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Pet Medication Tips – Preventing a Struggle When Giving a Pill to a Dog

January 03, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, General Dog Health, Pet Medications

If a dog has had a recent surgery, struggling over a pill can be dangerous! Learn tips to give a pill to a dog who struggles when he receives pet medication. (Mitchell Powell Photo)

On occasion, you’ll encounter a dog will simply refuse to take a pill, regardless of the method used to give the pet medication. For these cases when the pet owner will need to give a pill to an unwilling dog, there are a few tricks to avoid a struggle when giving pet medication.

Calming the Dog Before and After Giving Pet Medication

One trick involves calming the dog before trying to dose him. It’s much more difficult to give a pill to a dog who is already tuned up and anticipating a negative experience. So make medicine time it a good experience. Cuddle with the dog, pet him, brush him (if he enjoys brushing!) and offer pet treats.

This is especially important for dogs who receive pet medication on a daily basis for an extended period of time. Even if the dog hates the act of taking a pill, It’s important that the dog associates the pill with a positive experience of cuddles and treats. The positive experience of attention and dog treats will help neutralize the negative experience of getting a pill.

For this reason, I also recommend spending time with the dog after he’s received his medication. Offer dog treats, praise, cuddles and attention. Reward him for taking his pill (even if it wasn’t exactly voluntary.)


Where to Sit When Giving a Pill to a Dog

Location, location, location! If a dog struggles when you try to give a pill, it’s important to find a location that will minimize that struggle (thereby minimizing the amount of time spent wrangling the dog).

I recommend sitting the dog in the corner of the couch or arm chair. The back and arm of the couch will prevent the dog from wriggling away as the owner attempts to give a pill. The couch also limits movement – this is key if the dog has recently undergone a surgery or suffered a recent injury.

The couch is also an ideal place to calm the dog (so you won’t need to move him once he’s calm and ready for his medicine!) and it’s a place where you’re apt to spend lots of time anyways, so the dog will have other pleasant associations with the sofa.

Giving a pill to a dog can be stressful for the dog and the owner. But fortunately, pet owners can neutralize the experience by making it as pleasant as possible. Even if the actual act of getting a pill is an unpleasant experience for the dog, owners can lessen the resistance by sandwiching the negative experience between two positive experiences involving cuddles, praise and dog treats.

More Help for Giving Pet Medication to a Dog

If your dog bites and nips when you attempt to give a pill, read How to Give a Pill to a Dog Who Bites.

Dog owners may also want to learn additional tricks to give pet medication to a dog, along with information about tools for giving a pill to a dog like a pet pill gun (also called a pill shooter) or Greenies Pill Pockets for dogs.

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How to Find an Emergency Veterinary Clinic

January 01, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies, Dog Injuries, Emergency Veterinary Clinics, General Dog Health, Veterinarians and Veterinary Clinics

Be ready to help a sick dog in an emergency! Find a 24-hour veterinary clinic. (Timo Balk Photo)

In the event of a pet emergency, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. You can’t waste time Googling emergency veterinary clinics, nor can you afford to get lost en route to the veterinary hospital.

What’s more, emergencies involving a pet are a very frightening experience for the owner. So even simple actions — like Googling a vet clinic or following GPS directions — can be difficult.  So to avoid a potential tragedy with a sick or injured pet, consider the following preparations.

Finding a 24-Hour Veterinary Clinic & Emergency Treatment for Pets

The following measures will help pet owners avert tragedy if a dog, cat or other pet is injured or falls seriously ill.

  • Keep a pet first aid kit in your home and in your car.
  • Learn how to perform basic first aid for pets, including CPR for a dog or cat and the Heimlich maneuver for pets.
  • Find the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic or animal hospital.
  • Drive to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital before an emergency arises – you need to be familiar with the route.
  • Store the phone number to the 24-hour animal hospital in your cell phone.



To find the nearest 24-hour animal hospital,  pet owners can ask their regular veterinary clinic. Also, many vets will provide the address and phone number for a local emergency veterinary hospital on the clinic’s voicemail for pet owners who call after hours.

There are also some great online directories for veterinary hospitals, including the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society’s directory.

More Tips on How to Help a Pet in an Emergency

If a dog or other pet suffers from a specific illness or condition that makes the animal prone to a medical emergency, pet owners should ensure that the nearest 24-hour veterinary clinic is equipped to help the pet.

In addition, pet owners should always call ahead when bringing a dog or other pet to a clinic for emergency treatment. This will enable the animal hospital staff to prepare for the animal’s arrival, enabling them to provide more prompt treatment.

If an owner is bringing their pet to their normal veterinary clinic for emergency treatment, they may be re-directed to a larger animal hospital if the pet’s injury or condition is beyond the clinic’s capabilities. So calling ahead is vital, as it can cut down on transportation time – something that’s essential when minutes mean the difference between life and death of a pet.

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