Administering Medication

 

Liquids

For many people, giving liquid medication to a pet is easier than giving pills.  Keep a baby dosing syringe or eye dropper (both with measurements marked) in your first aid kit.  You can find these in pharmacies or in the baby section of grocery stores. 

*1 milliliter (ml) = 1 cc
*5 cc = 1 teaspoon
* 15cc = 1 tablespoon
* 8 ounces = 1 cup




Techniques
 
1.    Place the end of the eye dropper just inside the animal's mouth, where the teeth are shortest and flattest (just behind the canine teeth). 

 2.    Gently position the dropper above the lower teeth, or in the pouch between the gums and lower teeth.  (Placing the medicine over the teeth will result in less spitting of the medicine
than placing it in the pouch.) 

 3.    Slowly administer the medication, giving it no faster than the animal can swallow. 

Tip:    Never administer any medications unless they are prescribed by a veterinarian. 

Pills and Capsules

Techniques

 
1.    Hold your pet's upper jaw toward the ceiling by taking hold of the snout and gently pointing it upward.  This will cause the lower jaw to drop slightly. 

 2.    Gently pull down on the very front-most part of the lower jaw. 

 3.    Place the tablet as far back into the mouth as you safely can, in the center of the back of the tongue. 

 4.    Hold the mouth closed once you have the pill in it, until your pet swallows or licks their nose.  Sometimes, gently blowing on the nose or rubbing the throat will cause the animal to swallow. 

Pills can also be hidden in food, but you must ensure your pet does not eat the morsel and pit out the pill.  For dogs, peanut butter works well because it is sticky and tends to hold the tablet (Cats generally won't eat peanut butter.)  If the animal is vomiting or has diarrhea, hiding medication in food is not a good idea since it may stimulate vomiting. 

Wrapping a cat up in a towel so only the head shows may help you avoid getting scratched. 

Giving medication with the dog in a sitting position, backed into a corner so the dog can't get up, generally works best. 

There are also commercial pill "guns" available.  These are plastic tubes that hold the pill and allow you to place it in the back of the throat without putting your hands in the animal's mouth. 

Never attempt to give medications by mouth to an animal who is lying down, unconscious, vomiting, aggressive or seizing.