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Having Trouble Administering Pet Medicine? Check Out These 8 Genius Tips

Why is administering pet medicine so tricky?

At a certain point, one of your pets will need medication to treat an injury, prevent internal or external parasites, or manage a disease. But administering pet medicine can be challenging… but not impossible, especially once The Geeky Gecko gives you a few tricks of the trade.

You might be lucky and have tiny pills, or you may be stuck with horse-sized pills! Regardless, the pills are most likely not flavored. So, giving them may be arduous. No worries, though! We’ve got your back.

Here are 8 sneaky and not-so-sneaky tricks for administering pet medicine. Just be sure to talk to your vet first about how to offer a particular medication to ensure there aren’t issues with crushing tablets, giving food, or opening capsules.

Administering Pet Medicine
Photo by Gorodenkoff at Shutterstock

Ask your vet to formulate the medication into a liquid or tasty treat

Many commonly prescribed pet medications, like antihistamines, pain-relieving drugs, oral flea and tick preventatives, and antibiotics, are readily available as tasty chews and tablets.

But suppose the prescribed medication doesn’t have any flavor, and you’re having trouble administering pet medicine even when hidden in a tasty treat.

In that case, you can ask your vet about having the prescription made by a veterinary compounding pharmacy into an otherwise easier-to-give or more delicious form.

Just be aware that not all meds can be compounded. Among those that can, not all drugs can be made into different formulations, including flavored chews, liquid suspensions, or transdermal gels.

Use competition to your advantage

We all know what brawl can occur when we give treats if we have multiple dogs. Well, if this is the case for you, you can use this competition to your advantage when administering pet medicine.

After hiding the pill in one treat, hand out the treats to all dogs, ensuring you give the medicated treat to the one that needs it.

Due to the fact that some dogs tend to eat faster when they’re in competitive situations, your dog might scarf down their dosed treat so fast that they won’t know they’ve even taken their medication.

Just ensure the tablet or capsule doesn’t end up on your floor or in another pet’s belly.

Place it on the tops of your pet’s front paws

If your pet has been prescribed a liquid or powder, mix it with a small amount of “squeeze cheese” or peanut butter and spread it on its front paws. It’ll make administering pet medicine much easier.

Dogs and cats generally don’t like anything on their paws. But they adore cheese and peanut butter. Your pet will want to lick the medicated food off its paws and get its medication dose simultaneously.

Ask your pharmacist to prepare a liquid form of the medicine

Some medications already come in liquid form. But, if your pet’s medicine comes in pill form and your pet won’t take it, your pharmacist might be able to make a liquid suspension, and you can give your beloved fur ball instead.

You might also be able to crush up a pill and mix it with about a fluid ounce of water when administering pet medicine. Just remember to ask your vet if it’s okay to crush the pill first.

Administering Pet Medicine
Photo by Elnur at Shutterstock

Turn giving medicine time into a fun game

The idea of hide and preoccupy can work well with some dogs when it comes to administering pet medicine. Take out a few of your pup’s favorite treats, hiding the capsule or tablet in one of them.

Then, simply play a fun game of “catch” with your pup by throwing them a treat. They could become so focused on seizing the tossed treat that they won’t even notice when you finally toss the treat with the medicine in it.

Hide your pet’s medication in strong-smelling, wet food

For medications that aren’t flavored or those with a flavor your pet doesn’t like, hiding the tablet or capsule inside a treat is one of the easiest ways of administering pet medicine. Delicious treats for hiding pet medications are available at pet stores and many vet clinics.

But you can also conceal tablets and capsules in human and pet foods your cat or dog finds appealing. Peanut butter, deli meats, butter, cheese, and bread all work nicely to hide medicine.

You can also hide some capsules, tablets, and liquids by incorporating them into your canned pet food. Just ensure your pet has consumed the medication and didn’t spit it out after eating the food.

Some animals’ super-sensitive noses can tell when you’re hiding something in a treat, so strong-smelling, wet food is usually recommended. The food’s scent will hide the smell of the medication while it will still naturally appeal to your pet.

There are times, of course, when even mouth-watering treats can’t ensure successful dosing when administering pet medicine. One method you can try is to give a primer treat without medication, the “doctored” treat that has it, and finally, a “chaser” treat without medication.

If you have a dog, making a fuss over the treats to help create excitement helps ensure the hidden capsule or tablet will be consumed. For food-motivated pets that devour the treat but leave the meds, you can try holding two treats, one with the tablet and one without.

Give your pet the first one with the medicine inside while showing them the second treat without it. Usually, in their excitement, they’ll eat the dosed version quickly so they can have another one.

Buy some pill pockets

Alternatively, if you don’t like feeding your pet people food and are looking for a better and healthier option for administering pet medicine, you can try pill pockets. They’re typically sold at the vet’s office or your local pet store.

They consist of hollow treats in different flavors that can be filled with the medicine and closed. There are pill pockets made for capsules and those made for tablets. There are even a few flavors you can choose from, such as Peanut Butter, Chicken, or Hickory Smoke.

Administering Pet Medicine
Photo by Masarik at Shutterstock

When hiding the medicine doesn’t work

Even with all the games and disguises, some dogs and cats simply won’t eat a medicated treat or food. A liquid medication might be more accessible for you to give… but it also might not.

Sometimes, an injectable form of the medication can be given to your pet, or you can take your pet to the clinic to have the pill administered. As a last resort, you can always learn to “pill” your cat or dog directly.

Your vet or a veterinary technician can show you how to give the capsule or tablet. And if you find that putting your fingers into your pet’s mouth is not for you, you can buy a “pill gun,” which is a syringe-like device that lets you position the medication at the back of your pet’s throat.

We understand that administering pet medicine can be challenging and stressful for both of you, but it doesn’t have to be. A little bribery, trickery, and game playing can, as Mary Poppins says: “Make the medicine go down!”

What are YOUR thoughts on administering pet medicine? Have you had any issues? If so, please feel free to share your own tips and tricks with our readers in the comments below.

And if you liked this article, don’t leave yet! The Geeky Gecko has much more to offer you. For instance, we highly recommend you also read: Warning: If You See a Red-Collared Dog… You Might Want to Stay Away!

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