how to properly pill your pets

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Apr 05 2010


I think by now we’ve all seen the funny email detailing how to pill a cat (Step five is “After retrieving the pill from the goldfish bowl and the cat from the top of the wardrobe…”) but what are the easiest ways to get medications into our animals? Some pets are relatively easy, but for the cunning canines and feisty felines, there are a few different options to consider:

The Pet Piller: a long plastic tube with a rubber end and a plunger. Sounds ominous, but this cheap and cheerful device can help save chewed fingers! The technique? Secure the pill in the rubberized tip, open the pet’s mouth, push piller toward throat and press the plunger!

Pill Pockets®: manufactured by the same people who make Greenies®, these pliable little treats enable you to hide a pill inside their pre-formed pockets. Great for most dogs and cats; though some of the smarter pill veterans out there will still sniff out the trick!

Chewable medications: some meds can already be found in this format (e.g. Rimadyl® and Heartgard®) but others can be compounded into treats that your pet will readily chomp. However; with any of these “treat” medications be sure to keep them out of reach of hungry pets. Overdose of some of these meds can be fatal.

Liquid formulations: when some pets are difficult to pill, they can be easier to get liquids into. In fact some medications come this way, like the anti-inflammatory Metacam® or the antibiotic Clavamox (which also comes in pill form). Many medications can be compounded into liquids with pet-friendly flavors.

Transdermal medications: these compounds are applied to the skin of the pet and cross over into the blood stream. So long as the source of the medication is the same, the way it is applied is constant and there is a way to measure the effect of the drug (e.g. feline hyperthyroidism), this can be a very effective way of medicating some pets.

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