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Pill Administration Methods in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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At some point in their life, most pets will need to take oral medication. Administering that medication can be challenging.

The easiest was to give medication is to hide it in food. Some can be hidden in a small amount of food such as marshmallows, peanut butter or cream cheese but you must make sure that the medication can be taken with food your dog actually swallows the medication. Some dogs will eat the food and spit out the pill.

But what do you do with the finicky pet? You might like to try some other alternative method:

Pill Gun

The pill gun was developed in response to difficulties giving pills to pets. This device is a long thin piece of plastic with a rubber tip and a plunger. The plunger is pulled back to allow room for the pill to be placed in the rubber tip. After the pill is correctly placed, the gun is placed far back in the pet's mouth, the plunger pushed, and the pill is dispensed in the back of the mouth. Having the pill gun in the mouth will generally stimulate the swallowing reflex. A good thing about the pill gun is that the pet can bite all he wants on the gun. The gun will still work.

Oral Syringe

Liquid medications come with either an eyedropper or an oral syringe, with dispensing amounts written on the syringe. Usually, both teaspoon and milliliter are listed. Just draw up the prescribed amount of medication and administer with the oral syringe.

Even pill medication can be given with an oral syringe. Take the pill and place in a pill crusher (or crush between two spoons), place the powder in the syringe and add water. Shake the syringe to suspend the powder and give to your pet.

Pill Crusher

Pill crushers work well with medication that cannot be given in pill form. Most crushers come in 2 parts: The part that the pill sits in and the part that is placed on top of the pill. The majority of crushers have threads on the device. The top and bottom pieces are simply screwed together. As the top and bottom become closer and closer together, the pill is slowly crushed into powder.

Pill Cutter

Some prescriptions require only part of a pill or tablet to be given. In these situations, a pill cutter comes in handy. Some tablets do not have score marks, which makes breaking the pill in half with your hands very difficult. Using a kitchen knife can be dangerous. Pill cutters can safely and effectively cut a pill to the proper size.

Place the pill in the V section of the pill cutter base. The top of the cutter typically has a razor blade firmly attached. Close the lid on the pill cutter. As the lid is completely closed, the pill is cut by the razor blade.

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