GIVING MEDICATIONS TO DOGS
All the medications you have been given for your dog are important. Be sure you understand how to give each one. If questions arise once you get home, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
First, check the label of your medication(s) for specifics such as whether it should be refrigerated and whether it should be given before or after meals, etc. It is important that you understand when to give your pet its medication. In addition to oral instructions given to you by your veterinarian, written instructions may accompany each medication. Unless otherwise instructed by you vet, start the first dose when you get up in the morning and space the other doses equally throughout the day until bedtime.
How to Give a Pill or Capsule
Have your dog site at your side. Place one hand on the upper jaw and press the dog’s lips gently against the sides of the teeth with your fingers. With the fingers of your other hand, pull the lower jaw down and place the pill on the base of the tongue, far back in the mouth. In Shar-Pei be sure the medication gets to the back of the throat and not in the lipfolds or on the tongue where it can be spit out later. Close the mouth, return the head and neck to normal position, and blow on the dog’s nose or massage the throat to encourage swallowing. Any form of distraction (praising, stroking, etc) will also help to get the dog to swallow. I also recommend following the pilling with squirting some water into the mouth with a squeeze bottle or syringe to further help the medication down the esophagus. This will prevent the pill or capsule from dissolving in the esophagus and perhaps causing irritation. Some dogs are easier to medicate if you put the pill or capsule in a small amount of canned dog food, cheese or peanut butter. Offer it to your pet and be sure he swallows it. Some pets will appear to have eaten something only to spit it out when you are not looking – a favorite Shar-Pei trick! Some dogs will get wise to the “meatball” trick and I will try the “shell game” – make several meatballs (cheeseballs) and hide the medication in only one. Offer an “unloaded” ball first and let the dog figure out there is no medication in it. Then offer the “loaded” one. Vary the number of treat balls and which one has the medication in it.
Administering Liquid Medication
Some medications are available in liquid form. Make sure you tell your veterinarian if you have a preference. Gently pull the corner of the mouth away from the face to form a “pocket”. Slowly give a small amount of the liquid. Allow your pet to swallow before giving more liquid. Do not squirt all the medication into your pet’s mouth at once.
Applying Ear Drops and Ear Ointments
Before administering ear medication, the ears may need to be cleaned. Your veterinarian may recommend a cleanser, or you can use moistened swabs. To apply the medication, push back the ear flap and gently position the applicator or tip of the tube in the base of the ear. Discharge the number of drops or amount of ointment prescribed. Gently massage the base of the ear with your fingers to help the medication work its way into the ear canal. Excess can be blotted away with a tissue.
Applying Eye Drops and Ointments
Before administering eye medication, be sure the eyelids are clear of discharge. Ask your veterinarian if special eye was is needed, or you can use warm water on a cotton ball to gently cleanse around the eyes. Next, use your thumb and forefinger to open the eyelids. Gentle pressure often makes this easier to do. With Shar-Pei with entropion you may consciously have to think about rolling the eyelids out. With your other hand, place the 1-2 drops or a tiny amount (1/8 to 1/4 inch) of ointment on the eye or the pink tissue around the eye. I often apply the medication to the white of the eye (sclera) when I pull the top lid up. Your pet will blink and the medication will cover the entire eye. When applying medication to the eye, try to avoid your pet’s direct line of vision when approaching, and avoid touching the eye with the container of medication. If you are giving several eye medications be sure to separate them by 15-30 minutes.
- Be sure to give all medication as directed by your veterinarian.
- Be sure that you understand whether you are to give the medication until it is entirely used up or for a specified number of days.
- Don’t stop medications prematurely.
- Be sure you understand how the medication should be stored and special instructions for giving the medication.
- If you have any problems administering the medication, contact your veterinarian.
- If the condition worsens or does not improve as expected, contact your veterinarian.
- Don’t stop medications prematurely if the condition improves.