You come back from seeing the vet feeling a little relieved; your dog is fine, you just need to give them some medication! However, what seems so straightforward, becomes a great challenge: how do I manage to give my dog their medication without it being traumatic?
The first step to administering medicine to a dog is to stay calm. Speaking to them calmly whilst stroking them is the best way to convey trust.
It will be significantly easier if we have invested in their education, so once you have taught them to sit, it is also important that you get your dog accustomed to having their mouth opened, putting your hand inside, lifting up their chin with their mouth closed, touching their ears and giving them ear massages. If they see it as a game, then it will serve as training for when you have to give them some medication.
TABLETS, PILLS AND CAPSULES
One option is to prepare a ball of cheese or meat and “hide” the tablet inside it. If your dog pulls it apart and manages to push it away without eating the tablet, then you will have to put the medication directly into their mouth:
- Keep their mouth open, putting pressure on the side of the jaw and place the medicine in as far back as possible, on the base of the tongue.
- Then, leave the snout closed, with the chin elevated a little for a few moments to ensure that they do not spit it out.
- Once it ‘seems’ that they have ingested it, you need to follow the dog in case they did not swallow it properly and they throw it up in a corner somewhere.
You should always turn to a professional to apply this, or follow their personalised instructions.
SYRUPS AND LIQUID ORAL MEDICATION
These are the most straightforward to administer. It will be enough to use a syringe, obviously without the needle.
- Hold your dog firmly and keep their jaw open. Empty the liquid out of the syringe.
- If they close their mouth, you could raise a corner of their lip and create a gap to inject the liquid into.
- Keep holding their head up to help them to swallow it. Over the following few minutes, check that they do not throw it up.
To insert suppositories it is advisable to use latex gloves and daub a bit of Vaseline on the tip of the product so that it goes in more gently.
- Lift their tail and insert it with your forefinger, as deeply as possible.
- For a few seconds, keep the tail pressed against the anus so that they do not push it out.
CREAMS AND DROPS
Both ear drops and eyewash should be applied extremely carefully. In the case of drops and ointments for the eyes, you need to immobilise your dog’s head to avoid injury to the eyeball.
- Wash first with saline water, then lift the upper eyelid or lower the bottom lid.
- From above, and without touching the cornea due to the risk of damage, apply the drops or ointment. Close the eyelid and rub gently to spread the product out.
You should never give human medicines to a dog, because the consequences could be fatal. Aspirin and ibuprofen are forbidden, as they can be highly toxic.
Now you’re ready to give your dog the medicines that they need. They trust you more than anyone in the world: you’re their favourite person, don’t let them down! And remember that any doubts that you have about medication should always be referred to your trusted vet.