At some point in your pet’s life they will probably have to take some form of medication. Different medications have to be administered different ways, so here is a quick tip guide on how best to administer medications to your pet.

  • For liquid oral medication: hold your pet’s head in a neutral position, not elevated. Use a syringe or dropper, gently pull one of their cheeks to the side to create a pocket, and insert the syringe there. If your pet starts to gag, cough or struggles, step back and give them a break for a moment before trying again.
  • For solid oral medication: The easiest way to do this is to hide the pill in their food, a treat, piece of cheese or meat, or some peanut butter. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use a pill popper or hold their mouth open to push the pill in yourself. Be very careful when doing this however, as you could break their jaw if you are too forceful, or you could send the medication down the trachea instead of the esophagus.
  • For ear medications, such as ear drops: Grasp their ear and gently pull it up and slightly outwards in order to get better access into their ears. Clean the ear first, then insert the dropper and apply the necessary amount of medication, then remove the dropper. Massage the base of the ear so that all the medication is spread evenly.
  • Subcutaneous Injections: This includes medications like insulin for diabetic animals that is administered with a needle under the skin. Grab a small amount of skin on your pet’s right or left side, a little lower than their shoulders. Pull gently on the skin so that it forms a tent, and insert the needle into the “opening” of the tent. Administer the medication, withdraw the needle, and then massage the area for a few moments.
  • Eye medications: The most common forms of eye medications are drops and ointments. For eye drops, use one hand to gently hold your pet’s eyelids open, then use the other to drop the medication in. Make sure the applicator does not come in contact with the eye itself. With ointments, again gently hold their eye open, then place a small strip of the ointment on their lower eyelid so that it touches the skin while blinking.
  • If you have to give more than one eye medication to your pet’s eyes, wait several minutes in between each medication. Also, eye drops should always be administered before ointments, as ointments can prevent the drop from reaching the eye surface.

Giving your pet medications doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Use these tips, and ask your veterinarian if they have any good ideas when it comes to giving a certain type of medication. Good luck out there!

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