Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Gentle Art of Medicating Your Dog, or How We Got Our Dog to Take Her Medicine

Many pet dog owners have faced the difficult task of getting their dog to swallow its tablets or other medicine.
Some dogs are easy - they just chew them up or swallow them whole. Others are more difficult, to say the least!

Olive, our female greyhound, is very aware of her tablets. She is an old dog (now 13 years) and is on daily tablets - 3 in the morning and 4 at night. We have had to try various subterfuges to get her to take her medicine.
We've found that the size of the tablet makes no difference.

The methods we've tried are :
  • Hide them just under the top layer of her food. We found the tablets at the bottom of of an otherwise empty food bowl!
  • Put them in her mouth and gently hold her mouth shut for a moment. She spits them out, and you then get wet (expensive) tablets which start to disintegrate.
  • She has dried food, so we added some tinned meat. Hide the tablets inside the meat. This worked for a while, but she soon got wise to that!
  • Hide them inside some meat and offer as a treat. Worked a few times - but she soon worked out how to eat the meat and spit out the tablets. Quite a trick!
  • We've tried sardines, tuna, tinned meat chunks, freshy cooked chicken, sausages etc. They all worked for a while. Freshly cooked chicken skin still works - wrap it around the tablet and she eats the lot. Sausages whch haven't gone cold still work too. Hiding them in a good sized ball of tinned Chappie Original (fish-based) works , but she does refuse them sometimes.
  • Cheese is very good. You need a cheese which is easily moulded. But our Olive became suspicious after a while!
  • Our latest trick is to use Winalot Shapes. We smear them with butter, stick the tablet to it, and then cover it with some more butter. You have to be careful with crumbly tablets as they tend to break up. This works everytime (so far!). I guess that any small biscuit will do.
  • I have been told that hiding the tablets in peanut butter works well. We haven't tried this yet.
I think that the best approach is to use one of the methods a few times and then change to something else. This should fool most dogs, I think.

Of course some medicines are in liquid form. You can just mix that into the top layer of food. I've found it a good idea to put something very tasty and smelly on top, just to mask the smell of the medicine.

If anyone out there has found a good way of getting their dog to take its medicine please let me know!

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