Strategies for Giving Medication to a Cat


Elmhurst Animal Care pic

Elmhurst Animal Care

Elmhurst Animal Care Center provides preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment to cats, dogs, and small pets. Elmhurst Animal Care Center also features a full-service pharmacy and a compounding pharmacy, so that each patient can have medication that is both effective and palatable.

Cats are not known for accepting something against their will, but a bit of gentle manipulation can get even a fussy feline to take his or her medication. The key is keeping the cat calm, as a nervous cat is likely to become agitated and try to get away.

Ideally, the owner will be able to mix the medication with a particularly desirable food. Experts suggest giving the cat a bit of the food by itself, then mixing the pill into the next few bites. The cat must be able to take the entire dose of medication, so the owner should avoid mixing it into a large portion.

If the cat cannot or will not take the pill with food, the owner will need to help the cat to swallow it. This process begins by taking the cat to a relaxing spot in the house. After a few gentle and cheerful pats, the owner can wrap the cat with a blanket or towel so that only the head is exposed.

The owner can then take the pill in his or her hand and use the other hand to gently open the jaw with thumb and fingers. With the hand holding the pill, the owner can push gently down on the lower teeth and place the pill at the back of the tongue. The owner can then close the cat’s mouth, hold it shut, and encourage her to swallow by blowing on her nose or rubbing her throat.

The process should complete as it began, with quality time between cat and owner. Attention or a treat can help to make the cat feel better and encourage cooperation for the next dose.


Tips for Giving Pills to Dogs

Dogs pic


Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Illinois offers comprehensive veterinary care to dogs, cats, and other pets. The veterinarians at Elmhurst Animal Care Center develop for each pet a comprehensive treatment plan, which can include medication instructions.

Just like people, dogs can be reluctant to take their medication. They may shy away from pills that look too large to swallow or smell unusual, while others will simply avoid anything that does not look or smell like what they normally eat. Some owners are able to bypass their dogs’ reluctance by hiding the pill in regular food, or by folding it into a soft treat or piece of cheese. This may be most effective if the owner feeds the dog a few regular treats before the medicated one or tosses the treat for the dog to catch.

Some dogs still will not accept a hidden treat, while yet others cannot have treats due to dietary issues. Owners of such dogs should place the treat in the dog’s mouth and encourage him to swallow. This involves gently grasping the top of the muzzle and lifting it to expose the tongue, then placing the pill toward the back of the mouth and closing the teeth while lowering the muzzle to neutral. In some cases, the owner then needs to encourage swallowing with a gentle stroking of the throat, though all owners should check to make sure the dog has swallowed the medication.