Administration of tablets on pets can be tricky sometimes. Many drugs in tablet form, licensed for use in pets, have been specially formulated with palatability in mind. However, if the animal is at all suspicious he is unlikely to eat the tablet voluntarily irrespective of how pleasant it may taste.
Can I train my pet to take tablets?
Yes, it is good foresight to train a puppy or kitten to accept tablets pushed down the throat. This is a useful technique to practice with a puppy using something pleasant like a vitamin tablet or a choc drop.
You say push the tablets down the throat. How do I do this?
Remember that dogs quickly learn when it is tablet time and will vanish from sight if given the opportunity. First, catch the patient!
If possible try to get someone to help you to hold the dog. Depending on his size you may find it more comfortable supporting him on your lap if small or held between your knees if larger. Most people find it easier to approach from the side or behind when giving tablets.
Place one hand across the muzzle and tip the head back so the nose points to the ceiling. This will cause the lower jaw to drop a little bit and allow you to insert a forefinger and the thumb gently into the space behind the canine teeth or fangs. It helps if you slide your thumb of the finger from the muzzle onto the roof of the pet’s mouth and press. This pressure helps to stop him from closing his mouth especially when his head is tipped back in this way. Provided you have sufficient strength and dexterity in your wrist to be able to cope with the pet’s head movement, this strategy is usually effective, but must not be used in dogs with sore necks or mouths. If in doubt seek professional assistance.
I understand there are certain pill pushers. Can these be used?
There are certain devices on the market to help to get tablets into pets. Some of these are reasonably effective but none are, in our experience, 100%. However, it may be worth trying. If you would like to discuss this further please contact us.
Can I disguise the tablets with anything?
Yes, many people find that wrapping the tablet in butter or coating it in some favourite food or titbit or using treats. There are certain tablets that you may have been directed to give on an empty stomach and care must be exercised, then in the amount of food or titbits allocated. Although, one or two sweets in order to get the medication into the dog is preferable to no medication!
I get the tablet into the throat and follow all the instructions but frequently find it on the floor sometime later?
Even the most experienced of us have had this happen to us. If you are not sure that the tablet has been swallowed dripping a little water into the mouth with the aid of a syringe usually ensures that it is swallowed. Alternatively, try gently pinching the nose and then stroking the throat.
We at Clondalkin Animal Clinic understand that sometimes it is very hard to give tablets to your pet so we stock a lot of chewable, tasty products such as worm treatment, flea treatment, antibiotics and cardiac medication.