Sunday, November 9, 2008

How To Give Your Pet A Pill

Thought these tips on how to give your pet a pill might be helpful:

1) “Hide” the pill in food—Try to convince your pet “it’s not a pill, it’s a treat”. You can hide the pill in a special food or treat that you ONLY use at pill time. Try some premium canned pet food, hummus (low allergen, low fat ground chickpea spread), mashed potatoes, baby food, canned pumpkin or a Pill Pocket. Do NOT use peanut butter, cookie dough or full fat cream cheese or other cheese. Many pets are allergic to the ingredients in all of these and they are too high in fat. Some cats will respond nicely to salmon spread and many pets really like Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, a dairy alternative, available in most grocery stores.

2) Be sure when you hide the pill that the food is “bite-size”. You may need to cut the pill. When hiding the pill, be careful not to use too much food—you may find that ½ a Pill Pocket, for example, is sufficient. If you give too much food, then your pet will start to chew the treat and the pill will be spit out. Use the bare minimum of covering---just enough for a quick gulp!

3) Be sure your pet swallows the pill. Many times people assume that if the pill is in their pet’s bowl, then it was eaten. You might find the pill throughout the house, so please be sure your pet swallowed the pill.

4) Unless your pet inhales food routinely, do NOT mix the pill into the pet’s regular food. Often times, the pet will stop eating the food. You need to give the pill separately from the food if your pet has any type of pickiness.

5) Most pills can be crushed or opened, mixed with water and given in a syringe. This technique works very well, especially with cats. Open the capsule of the supplement or medication, or crush the pill, mix with water, broth or tuna water and syringe into your pet’s mouth. Syringes can be purchased at any drug store or at your veterinarian’s office.

6) If all else fails and your pet consistently spits out the pill, then you will need to open your pet’s mouth, place the pill quickly into the back of the mouth, close the mouth and then gently massage the throat to ensure the pill is swallowed (while holding the jaws shut). This is a lot easier than it sounds and sometimes may be your only option. Your veterinarian’s office can show you how. Often, when pets realize that they have two choices: have the pill placed in the back of their mouth or take the treat, they suddenly start to cooperate.

7) Compliance with pills in the end, comes down to your ability to take control of your pet and your belief in the benefits of the medication or supplement. If you don’t feel good about giving the product, then after a few days, you may find you haven’t complied with your doctor or pet health practitioner’s instructions. Understanding the benefits of what you are using will help keep you going as in many cases, giving an uncooperative pet pills does take time and can be stressful.