How Do I Tablet My Cat & Dog?

So you and your little one are at the vet, and you hear those dreaded words that make you shudder ” So Mrs Jones Fluffy will need to take a course of antibiotics twice a day”.  A cold sweat starts to break out and you just look at sweet little fluffy sitting there looking like butter wouldn’t melt.  You know that as soon as you get fluffy home and attempt to give those tablets, Fluffy is going to do everything in her power to not have that tablet go anywhere near her mouth.  Your sweet, cuddly affectionate fluffy is going to turn into the Tasmanian Devil!

As Veterinary Nurses ourselves we can let you into a little secret.  Our own pets are just as difficult to medicate as yours, and we can 100% sympathise with you.  Whether it is a short course of antibiotics or your fur baby needs long-term medication hopefully this post will help take the stress out of tableting your pet.

So before you go trying to shove your hand down the back of your pets throat try these tips.

  • Try hiding the tablet in a small amount of wet food, this is best done by waiting for your pets meal time so they are hungry.  You can actually hide tablets inside chunks of food, which fingers crossed will make it less detectable.  You should only attempt this a couple of times, if you are not being very successful with this your fur baby is bound to click on and may become worried about eating and in some cases may stop eating altogether.
  • Ask your vets if they have any gelatin capsules, I have managed to get away with putting nasty bitter-tasting tablets in these, they are less likely to smell and taste the tablets when tucked in to a gelatin capsule.   They are also very handy if you need to give more than one tablet at once.  If your vet doesn’t stock them then try on-line Amazon definitely do.
  • Hide them in a small amount of soft cheese, such as Primula, they can come in different flavours such as prawn and ham, Yum! (a small amount of butter maybe used for occasional medicating)
  • A tried and tested way which I use on my own tablet shy cats and those in hospital at our practice is soft treats.  For dogs you can get treat pods for tablets, an easy to use one which comes to mind is Vivi Treats.  This can be squashed and moulded around most tablets, and dogs love them so most of the time they are straight down the hatch!  Now cats on the other hand will not enjoy the dog treats and also they tend to be a little bit to big for their not so delicate little mouths.  After years of practice I have found that using the Webbox stick treats work really well, you can break them off to a size just a little bit bigger than the tablet then split them in half, length ways creating a little pocket you can pop the tablet in and squash it back together.
  • Some capsule medication can be sprinkled straight over the food or mixed and can be quite palatable (or so the people who make it claim!!!).  Always check with your veterinary surgeon that you can split, crush or sprinkle medications before you do.

Ok so the above tips hopefully will work for most of you, but there is always going to be the odd more suspicious bundle of fur that will not take anything in any way shape or form.  So what can you do?  Well there are 3 options left.  You can ask your vet if there is any alternative treatment/medication that can be used, the straight down the hatch technique or the Pill Giver.

Straight Down the Hatch!

For the brave souls out there that can manage this with no problem at all we salute you!  For those that are about to undertake this fete, have a read of this first for some pointers.

Cats!
If you have a cat that is placid and you know your not going to come out of this like something that’s been put through a shredder then this will be easy.

  • Sit your cat on a firm sturdy surface.  Holding on to the tablet all ready to go,  put one hand round the top of your cat’s head making sure that you are not covering their eyes as this will frighten them and they are more likely to freak out.  Holding their head firmly but to not to firm where you think you’re gonna pop their little heads.  Tilt the head back slowly.
  • As you tilt the head back with your other hand holding the tablet, use a finger to just push the lower jaw open.
  • Once the jaw is open drop the tablet into the back of the mouth as far back on the tongue as you can get, the further back you get it the less likely it is that your cat will be able to spit it back at you.
  • Sometimes you may need to use a finger to assist pushing the tablet back far enough.  Careful of those pearly whites.
  • Once the tablet is in hold the mouth closed and wait for them to swallow, this should mean that the tablet has gone.  Sometimes gently stroking them under the chin and neck can encourage them to swallow.

If your cat is not as placid then having a helping hand can be an option.  Get you helping hand to sit your cat on a firm surface with cats back to them (this will stop them reversing).  They can then hold those little front legs down, holding them around the elbow area and pushing the legs gently on to the surface they are sat on.  This then leaves you free to try the above technique with out those Freddy Krueger like paws getting you.  If the little darling is still being difficult and is using the back legs and managing to turn themselves practically upside down and inside out, then try wrapping them in a towel this is called the Purreto.  Lay a towel out flat, sit the little light of your life on the towel, and pull it up under their chin keeping the legs inside and wrap it snuggly round their back.  This should keep the ninja paws at bay.

Dogs!
They can be just as difficult to tablet as cats,  they are bigger, stronger and can drag you round your living room.

  • Have the tablet ready in one hand to give and get your dog to sit either by your side or with their bum against a wall. (this will stop the reverse, retreat tactic)
  • Place one hand over the top of their muzzle, make sure you do not cover their nose, we all like to breath and that’s not going to help.
  • Using the hand that’s over the muzzle gently squeeze their lips against their teeth and tip the head slowly back.
  • With the other hand that holding the tablet push the lower jaw down and either drop or push the tablet back as far onto the back of your tongue as you can.  Always be careful of those fine set of gnashers.
  • Close the mouth quickly and hold closed until they have swallowed

Pill Givers!
These can be very useful!  They kind of look like a syringe with no needle on it, they have a soft end on them that you can get the tablet to sit in.  There is plunger on the other end that you push down when you are deploying the tablet.  These can be especially useful if your little angel is very adapt at using their teeth to say no.  It means no hands in the mouth.  Yay!!!  The Pill Givers can be used by following all the above techniques for the Down the Hatch Section!  Just make sure that before you do that triumphant I won dance, there is no tablet still sitting in the end of the Pill Giver.

So there we have it! No one said it was going to be easy, but hopefully this post has given you a few ideas.  If you have any other tips then leave a comment we would love to share ideas.  Also if you have any questions then fire away!

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How to keep your pet cool and safe this summer

Yay ! Summer time is here it’s so lovely and the animals will love it …. wrong ! I mean , Alaskan malamutes can’t exactly strip down into a bikini to cool off can they ?! and have you ever seen a Persian paddle around in a pool sipping a pina colada  ?!   There are dozens of  emergencies we see at this time of  year, many of which can easily be prevented . This article is just giving a heads up to things that can happen to animals during these warmer months and survival tips!

Heat stroke

For those of you that have ever experienced this yourself it’s pretty awful and in severe cases can be fatal. This one is a biggie, we see this an awful lot in practice , usually with dogs.

  • Keep your pet in a shaded cool area – bring small furries inside if it’s cooler
  • dogs can be hosed down with cold water
  • take dogs for a walk at cooler times in the day such as early morning or late evening not at midday when the temperature is at its hottest
  • Don’t be tempted to cover your animal in cold wet towels this can trap the heat under the towel and actually make them worse off . Getting your animal to sit on cold wet towels is a great idea though
  • Make sure your pet has access to plenty of drinking water to keep hydrated. You can even add some ice cubes in their bowls to keep it nice and cool .
  • ice packs can be placed under pet beds but make sure your pet doesn’t chew them. There are fancy ice packs available for pets in shops nowadays too and cooling jackets !
  • Some people freeze treats in ice blocks – tasty cool snacks and entertains them !
  • Children size paddling pools are great for doggies to go for a skinny dip and cool off
  • Short back and sides – get your summer hair cut on !
  • Fans and air con – thumbs up!
  • Brachycephalics – such as pugs, bulldogs, frenchies , Persian cats ,so basically anything with a short muzzle like these breeds will struggle more in warmer weather -they can overheat pretty quickly so it’s really important to keep them cool
  • cats do love to bask in the sun and sunbathe on window sills don’t they ? Keep a close eye on them discourage them from sitting there if getting to hot (some signs include heavier breathing and panting) you could place ice packs in their favourite basking spots to help keep them cool
  • conservatories , greenhouses and cars – don’t cook your pets ! have you tried sitting in these on a hot day ?!
  • Feathery friends can be quite sensitive to heat so make sure you keep them in a cool environment too

 

 

Burnt paws

General rule – if the floor is too hot for you to walk on bare foot then it’s too hot for your pet and severe burns can occur on their tootsies

Sunburn

Yep your pets can get sunburn just like us, especially in white cats and dogs and pinkie coloured noses . You can apply sun cream to prominent pink bits – ear tips are a really common area to get sunkissed. Make sure the sun cream is pet friendly and minimise the time your pet sits in direct sunlight .

Beach walks

Agggh ! the dreaded beach walk …. I can hear the phone’s ringing now with emergency stitch ups , ingested foreign bodies , adder bites and even incidences of drowning.

Unfortunately beaches can be very cluttered with all sorts of rubbish that your dog can injure themselves on and even try to eat.

Fishing hooks are a classic thing for dogs to eat on a beach usually with a  line and stinky rotten fish on the end which is of course a doggie delicacy! Don’t be tempted to pull the fishing  line it can cause serious damage as it could be lodged somewhere in your dogs tummy and if you have to cut the fishing line sticking out from your dog’s mouth just don’t cut it too short because your vet will have even more trouble removing it.

If your pet get’s a cut or graze apply pressure to the wound where active bleeding is occurring and try to clean the wound if possible tap water is fine for this and avoid getting sand in the wound.  Call your vet for further advice , it is likely your dog will require pain relief and antibiotic treatment a funky bandage and sometimes surgery.

If your dog likes to swim be wary of debris under foot and study the local tide times we wouldn’t want your pet to get swept out to sea.

 

Keep your dog on a long lead so you can pull them back to safety and I’m sure there are doggie life jackets available somewhere  on-line !

Long grass on sand dunes are a perfect place for adders to hang out so do be careful if passing through areas like this  , keep your dog on a lead and if your suspect your dog has been bitten call your vet straight away as a special anti venom will need to be given

clifftop walks – Yeah…it seems like a good idea at the time… until dogs fall or take a leap of faith off the edge – please be careful, dogs on leads people and keep safe !

Another thing I’ve seen in practice – a dog ate a tonne of sand on a beach and was severely bloated his tummy looked like a football – so yeah, I wouldn’t advise you letting your dog eat sand after seeing that . He was fine by the way after a lot of pain relief and pooping out a few sand castles !

Fly strike

Ok, so this is one is aimed at the small furries . Fly strike is really common among rabbits , especially ones who still haven’t lost their Christmas weight (a bit podgy!) so basically if the rabbit isn’t able to reach down and keep his /her bum clean because their tummy is in the way this will attract flies and they will lay eggs on the rabbit and these hatch out on the bunny and pretty much eat the rabbit alive sorry if your squeamish .  It really is like something from a horror film when we see them in practice. Sometimes it’s so severe fatalities occur and it’s excruciating for the bunny .

The same process happens with cuts and grazes they may have and if the rabbit is kept in dirty living conditions. It can happen to Guinea pigs too .

Check your small furry at least once a day ,keep them clean and their environment clean too . There are products such as rearguard which can be applied to prevent fly strike.

Fleas and ticks

These blood sucking parasites are rife at this time of year . Not only are they annoying and give us and our pets the itch and want to flame throw the house but diseases can also be transferred to your pet and yourself from these critters. Fleas can spread myxomatosis between rabbits and ticks can transfer lymes disease to dogs and us ! Avoid long grass and use adequate flea and tick prevention advised by your vet.

Oh and if you see a tick on your pet don’t pull it off you can cause more damage as the head of the tick can be left embedded in your pet’s skin causing infections and abscesses gross right?! there’s a special technique and tool used for removing them.  Call your vet – nurses can demonstrate safe removal of them so your prepared for the next sucker !

 

always seek veterinary advice from your own veT
Other than that keep calm and enjoy your summer guys!
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