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Chinese Pug

Giving Medicine Your Dog

Giving medication to your dog doesn't have to be a battle if you follow these tips.





To give a tablet in food

Pick a strong-tasting substance that will stick to a tablet(or the food may be eaten and the tablet left) or something that will mix with a crushed tablet. Fudge,paté, cheese, sausage or cat food are all good choices.

Offer when your pet is hungry and keep the quantity small, so that it all gets eaten. You may be able to use this method even if the medication shouldn't really be given with food, but check with the vetfirst. Tasty hollow treats (or `tab pockets') are also available, so­ ask your vet or pet shop. If your pet is not fooled by hiding the tablet in food you'll have to give it by hand, but get everything ready where your pet can't see it (otherwise your dog may hide).

To give a tablet by hand

Ask someone to hold your dog's front legs steady, or try wrapping your pet in a blanket.

Grasp your dog's muzzle gently with your left hand (if you are right handed), positioning your hand on the top of the muzzle with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other

Tilt the head back so that the nose points at the ceiling, and push in the lips just behind the canines (the big`fangs'). The mouth should then open.

Hold the tablet between the thumb and first finger of your other hand. Use the other fingers of this hand to push down between the lower canine teeth to open the mouth further. Then pop the pill onto the tongue as far back as you can get it.

Close your dog's mouth and hold it closed until you have seen it swallow. Stroke the throat or rub the nose to try to stimulate swallowing. Praise your dog or give it a treat. It may help to coat the tablet with butter or margarine to make swallowing easier. You can also get pill `poppers' or guns, which are­ long thin tubes with a plunger that you put into the mouth. Pushing the plunger administers the pill.

To give liquid medicines

Draw up the medicine in the dropper or syringe. Open the mouth as described previously.

Place the syringe or dropper in the angle of the jawand administer the liquid slowly, allowing your dog time to swallow. Alternatively, pull out the cheek at the corner of the mouth, without opening the mouth, to form a pouch, and dribble the medicine slowly into this.

Stroke the throat to encourage swallowing. Be prepared for some of the medicine to dribble out (a second person can hold paper towels below the jaw) or for your dog to shake his head. Praise your dog or give it a treat. 

To administer eye drops and ointment

Have the drops or ointment ready with the lid off. Get your pet to sit, backed up into a corner of the room if possible.

Ask someone to hold your dog's front legs, or you can try wrapping your pet in a blanket.

Place your non-dominant hand (your left if you are right handed) on the crown of the head. Put your thumb under the chin and tilt the head up slightly.

Use the fingers of this hand to lift the upper lid, to keep the lids apart and stop your pet from closing the eye. Animals have strong eyelid muscles so you will need to be firm

Hold the medication in your right hand. If you are putting in drops, then put the number of drops prescribed by the vet right into the eye, being careful not to touch the eye itself.

If you are applying ointment squeeze a little out of the nozzle to start with, position this over the eye and squeeze again to lay a trail of ointment over the actual surface of the eye. Be careful not to touch the eye with the nozzle. Don't let your pet rub the eye ­ but give a treat.

Ear medication

The ear flap is only part of your dog's ear. The hearing apparatus is inside the head at the end of an L-shaped tube (the `ear canal') which connects it to the outside. This tube starts at the base of the flap where it attaches to the head, runs vertically down the side of the head, and then turns sharply inwards. To clean the ears or apply medication:

Warm the medication slightly first and have it (and cotton wool or tissue) ready, with the lid off. Get your pet positioned as described for eye drops.

Lift the ear flap with your left hand if you are right handed and find the opening of the ear canal.

With your right hand put the number of drops prescribed by the vet into this opening, put down the bottle but keep hold of the flap

Feel for the ear tube running down the side of the head and use your finger and thumb to gently massage the medication down the tube.

Wipe away any wax or excess medication that emerges

Release the ear flap, and­ your pet will shake its head.

The information on this website is for informational and educational purposes, and to provide you general pet information. It is NOT meant to be a substitute for professional veterinary care.