How medicate your dog at home easily

Make the experience as pleasurable as possible by giving lots of praise and reward your dog with a treat.


Giving Your Dog a Pill

The easiest way to give your dog a pill is to wrap it in a treat such as a small amount of peanut butter, cheese, or soft food.

  • Wrap the pill and offer it to your dog by hand.  Pay close attention and make sure that the pill is consumed along with the treat.

Another option is to place the pill directly in the dog’s mouth.

  • Grease the pill with a little bit of butter of margarine so that it will not stick in the dog's mouth and hold it in your dominant hand between the thumb and index finger.
  • Place one hand over the dog’s muzzle with your non-dominant hand and pull his head towards the ceiling.  This will cause the lower jaw to the dropdown.
  • If the jaw does not open, use two fingers of the hand that is holding the pill to pull the jaw down.
  • Place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, but be sure not to stick your fingers too far back as to make the dog gag.
  • Quickly close the mouth with the head still tilted towards the ceiling, hold it closed with your hands around the muzzle, and massage the throat gently to promote swallowing.

As a last resort, you could crush the pill and mix it with a small amount of water and give it as a liquid with a syringe or mix it in a small amount of canned food.  Just be sure when mixing with water, that you crush the pill into a very fine powder so that it will mix with the water better, however you may not get the powder to completely dissolve.

Giving Your Dog Liquids

Prepare the medication by drawing up the proper amount of liquid into the syringe.  Be sure to pay close attention to the dosage information on the bottle.

  • Place one hand under the muzzle so that your dog cannot turn away from you.
  • Place the tip of the syringe into the side of the mouth gently and push it past the tooth line.
  • Slowly plunge the liquid into the mouth giving your dog time to swallow and breathe.
  • If your dog spits out some of the medication do not re-medicate unless you are positive that none of the medication was swallowed.
  • Rinse the syringe under hot water and let it air dry

Administering Ear Medication

Be careful! Ear infections can be very painful and your dog may react by biting.

Prepare the medication by placing the prescribed amount of liquid into the syringe. Be sure to pay careful attention to the dosage information on the bottle.

  • Hold the flap of the ear up and put the tip of the syringe into the ear.
  • Be sure not to squirt the medication too close to the opening.  The dog's ear canal is in the shape of an L so do not be scared to insert the tip into the ear.
  • Plunge the medication and gently massage the base of the ear to distribute it.  Step back and allow the dog to shake.
  • Rinse the syringe with warm water and soap if necessary and let it air dry.

Administering Eye Ointment

Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water, read the dosage instructions on the tube.

  • Place the allotted amount of ointment on the tip of your index finger.
  • Place your other hand on the top of your dog's head.  You may need to have someone else help hold your dog so he/she cannot back away from you.
  • With the medication, hand uses your middle finger to gently pull down the lower lid.
  • Apply the medication to the inside of the exposed lower lid and gently shut the eye using your thumb and index finger to make sure the medication sticks the eye.
  • Your dog will blink, spreading the medication around the eye.

Collecting a Urine Sample

The urine sample should not be older than 12 hours in order for the vet to get a good reading.  If you cannot bring the sample to the vet within the hour, be sure to refrigerate it.

  • Use a clean plastic container.
  • Use a leash to take your dog outside.
  • For female dogs, use a shallow container and place it under her as she swats to urinate.
  • For male dogs, a place the container (does not need to be shallow) in the stream of urine.

After collecting the specimen place a lid on the container.

Brushing Your Dogs Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth requires patience and lots of praise.  The best age to start brushing is when they are a puppy but it is never too late to start.

  • First, you must purchase a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.  Do not use human toothpaste because it will upset your dog’s stomach and it may be harmful.
  • Brushing should start in short phases so that your dog can get used to you touching the inside of the mouth, the taste of the toothpaste, and the feel of the brush.
  • At first, just use your finger to gently rub the teeth like a brush.
  • When your dog seems comfortable with this, then squeeze a small amount of paste onto your finger and allow him/her to get use to the taste.
  • Then using the toothbrush and toothpaste, start with one section of the mouth and use your other hand to lift up the lip.
  • Hold the brush at a 45° angle with the bristles toward the gum line and move the brush back and forth.
  • Gradually increase the duration of the sessions until you can brush all the teeth.
  • Focus on the outside of the teeth since this is where most of the plaque buildup forms.
  • Be sure to brush the back teeth even though they may be harder to reach. 

Wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly with warm water