Preparing your pets for medicines

February 18, 2024

While we hope to never have to medicate our beloved fur babies, it can come as a shock when we suddenly have to give kitty a capsule twice a day, administer an ear medication to the dog or a syringe of medicine to the rabbit.

Zoos know all too well the difficulties faced handling and medicating animals who would rather not co-operate, and begin early in their lives preparing and desensitizing them to situations, syringes and other procedures that might need to be done during their lives.

While the average person won’t be faced with injecting a gorilla or medicating a leopard, it will certainly help to get our pets used to handling them in ways that may make life a whole lot easier when we have to step up.

Dogs can be acclimatized to having their ears, paws and even teeth handled with the judicious use of treats, rewards and perseverance.
Giving your cat or dog a special liquid treat such as fish oil or broth from a syringe now and again can make the medication syringe not such a new scary device.

Ask your vet to show you how use a pill popper. You can try giving your cat a special treat from this on a regular basis to get him or her familiar with it.
Some dogs love the game of catching a treat when thrown, and won’t notice if it happens to look like a tablet one day! Giving several small treats in a row also makes it easier to slip a medicated treat in the middle when needed.

Practising when your pet is healthy, rather than when receiving medication is associated only with pain or sickness, can set you up for treatment success when you need to do it for real.