How do I get medicine into the dog?
November 29, 2011 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I need to get 0.5ml of medicine into a dog, twice a day, every day, forever. Outside of holding her down and squirting it her mouth and putting it on her food, how do I get it in her?

Holding her down and squirting it in her mouth is really freaking her out, worse and worse every day. Considering that we are treating her for her anxiety, you can see the problem. Today she ran from the syringe, spent a really long while in her cage cowering, only came out when the doorbell rang (she probably thought it was my girlfriend), and cowered from me until I gave her treats.

Squirting it on her food makes her miss a lot of the medicine, so that's no good. It's a really low dosage, so it is not available as anything but a colloid.

Any ideas?
posted by griphus to Pets & Animals (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Inject into some small morsel of food that the dog loves and will wolf down in on go?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:43 PM on November 29, 2011

If you have a food processor, blend some raw ground beef or liver together with the medicine. That works great for cats, at least.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 4:45 PM on November 29, 2011

We smeared a little peanut butter at the bottom of a spoon, totally coating the bottom of the spoon with a thin layer, put the medicine in the spoon, and our little dude licked it clean.
posted by juniperesque at 4:46 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Most dog meds, if you go through a pet meds specialists, are available flavored. Ask your vet if there is an online pharmacy that s/he likes (we used DiamondBack Drugs) and get it flavored! (And possibly cheaper.)

Also, have you tried Pill Pockets for pills? That usually works.

As a fellow (former) owner of a dog on a lot of meds, my heart goes out to you.
posted by k8t at 4:47 PM on November 29, 2011

Beef jello shots! Use the recipe here and pour the gelatin mixture into shooter sized cups that you dose with doggie's rx.
posted by jamaro at 4:47 PM on November 29, 2011 [12 favorites]

Can you freeze it into a teeny little cube, and then slather the cube in peanut butter?
posted by cairdeas at 4:58 PM on November 29, 2011

As the owner of a anxious dog who is somehow missing the standard "will eat anything" dog gene, I sympathize. My dog has had huge success with Pill Pockets, but that won't work for you, since you're giving a liquid. Have you tried mixing it into a paste with soft dog food (or soft cat food, if that's more readily available?). I'm thinking that the strong meaty smell (seriously -- have you smelled cat food lately?) will make it appealing for her, and the consistency will mean she isn't missing part of the dose like she does when you apply it to dry food. Good luck!
posted by kate blank at 4:59 PM on November 29, 2011

While it might not be available as a pill, is it possible for it to be an injectable?

I was so surprised how well my cat handled her insulin shots. But it makes sense since they don't really see it coming, they don't have to taste it, and neither cats or dogs have sensitive scruffs.

It's weird to get used to poking your animal, but now I always ask my vet for injectable solutions.
posted by politikitty at 5:01 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could you mix it with beef broth or chicken broth - just a tablespoon or two? Your dog might be really excited to lap that up, and it would be very easy.

Or, you could probably mix it into wet food. I don't know if they make wet dog food, but perhaps some tuna or wet cat food (I doubt that a spoonful of cat food a day would hurt a dog, but I'm sure someone will chime in if I'm wrong).

Also, if you ever end up giving your dog a pill, I'd like to second k8t that Pill Pockets are MAGICAL. My dog is super smart and hates pills, but adores her pill pockets. They make even large pills very, very easy.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:01 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree with trying out Pill Pockets. You can squirt the medicine into the opening, and then squish it into a ball. My dogs will gobble one down without even swallowing.

I've used certain soft cheeses too (American cheese, cream cheese) for liquid medicine. Again, you have to mush it up into a ball.

The key with any treat that you use for medicinal purposes is not to offer that treat at any other time, so that it becomes something really, really special.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:01 PM on November 29, 2011

can you put a little bit of medicine mixed into some extra tasty food / snack and give that treat to the dog before a regular feeding?
posted by oneear at 5:02 PM on November 29, 2011

with the cat we used to use meat baby food to try and get some things into them but small tasty snack BEFORE meals was key.
posted by oneear at 5:03 PM on November 29, 2011

My dogs will eat anything at all that is mixed with cream cheese. Try mixing it up with some cream cheese and just giving it to her in a glob.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:09 PM on November 29, 2011

I just went through this with my pup. I found that...

* Giving her a treat and letting her eat it first
* Holding up her lip and squirting the medicine between her teeth through the side of her mouth without holding her mouth open
* Immediately giving her two treats afterwards

...did the trick. Her reaction went from the dog equivalent of "oh god no" to "fine, fine, I just want those bonus treats" in just a few days.
posted by eschatfische at 5:10 PM on November 29, 2011

Clomipramine is available as a transdermal gel. Your vet would have to call in a prescription, but most compounding pharmacies deliver. It comes in little syringes and you rub the appropriate amount onto the skin of her outer ear twice a day. Very easy. Probably more expensive though, so heads up.
posted by troublewithwolves at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have a dog who is wildly suspicious of most foods and must think and ponder and spit it out and think some more, etc etc. She also has allergies and has to be medicated several months a year, multiple times a day.

She likes vanilla yogurt, so we put it in one small-ish blop of vanilla yogurt in a bowl and hold it for her to eat. Sometimes she starts to get suspicious (or possibly the yogurt starts to go bad), and then we use vanilla ice cream for a day or two until she forgets that yogurt isn't ice cream and starts eating yogurt again. She knows the sound of it being stirred up for her and will come wait to be given her treat.

But if you can get and afford the dermal gel, I would think that would be a thousand times easier and better.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2011

Possibly you could do the transdermal gel for a while while practicing with her with the syringe full of beef broth or something so she gets used to the syringe being full of yummies, if the transdermal gel will be too expensive longterm. I always had to get transdermal gel for my cat for pills, he was unpillable. The people compounding pharmacy liked doing pet medicines for a change of pace, and liked looking at the pet names.

But really transdermal gel is so much better than anything else for an anxious or difficult pet.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing pill pockets. Stretch them out a bit, fill with liquid, squish shut. Do that out of eyesight of the pup.

If you feed wet food, does she lick the bowl clean? If so, putting it on wet food might lead to little or no loss.

The beef jello shots idea is freakin genius.

You might also try conditioning a better response to the syringe by feeding her liquefied treats out of it for a while.
posted by toomuchpete at 6:01 PM on November 29, 2011

Another enthusiastic vote for Pill Pockets. My dog was on a number of medications in his later years and they worked wonders. You never saw a dog get more excited about taking medication - he thought he was getting a special treat. They worked for pills and liquid meds - like others have said, squirt the liquid into the Pill Pocket, squish the top closed, watch dog gobble it.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2011

Have you tried occasionally giving her something yummy and awesome in the syringe instead of always administering the medication? Might help.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:18 PM on November 29, 2011

insectosaurus: " I don't know if they make wet dog food"

Of course they do. It comes in a standard-sized can, usually. (As opposed to the small cans cat food often comes in.) When my dog was sick and we couldn't get her to eat her dry food, mixing it with wet was often the solution.

I dog-sat once for a dog and had to give him medicine, and globs of cheeze-whiz were his parents' vehicle of choice. He loved it.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:21 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

This works for cats, and should work equally as well for dogs -- we mix the meds with a bit of butter and stick it on the back (top) of their forepaw. They really have no choice but to lick it off.
posted by rtimmel at 6:23 PM on November 29, 2011

nthing pill pockets...they are a sort of gooey consistency and you could probably squish 'em shut. My dogs get *jealous* when one of them has to take a pill and the other doesn't.
posted by troublesome at 7:59 PM on November 29, 2011

I would make some chicken broth/goo. Use that syringe thing and fill it up and let the dog lick it. Use it for treats and with OUT the anxiety you may have about trying to administer the medicine and with very happy relaxed tones.
posted by beccaj at 8:12 PM on November 29, 2011

I have never had a pill pocket fail me for this. If it's a relatively small amount of liquid, you could just squirt it into the pocket, smush the top, and offer it to the dog. Most dogs just wolf them down, no chewing involved. If it's too much liquid to be contained in the pocket itself, maybe put the meds in plain gelatin capsules and put the capsule in the pocket?
posted by crankylex at 7:03 AM on November 30, 2011

Response by poster: Where does one get plain gelatin capsules that are okay for dogs? My girlfriend gets an alergic reaction to the flavoring they use in the medicine, so I don't want her to risk getting it on herself when trying to pour it into a pill pocket just.
posted by griphus at 7:53 AM on November 30, 2011

I would ask your vet first, but I would imagine that any human food grade gelatin capsule (like you could buy at Whole Foods/health food store) would be safe for dogs, the gelatin won't harm them.
posted by crankylex at 8:00 AM on November 30, 2011

Mix it with yogurt or peanut butter if the medicine is not too strongly flavoured or scented. If your dog gets wet food mix it with that or a little ball of mined/ground beef (say the size of a quarter depending on the size of the dog). Start out giving them a few treats without the medicine in then slip them the dosed one. That way they are not as suspicious of the "treat".

I had a dog with cancer on chemo 5 different medicines a day at one point and she got so fed up of taking them and would hide so I tried every trick. PB proved to be the best way as it's like dog crack.
posted by wwax at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2011

griphus: "Where does one get plain gelatin capsules that are okay for dogs? My girlfriend gets an alergic reaction to the flavoring they use in the medicine, so I don't want her to risk getting it on herself when trying to pour it into a pill pocket just."

From a logistical standpoint, how are you going to fill gelatin capsules without getting any of the medicine on the outside of the capsule itself? Maybe it's an easier process then I'm imagining. Another possible problem is that it won't smell like "treat" to your dog - it will look and smell like medicine, or something weird and foreign anyway.

Maybe you could make up a bunch of "medicine treats" in advance, using Pill Pockets or cheese or wet dog food or whatever. Freeze* them in blobs on a cookie sheet or plate or something flat, and when they're frozen, you can stick them all in a Ziploc bag or some kind of container. Freezing them separately prevents them from sticking together. Then when your girlfriend needs to dispense the medicine, she can use a spoon or tongs or something to fish one out.

Frozen treats may not smell as enticing to the patient though. But at least your girlfriends wouldn't have to handle the treat itself.

Oh, can she wear gloves?

*Depending on the medicine, of course. Maybe check with the vet first.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:17 PM on November 30, 2011

Which medication is your dog on? Do they make a pill? It might be easier for you to hide.
posted by barnone at 7:13 PM on November 30, 2011

I do not know of any anxiety meds for dogs which are NOT available in pill/capsule form (which are much easier to hide in food). There are also many (like fluoxetine) that are once daily. I would call your vet's office and discuss this. You are right to want to stop the wrestling match, the more you keep this frightening and confrontational for your dog, the worse it will get.

That said, canned food or treats are the way to go - Pill Pockets are awesome and can easily hold liquid meds, and most dogs LOVE things like liverwurst, which has the added benefit of being stinky enough to hide any med odor. I always suggest people offer the dog at least two treats, the one with the medication in it, and then show them you have the second one - if the treat is good enough, most dogs will be so concerned with getting the second treat that they won't even think about the first one. I also usually suggest you ask the dog for a behavior (sit or down or something quick and easy) - the medicated treat will have more value to the dog if it is a reward rather than a suspicious freebie.
posted by biscotti at 8:43 PM on November 30, 2011

Inject it into a foam ball, which she can chew on until all the liquid gets into her?
posted by RaynDrops at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2011

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