Tablets - General Advice

Giving tablets to a pet can be a daunting and difficult task. This section arms you with some simple techniques for stress free pill giving.

Techniques are in order of how much restraint is used. If it is safe to do so, try the easiest technique with the least restraint first and make sure you leave breaks between trying each technique to allow your dog or cat to calm down. If you are having problems or if your dog or cat becomes aggressive or distressed, talk to your vet about alternatives to tablets, don’t struggle on alone.

For example:

  • Full worming treatment for roundworms and tapeworms can now be given to cats by a prescription ‘spot on’ applied onto the skin.
  • Many drugs are also available in injectable forms. This may mean repeated visits to the vets but some pets, especially cats, find this less stressful than being given tablets. Some drugs are available in long acting forms which only need to be injected once.
  • Your vet may be able to recommend a different form of treatment.

Giving Tablets to Cats

Method 1

  1. Hide in smelly, tasty food eg. Pilchards (not if your cat is on a special diet).
  2. Offer a small amount of food containing the tablet before the main meal.

Method 2

  1. Have an assistant hold the front legs down.
  2. Hold the top of your cat’s head and gently but firmly tip it backwards. The mouth will open slightly.
  3. Use your finger to push the tablet to the back of the mouth (not if your cat bites – take great care).
  4. Close your cat’s mouth and allow to swallow. Offer some food or syringe some water.

Photos

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cat
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cat

It may help to do this on a table rather than on the floor.

Method 3

  1. Hold the scruff of the neck and use it to tilt your cat’s head upwards. The mouth will open slightly. This looks unpleasant but carefully holding a cat’s scruff is safe and often has a calming effect. Use the side of your restraining hand to push the shoulders gently downwards.
  2. Use a finger or a pill giver or pill popper to introduce the tablet into the mouth.
  3. Move the tablet as far to the back of the mouth as possible and release. The cat should swallow by reflex.
  4. Offer some food or syringe some water.

Photos

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Cat
2.
Cat

It may help to do this on a table rather than on the floor.

If you are worried that you may get bitten or scratched, or if you are unable to get the tablet down, don't keep trying, CONTACT YOUR VET.

Giving Tablets to Dogs

Method 1

  1. Hide in a very small amount of tasty food for example butter or cheese (not if your dog is on a special diet). Butter or cheese can be moulded around the tablet to prevent your dog smelling the drug.
  2. Act very excited as though you are giving your dog a brilliant treat, you could even pretend to eat some yourself.

Method 2

  1. Enclose the tablet in some soft tinned dog food. This technique can also be performed with the tablet alone but offer your dog some food afterwards so that the tablet doesn’t get stuck in the throat.
  2. Hold your dog’s nose, roll the upper lips over the teeth and gently open the mouth.
  3. Push the tablet or the food containing the tablet to the back of the mouth.
  4. Hold the mouth gently shut until the tablet or food is swallowed, you will need to release the hold slightly to allow swallowing.

Photos

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Dog
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Dog
Giving Pastes, Liquids and Syrups to Cats and Dogs
See methods for giving tablets. When administering pastes, liquids or syrups aim into the back of the mouth and syringe slowly giving the dog or cat time to swallow properly.
Giving Pastes, Liquids and Syrups to Rabbits

Method 1

  1. Hide the liquid in a small amount of some tasty fruit for example, apple or banana. Only try this if you are sure that your rabbit will eat all of the food.

Method 2

  1. Have an assistant hold the rabbit on the floor.
  2. Introduce the syringe from the side of the mouth and direct it backwards.
  3. Syringe slowly.
Spot on administration

Dog and Cat

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the preparation. Most commonly the fur needs to be parted over the shoulder blades (dog) or the base of the skull (cat).

Dog

Wriggly cats can be restrained by holding the scruff of the neck; you will need an assistant for this.

Usually spot ons should be administered onto the skin, not the fur. It may help to administer the spot on in a few different places to make sure it all goes onto the skin.

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