How to give liquid medication to your dog
It’s the words you hate to hear from your vet, “you have to give them medication.” OH NO! How in the world can you get your dog to take that nasty medication? Thankfully we know some tricks to help make it easier on you and your dog. Remember, you vet is never going to ask you to give your dog medication unless it is necessary for their health. So if your dog has been prescribed medication, it is important to administer them. Antibiotics are very important to make sure you always give the full treatment. Not giving all the doses can hinder your dog’s recovery, which could require an additional course of antibiotics. Reducing antibiotic exposure reduces the likelihood of becoming antibiotic resistant.
Usually, liquid medication is easier to give than pills or capsules. But that does not mean that it is always easy.
Pro Tip: If your pet does better with liquid medication and your vet prescribes a pill or capsule, ask them if it can be dissolved into a liquid to make giving the medication easier. Not all pills can be dissolved, but some can. It is worth asking.
Giving the medication
- Ask your vet to give your dog the first dosage. This way you can see how they do it and they can give you some tips to help you deal with your specific dog and their issues.
- Start with a treat so the dog does not feel anxious.
- Fill the dropper or syringe and hold your dogs head still. Put the dropper in the corner of their mouth and aim the dropper to the back of their throat when you squeeze. Put at least 30% of the dropper into their mouth so it doesn’t squirt onto their face.
- Do not tilt their head up as this can cause them to choke on the medication. However, you do not want their head to be pointed down. So hold their head in a level position.
- Hold their mouth closed until they swallow.
- Stroke their throat or blow on their nose to encourage swallowing.
- Reward them with a treat immediately afterwards. You want them to feel like it was a positive experience.
- Do not go slow. The longer you take to give the medication, the more stressful on the dog. Give them the medication in a quick smooth movement. It is a good idea to practice the movements beforehand.
- If you are stressed out, your dog will be stressed out. So if you are anxious about giving the medication, your dog will pick up on that. Be relaxed, calm yourself. Go drink some tea and then give the medication when you are relaxed.
If your dog struggles, you may need to restrain them. It is a good idea to have another person hold your dog while you give the medication. Sitting on the floor and holding the dog in your lap or against your body is a good idea. Small dogs can be carefully wrapped in a towel to restrain them. Don’t wrap too tight and don’t wrap their head. If you are having too difficult a time, contact your vet and discuss your options.
Do not immediately restrain your dog, this can scare them or make them anxious. Try giving the medication first.