Vet Blog

How to help a reluctant Pet Take Medication

July 13, 2023

It’s Not Always Easy to Give Pet Meds

Sticking your hand in an animal’s mouth can be a little daunting. Even doing mouth-related tasks like tooth brushing or administering medication can be a challenge if your pets aren’t comfortable having their mouths touched. It’s hard to explain to a wary dog or cat that the medicine is important, and sometimes, no amount of pleading or threats can persuade your pet that taking a pill or capsule is the right thing to do. Fortunately, Pet Doctor of Chandler has some tips and tricks to help you get your pet to take medication.

Understanding the Challenges of Medicating Reluctant Pets

Why wouldn’t your pet want to take medication? Sometimes, the problem is simply that the medication has a bitter taste. In other cases, your pet may find a pill too large or difficult to swallow. Pet medications generally come in pills, capsules, chewable tablets, or liquids, and if one type doesn’t work your vet may be able to provide an alternative. Remember to read all instructions carefully. Some medications are taken on an as-needed basis, while others, like antibiotics, must be given until all of the pills are gone, for full efficacy. If your pets need multiple pills each day, set up a schedule to ensure they’re taken correctly. Learn as much as you can about your pet’s medicines, so that you will be well-informed and know how to manage any side effects or adverse reactions.

Tips for Administering Medications

  • Make sure your pet is relaxed and in a good mood. You might wait until bedtime, take your pet for a walk, or play with your pet before trying to give the medication. You are more likely to be successful if your pet is feeling relaxed and happy.
  • Hide the pill. Let’s be honest: pets are less likely to turn down a treat than a pill. You can buy treats that serve as pill pockets, or hide the pill in some peanut butter, cheese, or a spoonful of sweet potato.
  • Mix the pill into your pet’s food. Unless you have been specifically told to administer it whole, you can probably open a capsule or crush a pill to mix it into some wet food. This works well for some pets who won’t swallow pills, but make sure your cat or dog eats the whole dish of food, to consume the right amount of medication.
  • Sometimes, you have to give the pill orally. You will need patience and practice to pull this off. Sit beside your pet, one hand between the upper and lower teeth, towards the back of the mouth. Then open the mouth gently and place the pill on the very back of the tongue. Hold the mouth closed and stroke your pet’s throat until he or she swallows the pill.
  • Properly dispense liquids. The same method can be used for liquid as for a pill, the difference being that you will angle the syringe toward the back of the mouth and release the liquid, preferably down the throat. Again, stroke the throat until the medication is swallowed.
  • Give lots of love. Plenty of petting, some snuggles, or a favorite treat or game after medicine time will help your pet feel more secure and less anxious.

Seeking Professional Medication Assistance

In some cases, it isn’t worth it to fight your pet over medication. If you are at risk of being bitten, your pet continues to resist you, or it’s causing stress in your relationship with your pet, it is better to ask for help from your vet. Your vet may be able to offer an alternative form of medication or give you tips on how to successfully give your pets the medication they need.

Pet Doctor of Chandler Provides Compassionate Pet Care

The most important thing to remember when giving your pet medicine is to be patient and compassionate, and call for professional help when you need it. Whenever you need help keeping your pet healthy, Pet Doctor of Chandler is here for you. At Pet Doctor of Chandler, we believe in providing quality veterinary care, with all-inclusive pet care services at affordable prices. We know you have many different options for veterinary care, so we provide comprehensive services, with a focus on compassionate care. Our friendly team is well-versed in all sorts of pet care, and we want to help your furry family members live their best lives. For veterinary services in Chandler, AZ, including spay and neuter services and dental care. To request an appointment or learn more about how we can help your pets lead healthy, happy lives, call (480) 681-6866 or contact us through our website.