Giving dogs medicine

Not the same realm of challenge as getting cats to take medicine, but depending on what you’re trying to get a dog to take, it might require some tricks. In the past month we’ve given eyedrops and pills to cats, but we’ve given chewable pills, non-chewable pills, cough syrup, liquid stomach soother, honey, lemon and eye drops to dogs. Here are some suggestions:

  • You can buy official pill pockets but they’re unnecesarrily expensive. They do work well though.

  • We make our own version of pill pockets with cheese. Usually shredded cheese, at room temp. Just make it small - if you’re generous with the cheese and the treat requires much chewing, the pill might fall out.

  • Combine with hot dogs. There may be no greater treat than salchichas/hot dogs. We put pills in them, or pour medicine on them (e.g. cough syrup). The non-pilled slice is for Hannah, who takes no medicine but deserves treats!

Use small slices (so the pills don’t fall out during chewing). Soak slices in liquid/syrup meds.

  • Combine with butter, yogurt, milk, etc depending on the nature of the medicine. The liquid stomach soother Max needed for 3/day for 3+ weeks smelled strongly of mint and I was afraid he wouldn’t want it. But depending on the day he would take it with milk or kefir. Sometimes he needed a sprinkle of cheese on top.

  • Shove/pour into throat. It’s not fun, but when Booker is too tired to chew his heart med in the morning, Phillip can put it on the back of his tongue and it’s over quickly.

  • Smear in the mouth. Dogs will lick throughout their mouths/lips to clean off whatever you put there, so this is a good strategy for something like honey or a liquid.
  • Get organized. We might give out six medications per day, so we need to be organized. Especially if more than one human is involved, don’t waste time and anxiety figuring out “did we give him his morning pill?”

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