth. Do not try this if you think your dog may bite. If you have a boisterous dog, you may need to hold it between your legs, with your knees behind its shoulders.
If giving the pill directly proves impossible – which it can be, especially with some smaller breeds – contact your vet: the medication may be available in liquid form, and can be syringed into your dog’s mouth.
Giving liquid medicines
Administering liquids requires a different technique to giving a pill:
- Hold the upper jaw as you would for giving a pill, but keep the head level, rather than tilting it upwards;
- Tip or squirt the medicine into the side of the mouth between the teeth, never into the back the throat, because it could go down the windpipe;
- Close your dog’s mouth and rub its throat until it swallows.
Certain conditions may require you to administer medicines into a dog’s eyes. To apply eye drops:
- Remove any sticky eye discharge from the eye and surrounding skin using a cotton pad soaked in warm water or eye wash solution;
- Hold your dog gently with one hand, and, with the other, bring the drops or ointment towards its eye from behind;
- Squeeze the medicine into the eye from above, making sure that the container does not touch the eye;
- After applying ointment, hold the eye closed for a few seconds ï¿½ your dog’s body temperature will warm the ointment, helping it to disperse.
Giving an injection
In certain circumstances, you may need to give injections at home. Giving injections should only be attempted after discussing the procedure fully with your vet. Although it sounds daunting, giving an injection is quite straightforward ï¿½ simpler in many ways than giving medicines by mouth. To give an injection to your dog, follow these steps:
- Draw the medicine into the syringe, tap it until any air bubbles rise to the top, and then expel the air by squeezing the syringe until the first drop of medicine emerges from the needle;
- Hold your dog and, while speaking calmly to it, grasp the relatively insensitive fold of skin on the neck between the shoulder blades;
- Insert the needle through the skin into the tissue just underneath, but above the underlying muscle;
- Carefully expel the contents of the syringe, and remove the needle.