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Giving Medications

By Robin Tierney

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Medicating your pet can be a challenge, so the advice below is intended to make things easier. And at the end are some additional tips received in response to last week's Tip on home style for dog owners.

Tips for medicating a dog's ears:

* Use a cotton ball to clean out any major debris from the ear.

* Hold the head vertically, which will help the medication drop down into the ear canal.

* Place the medicine deep into the canal.

* Massage the area just below the ear to help distribute the medicine. Note: The dog will probably shake his head as soon as you let him go.

* Give all doses of the medicine as prescribed by the veterinarian.

Tips for medicating eyes:

* Use a soft tissue or cotton ball to gently clean debris out of the eyes.

* Use your fingers to gently but firmly open the eye lids.

* Place the medication in the inner corner of the eye.

* Give all doses of the drops or ointment as prescribed by the vet.

Tips for oral medications:

* Open the mouth, then place the pill at the back and in the middle of the tongue.

* Close the mouth and gently stroke the throat to stimulate swallowing.

* Some people find that light blowing a puff of air into the nostrils stimulates swallowing. However, some dogs may be frightened by the air puffs and react negatively.

* Many people have success with the practice of wrapping pills in cheese or coating them lightly with cream cheese or peanut butter.

* Lightly moistening capsules helps present capsules from sticking to the tongue or roof of the mouth.

* Liquid medicines: tilt the head back, keep the mouth closed most of the way and insert the liquid in the pouch of the cheek. Hold the mouth closed until the dog swallows the medicine.

Following are additional health tips from Cynthia D. Miller, author of "Creating a Peaceable Kingdom: How to Live with More Than One Pet":

Observation is the key to understanding the behavior of your animals and is also the catalyst for recognizing changes. By knowing the normal behavioral patterns of your pets, you will be alerted to any irregularities that need your intervention. Each pet in your household should have a record book. If one of your pets is ill or you suspect that something isn't right, record your observations. Take your notes to vet appointments and when you and your pet are traveling. Share observations with pet sitters too.

Record health as well as behavior changes. Note what preceded and followed the behavior. Do mini-checkups once a week for each pet. Keep a list of items to check (including skin, fur, ears, eyes, weight).

**** As a follow-up to last week's Tip about doggy-durable home style and design, PAW volunteer Marsha Rader shares more advice for making a house pet-friendly:

* Dog piddle can stain hardwood floors, even if varnished. "My darling Freddy piddled on an area rug I had in dining room," recalls Marsha. "I didn't discover it for a day or so since rug was patterned. The wetness stained the wood floor and wouldn't go away, even when I tried using baking soda." Marsha learned from another dog lover that by using a floor sander to redo the floor, such stains can be removed.

* As a puppy, Freddy developed a taste for antique books with leather bindings and ruined several that were more than a hundred years old. The books had been on book shelves; Freddy chewed the spines. "I got a roll green coated garden wire -- not chicken wire -- meant to keep rabbits out of a garden," said Marsha, describing the tape as having very small diameter rectangular holes 12 inches from bottom up, and larger holes up to top of the 36-inch height. "I cut it with snips to fit each bookcase front to keep the dogs out. It works, and it isn't as unsightly or light as chicken wire." Marsha didn't have to nail the garden wire to the bookcases, whereas chicken wire would have to be fastened to the cases.


For more Dog Tips about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport