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Medicating Dogs and Cats – How to Simplify the Process

September 23, 2015

We have access to numerous, effective medications and supplements to help alleviate what ails our pets.  But let’s be honest, sometimes giving our pets these treatments can become cumbersome or stressful.  We can forget doses of medication because of our busy schedules or we start feeling anxious about giving the treatment because it becomes a wrestling match.  So here are some suggestions on how to simplify the process, ensuring our pets are getting what they need, when they need it.

Food: Food can be an excellent way to hide medications for both cats and dogs. Of course you will have to tailor it to your pet’s palate.

Suggestions: Canned dog food, canned cat food, peanut butter, cheese, butter, marshmallows, honey, lunch meat, a chunk of meat or fish, braunschweiger (liver pate), hot dog

Flavored tabs/chews: When possible, choose a medication or supplement that is already formulated into a flavored tablet or chew.

Examples include: Heartguard (heartworm prevention), Nexgard (flea/tick prevention), Dasuquin (canine joint supplement), Cosequin (feline joint supplement), and Rimadyl (canine anti-inflammatory).

Pill pockets: Some cats and dogs will take their medication in a pill pocket.  It is a soft, flavored, moldable treat in which you can tuck a capsule or tablet.

Sustained-release treatments: For some afflictions, there may be an option to choose a longer-acting, sustained release therapy requiring typically one administration rather than multiple administrations.

Examples: Convenia (antibiotic injection), BNT (ear medication), Depo-medrol (steroid injection)

Compounded medications: With the cooperation of a compounding pharmacy, many medications can be made into more “user-friendly” formulations such as flavored liquids, ear gels, and flavored tabs.

Pillers: A piller is a long, plastic device that allows the medication to get to the back of your pet’s throat without putting your hands directly in your pet’s mouth, avoiding the risk of injury.

Towel strategies: The use of a towel can be very handy, especially in cats, to keep their bodies still while you are trying to give them a medication or treatment.

Pill boxes: Purchasing pill boxes can boost compliance by having an entire week’s medication all ready-to-go

Reminders:  Even if we have our technique mastered for giving a medication or treatment, it only means something if we remember to do it!  It can be become easier to forget treatments done on a semi-regular basis.

Suggestions: Mark your Calendar, set a reminder on your computer or phone, sign up for reminders through Merial (the makers of Heartguard), or download one of the several apps designed to remind you about giving or taking prescriptions

If you are having any difficulties in effectively treating your pet’s health condition, please feel free to contact us for further guidance.


Written by: Dr. Jen Seidl

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