Dog Care – Giving Oral Medication

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 33,771
    Dr. Candy Olson demonstrates how to care for your dog and give your dog oral medication.

    Candy Olson

    Dr. Candy Olson graduated from veterinary school in 1978, and has been working as a small animal veterinarian ever since. She started her own practice, Greenbriar Animal Hospital, in Fairfax, Virginia in 1993 with a goal to providing a very personal level of service, like an old fashioned family doctor’s office. The hospital has grown into a busy 2 doctor practice with a full time dog and cat groomer. The practice and Dr. Olson have received several awards for top quality service to her patients and their owners, but what she enjoys the most is fine tuning the day to day care of her patients, and helping their owners cope with medical and behavioral issues that pop up in today’s lifestyles. Dr. Olson is particularly interested in the care of geriatric pets and in pets with multiple medical and/or behavioral problems. She keeps her veterinary knowledge current by reading more than 8 veterinary journals every month, and by attending more than 80 hours of continuing education meetings each year (Virginia requires 15 hours per year). She also serves as a mentor for student veterinary technicians and high school students interested in veterinary medicine. Her hobbies include gardening, travel, and photography (photography is an extended family hobby). Some of her photos and some of her family’s photos are framed and on display at the animal hospital.

    Hi, I am Dr. Candy Olson from Greenbriar Animal Hospital. We're shooting a video with tips on how to take care of your dog at home. This particular section is on ideas and tips and information on how to give oral medicine to your dog, pills and liquid. This is Rory; he is going to be helping us out here. Then we have a bunch of supplies here and things that we are going to be showing you. This is a pill treat, just a minute Rory, it's meant to, he really likes these, so this may be a little tough to show you. See there is a little hold in it and what you're supposed to do is put the pill in kind of mush the treat around it and then he just scarfs it up. You want to give him little plain one first without the pill in it, just in case they don't like it or they are little weary. Because if they find anything funky in it, they may stop and go, uhh, I don't think so. Also, not all dogs like the pill treats, if he doesn't like, I mean you got a pill that's in there and all gooey that you're going to have to waste. So that's always a good idea. There are two other ways, three other ways actually to give pills to dogs. One of them is to just open their mouth and plunk it in. The important thing with that is that you want to get that pill and you know it's little. You want to get that pill in the very back of the dog's throat otherwise they are liable to spit it out at you. So what you want to do is -- and you just stick it back as far as you can. Did it go down? Oh, good boy. You really can't see back there for most dogs, and most dogs are not going to hold still long enough so that you can actually open up and look and see. But the idea is you just stuck your hand back there as far as you can get. This is a pill which has a soft tip on it and it's got a little spot here so you put the pill in there inside that little soft rubber slip and then when you push this up, it pushes it out. Now, I am not actually going to put a pill in here because he already had his dose as we don't want to give him extra, but what you do with this, and if you are using one of these I recommend you practice with it a little bit first so you don't feel too clumsy with it, because you are going to want to stick it his throat and then you are going to push that plunger. So Rory, we'll get you some more in just minute. I know. What you can do with this, is just kind of hold it here and tease the mouth a little bit and see how he just opened it. You just slip it back in there. Almost any dog will do that. If they won't open their mouth for you, you can put a little bit of butter or something like that on it, and they go Ooo and start licking and you can just slide it in. Since it has got a soft tip, hang in there, I'll get you more in a minute. You don't have to worry about it hurting him, if that goes all the way back to his throat. Now there is one other way to give a pill to a dog and that's by crushing it and mixing it with food. If your veterinarian says that's okay, some pills taste really bad and others can't be given with food. So that's an important thing. This is a pill crusher and what you do is you put the pill in there and you screw this together and go back and forth a couple of times and it will turn the pill into powder and then you can take that and dump it out and mix it into a small amount of wet food or something that your dog really likes, like small amount of peanut butter or yogurt or something like that, that's soft and give him in that. That's another way of giving the medication. But you always want to make sure that it's okay to give this particular medication with food. So that's something to double check with your veterinarian. Certain medications have to be given with food, others shouldn't be, others can't be but they taste really bad and will put a lot of dogs off. Hang in there Rory. Now as far as liquid medication is concerned, there is two places that you can put it in the mouth. One is in this pouch that they have here. They have this big lip pouch and you can just pull this pouch out. Yes, I know good boy. No I don't need kisses right now Rory. Good boy. You can just pull this out and put it right in there. That's an easy spot to do but some dogs are ticklish there and they don't like you to touch that area, the lip. So the other thing that you can do is use the syringe or the eyedropper and just put it directly in the mouth. If you do that, right at the back at the whiskers here. Right about there he's got a natural little gap between the teeth, so if you put it in, just a second, right there, he's going to open his mouth naturally and you can just put it in. You don't want to put it at the front of his teeth; he's not going to like that. This is the easiest way to measure the medication, because it's got this special little gizmo here. Just a minute. They flavor this for puppies. Some medicine tastes a lot worse than this stuff does. Just a minute here, Rory. So he is getting 1 ml and what we're going to do is just slide it into the side here, just like that. We're just going to squirt it in. Then he is going to lick it up. Oh, yeah good, no honey that's all you get. You don't get anymore there right now. Good boy. That's it. Okay, that was excellent. So that's the way that you give the kind of medication that you can drop with the syringe like that. If it's a medication that you're going to drop with the dropper, that same amount that we just gave him there is a whole dropper full. The dropper works okay too but there are couple of downsides to a dropper. It's a little more difficult to use. No, worry, you can have it out of the bottle, it's a little harder to measure it accurately. This stuff is also flavored for puppies. I know, it's good stuff. Oh, that's excellent. Okay. Now if they really like it, what you can do is just literally do it a little bit, he, say, oh, this stuff is okay, not as good as the other stuff though, is it? You can just put a little drop on the tongue, but most of the times, they don't like it that much. So he was actually pretty good, he has been licking it, you can see, we lost a little bit. Now that's not bad. He got most of it in there and he says I am going to clean it up. The other disadvantage is if your dog is not as cooperative as this one is. If you don't have the dropper held vertically, you end up with a bunch of it still in the dropper. It's kind of harder to tell how much was in there and how much did you really give. If your dog is not good about taking medicine, the other thing that you can do is talk to your veterinarian about having the medicine compounded into flavor that he likes or my dog for example, is on special medication for heart, that's only available for big dogs and she is only 10 pounds, so the pharmacy makes it up in a bacon flavored liquid form and she loves it. So that just makes it a whole lot easier because the medication isn't going to help if you don't get into your dog. So, don't hesitate to ask questions about the medication and those are the tips for giving oral medication at home, pills and liquid to your dog. Next we're going to cover how to do eye drops and ointment for your dog.