How to give medication to your pet

Whether you have a cherished dog, cat, bird, tortoise or any other type of pet, giving them medication when they become ill can be a tricky affair. How do you prevent the animal from injuring themselves – as well as you – and ensure the medication goes down and stays down? Here's how.

If you've gotten your pet medication directly from a vet following an examination and diagnosis of what's wrong, they'll be able to show you how to give the tablets or liquid. But it's up to you to do it at home, and try to get someone to help you, so that one person holds the animal and the other gives the medicine.

The first thing to do with any medication is to read the label carefully. Be keenly aware of the dosage amounts, the timing and frequency of when it should be given, as well as whether it's to be administered with food or on its own. It may be that a number of medications have been prescribed for your pet, so make sure you know when to give each one.

As a general guide, if a medication is to be given twice a day, it should be given every 12 hours. For three times a day, doses will usually be given every eight hours. And for medication to be given four times a day, it's normally every six hours.

If there's no one around to help you hold your pet while you're giving the medication, wrap them in a blanket to keep them from squirming and trying to get away. If you're allowed to give the medication with food, that's great, because you can hide it in a treat they love – chicken, for example, and hopefully they'll wolf if down.

If food is not permitted by your vet, you'll have to brave administering it yourself. Do this by holding your pet's head back and pulling down slightly on their lower jaw. Place the medication as far back in the mouth as possible and close the mouth. Gently stroke your pet's throat so that they'll feel like swallowing.

You may also be able to crush and dissolve your pet's tablets in water and administer with a syringe into the mouth. Liquid medications can also be given this way. Discuss these options with your vet before proceeding.

If you'd like to know more about giving pet medication, get in touch with the experts at VetDispense, and they'll be happy to advise.