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Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

How to Give Your Dog Liquid Medicine

    • Liquid medications are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions.
    • It is important to use only medicines prescribed by a veterinarian and to treat for the full length of time prescribed.
    • Do not stop treatment early, even if the problem seems to be resolved.

    The Basics

    Liquid medications are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions. Some medicines that are usually prescribed as pills or capsules can be changed (compounded) to a liquid for easier administration. If you have trouble giving your dog pills, ask your veterinarian if compounding is possible for specific medicines.

    Follow Recommendations

    It is important to use only medicines prescribed by a veterinarian and to treat for the full length of time prescribed. Do not stop treatment early, even if the problem seems to be resolved. You can ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to give the prescribed medicine.

    Technique

    • Liquid medications should come with a dropper or syringe for administration. Fill the dropper or syringe with the prescribed amount of medicine.
    • Holding your dog’s head still with one hand, insert the tip of the dropper or syringe into a corner of the mouth, between the cheek and the teeth, aiming toward the back of your dog’s head.
    • Do not tilt your dog’s head back; this may cause him or her to inhale the medicine.
    • Squeeze the dropper or syringe to empty it.
    • Hold your dog’s mouth closed and stroke his or her throat (or blow on his or her nose) to encourage swallowing.
    • Give your dog a reward (like a treat approved by your veterinarian) to make it a more pleasant experience.

    Contact your veterinarian if you have questions or difficulty administering any medications.

    Restraining Your Dog

    You may need help keeping your dog still while you administer medicine. If you don’t have a helper handy, you may want to sit on the floor and hold the front of your dog’s body partially against your body or on your lap. If you have a large dog, you can stand behind your dog and have him or her sit back against your legs. Sometimes it helps to back your dog into a corner.

    Small dogs can be wrapped in a large towel and held against your body, leaving only the head free. Be sure not to wrap your small dog too tightly.

    If your dog struggles, talk to him or her calmly. Stop if he or she becomes extremely agitated.