Sometimes it’s difficult to get your dog or cat to eat their regular pet food, so what can an owner of fussy pets do to help their pet take medication? Finicky pet eaters will be reluctant to take medications while some other pets will eat anything given to them including pills. When pet owners are faced with the medicating challenge, many are left not knowing the best ways available to ensure the safety and health of their cat or dog through medication compliance. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has offered some helpful strategies in medicating pets.
1. Chewables- Ask the veterinarian and/or pharmacist if there are chewable options available in the medication needed for your pet. Just like children’s medications, some pills are flavored and available in chewable form for pets.
2. Pill Wraps- Newer strategies include buying flavored pill wrappers from pet stores. These are available in flavors for both cats and dogs. In this scenario, the pill is put into the center of the pill wrap treat prior to giving the treat to the pet.
3. Meal Meatballs- Both cat food and dog food come in various textures and assorted types. If your pet needs medication, get some of the textured pet food that can easily be rolled into a meatball. Make a few meatballs without medication, and put the pill in one of the meatballs. Most likely, the pet will eat all of the meatballs.
4. Peanut Butter- A little bit of peanut butter can do a lot of good when it is wrapped around a pill. Most pets love peanut butter, and the pill can be secured within a ball of peanut butter. The taste and smell of peanut butter is pungent to pets and will hide the smell of most medications.
5. Favorite Treats- If your pet is partial to a soft or semi-hard pet treat, then these can be successfully used for dosing medication. The trick is to give your pet a couple of treats without the pill, then a treat with the pill, and follow with another treat without the pill.
6. Pill Toss- For those pets who like to play catch, a meatball can be made containing a pill, and then tossed to the pet. Most pets who like this game will swallow the meatball without noticing it contains a pill.
7. Gentle Mouth Hold- If all other tactics fail, then a pill can be administered through the pet’s mouth. Gently hold the pet’s mouth open while you toss the pill as far as possible into the pet’s throat. Gently close the pet’s mouth and hold it closed until the pet swallows. This will allow the pill to be swallowed without a bitter taste. Pet owners may want to look into the pet’s mouth to make sure the pill has been swallowed as some cagey pets will hold the pill in their mouth to be spit out later.
In all cases of medicating pets, the pet owners’ affect and comfort with the process will be noticed and important to the ease with which the administration of medication is done with their pet. As an owner, be peaceful, assured, and playful with your pet during the administration of pills. Always reward them with love and pats after they successfully swallow the pill, and be happy that your pet has the proper medication available to improve their health.