Administering oral medications can be a stressful experience for both pet and owner. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make the medicine go down. With practice, you’ll gain confidence and your pet will become used to the procedure.
Command your pet to sit or kneel in front of you.
Support your pet’s head with your dominant hand. With your non-dominant hand, follow the jawline to the highest point (right below the ear) until you find the hollow spot just before the skull.
Applying pressure here will cause your pet some discomfort, but will enable you to control his head while you administer the medication.
With your thumb on the pressure point and your fingers around the back of the neck, hold your pet firmly.
Take the pill between the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand. With that same hand under your pet’s lower jaw, gently tilt the head back.
With your middle, ring, and little finger, push your pet’s bottom lip up and over his bottom teeth.
Using your pet’s lower lip gives your fingers some protection and ensures that if your pet begins to bite down, the pain of biting into his own skin will make him stop.
With your fingers curled behind the bottom teeth, pull the lower jaw down and the mouth open. Drop the pill as far back over the tongue as possible.
Avoid placing your fingers too far inside your pet’s mouth. Doing so may stimulate the gag reflex, making the experience unpleasant and future medication administration attempts more difficult.
Hold the mouth closed and gently rub the throat to encourage your pet to swallow.
Remember to praise your pet or offer a treat after receiving medication. This will help to reestablish trust and make future medicine administration easier.
Alternately, if your pet is misbehaved, jumpy, or otherwise resistant, you can try a more forceful approach. It requires you to restrain your pet, but almost guarantees successful administration of the medication. Before you begin, prepare a glass with a few tablespoons of lukewarm water and set it in reach.
Restrain your pet in the supine position.
If the head is restrained, you may straddle or sit on his chest.
If the head is unrestrained, kneel (above his head, facing his feet) and hold the head between your knees.
This will secure your pet’s head and free both of your hands to administer the medication.
With one hand, pinch your pet’s nose closed.
When he opens his mouth to breathe, drop the pill as far back into the mouth as possible. Without letting go of the nose, quickly pour the water into your pet’s mouth. With the nose plugged, your pet will have no choice but to to swallow the pill and liquid in order to breathe (otherwise, he will choke).
Do not praise your pet or offer him treats after using this technique, as it will only reinforce his bad behavior and encourage his resistance in the future.