Our team at Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital knows that every pet is unique, and we take time to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that meets their needs. If we prescribe your pet medication, we will provide detailed information about dosage and administration––but, let’s be real––convincing Fido to simply “open wide” for their medication is about as likely as winning the lottery. Medicating your pet can feel daunting, but tailoring your approach to their personality can make the process much smoother for everyone involved. Below are some enticing medicating techniques for every pet personality.

Finn the Foodie––a pet with an appetite for anything

A pet like Finn loves to eat––and we mean loves! Drop a piece of broccoli on the kitchen floor? They’ll scarf it down like a filet mignon. They can hear their food bowl being filled from across the house, and can hardly wait for you to set it down, before diving into those delicious, crunchy morsels. If your pet is a “Finn,” use their food motivation to medicate, using these simple tricks:

  • Mix your pet’s medicine in a meal –– Without your pet seeing, mix their medication in with their pet food. A voracious eater probably won’t notice the extra ingredient. Ensure your pet eats all their food, and that no medication remains.
  • Disguise your pet’s medicine in a tasty treat –– Place the medicine inside a small ball of sticky, flavorful food, such as xylitol-free peanut butter, canned food, or cheese. The food’s smell will mask the medicine’s scent, and the taste will be much more palatable for your pet.
  • Compound your pet’s medicine for flavor –– Some tablets and capsules can be compounded into delicious liquid flavors, such as tuna, chicken, or beef. Your pet won’t be able to resist the delicious taste.

Pete the People Pleaser––a pet who wants to work

The Petes of the world love to follow their owner’s commands, and live for their praise, and the tasty reward that follows. When medicating a pet like Pete, tap into their need to please, and let them earn their medicine––with a treat, of course! Have your pet perform a series of tricks they know well, and reward them with a medicated treat. Your pet will be excited to have earned their treat, and won’t be focused on what’s inside. 

Wild for Walks Winny––a pet who will eat anything when distracted

Does your pet lose their mind with excitement at the mere hint of a “W-A-L-K”?  Then do like Winny’s owners, and bring a medicated treat on their daily walk. All the sights, sounds, and smells are the perfect distraction for medicating your pet. Prepare your pet’s medicated treat, and decide on the optimal time they should be fed, such as right when you step out the door, or when you arrive at a highly distracting area, like the park. 

FOMO Frita––a pet with a fear of missing out on whatever you’re eating

If your pet suffers from FOMO like Frita, the tastiest treat in the world is whatever they see you eating. You can use their “I’ll have what you’re having” attitude to your advantage. The following tricks will have your “FOMO-ful” pet gulping down their medicine without a second thought:

  • Pretend to eat their medication –– Let’s be clear. We are not suggesting that you actually ingest your pet’s medicine––you need to convince your pet that not only are you eating the medication, but also that it’s the most savory delicacy you’ve ever tasted. Put on a real show for your pet––as they stare at you with those pleading, puppy-dog eyes, make them really want it. When you finally “give in,” and offer them their medicated treat, your pet will be amazed at their good fortune, and gobble up the treat  immediately.
  • “Accidentally” drop a medicated treat –– While cooking a highly aromatic meal, drop a small bit of food for your pet below. Continue cooking, and after a few minutes “accidentally” drop another bit of food––with your pet’s medicine safely inside. Your pet will devour that morsel before you realize your “mistake,” and there’s no need to tell them that the joke is on them. 

No Way Nora––a pet who can’t be tricked

Some highly skeptical pets cannot be fooled, and can sniff out medicine from a mile away. For a pet like No Way Nora, you will need to administer their medicine with a finger, pilling device, or syringe. These steps will help ensure your pet swallows their medicine, and you keep all your fingers:

  • Medicate by hand
    • Gently press your pet’s lips to their teeth, and press one finger to the roof of their mouth.
    • As your pet opens wide, use your other hand to place the pill on the back of their tongue.
    • Quickly close your pet’s mouth, stroke their throat to encourage swallowing, and give plenty of praise. 
  • Use a syringe ––  For liquid medicine, follow these steps to administer into your pet’s mouth using a syringe dropper:
    • Fill the syringe with the correct medication dosage. Mark the syringe with a fine-tipped marker at the fill line, to ensure you administer the correct amount every time.
    • Take your pet to a quiet, comfortable area, staying calm and positive. Repeat to yourself, “Fake it till you make it.”
    • While securely holding your pet, slip the syringe into the corner of their mouth under their lips. Ask a family member or friend to help, if necessary. One person can keep your pet secure, while the other administers the medication.
    • Dispense the liquid slowly into the pouch between your pet’s teeth and cheek. Squirting too quickly can send liquid down their trachea, and cause coughing and irritation.
    • Ensure your pet swallows all their medication, and immediately give them a delicious treat, and lots of praise. 

Every pet is different, and you may need to experiment to find what works best for them, and for you. Taking the time to ask questions can alleviate your anxiety. Medicating any pet personality can be challenging, but remember––our team is always available to help. If you have questions about your pet’s prescription, or need to schedule an examination or a demonstration, contact Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital.