How To Give A Dog Pills, Three Easy Methods

I started writing this article on how to give a dog pills as I have just given my fourteen year old Jack Russell, Murdoch, the last of a total of fifteen days worth of antibiotics, two tablets, twice a day. He had to have ten day’s worth before his operation (infected tooth) and five days after.

Even though Murdoch is an old sweetie and would never dream of biting me, he is also a cunning old rogue and at first, even when I thought the pill had been safely swallowed, he would somehow manage to manipulate it to the corner of his mouth so that it fell out onto the floor!

This set me to thinking that with something as crucial as a long-term medical condition or for preventative heartworm medication when it is vital that all of the medication goes down, every time, without fail to ensure that the dog is effectively protected against a heart worm infection, that other owners might also like some tips on how to give their dogs pills and tablets effectively.

So, I have been gathering information from across the Internet. Some has been posted by pet owners in forums, some by animal healthcare professionals but in amongst them, I hope you find something useful that will help you and your dog. I will reveal my method of choice at the end of this page!

Three Methods For Giving A Dog Pills That You Could Try

My Dog Murdoch

This is Murdoch now aged 14 who has recently had to have a course of antibiotics for an infected tooth

This is Murdoch now aged 14 who has recently had to have a course of antibiotics for an infected tooth[/caption]The first method is called the pill push method and is exactly as the name suggests. You need to first, gently open your dog’s mouth, and hold his jaw open with one hand whilst pushing the pill as far as you can down over the dog’s tongue. With a small dog this is not so tricky, especially if you have someone else to hold the dog in their arms.

  • To ensure the pill goes down, there are a few tricks that will help.
  • Hold the mouth closed, lift his nose up and gently rub his throat to encourage swallowing.
  • Blow on the dog’s nose whilst you are holding his mouth closed, this also encourages swallowing.
  • Talk to your dog the whole time, encouraging him and be sure to give him a tasty treat afterwards so that he associates submitting to the pill swallowing with something nice at the end.

This video effectively demonstrates the pill push method and shows another way of getting your dog to swallow too!
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Why You Should Always Get A Heartworm Test When Changing Preventatives

We recently found out a very important reason for getting your dog tested for heartworm any time you change preventives. Don’t get caught out – read on!

There are a few reasons why you might decide to change the brand or type of preventative heartworm treatment that you are giving your dog. For example, it might turn out that your dog is, or has become, allergic to the chewable brand you have been using, you might decide that you want to change to a spot-on method rather than an oral tablet or chewable, or you might just decide that you want to change to a less expensive, generic version. Whatever the reason, it is important to ensure that your vet does a test at the time you are wanting to change – and here is why!

Another picture of Ginger

this is Doug’s dog Ginger – you can read about his experiences when he found out Ginger was heartworm positive by using the link provided

We recently published a reader’s heartworm story from Doug (read about his dog, Ginger’s experiences here). It came to light that despite never having missed a dose of preventive medicine, Ginger still tested positive for heart worm and needed treatment with Immiticide to kill the adult worms.

Because Doug had never missed any of the medication doses, he contacted the manufacturer because under the guarantee, he expected that the cost of the treatment would be paid for. However, although the manufacturer was very helpful, they would not pay for the full cost of the treatment, only for the cost of the drugs needed.

This was because, as they pointed out, (quite fairly, I think), that as Doug’s dog was not tested for heartworm before changing to their brand from another manufacturer’s brand, it was possible that Ginger was heartworm positive before even starting on the new meds.

This only goes to highlight how vital it is to get this checked and for the few dollars a heart worm test costs is could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Of course, it is very rare indeed for preventatives to fail to protect an animal when given consistently, as directed and on time but if you check out Doug’s experience, I think you will agree that it is better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading

Ginger’s Heartworm Tale

This is another in our “Reader’s Heartworm Stories” series and I am very grateful to Doug for sending us this story about his dog Ginger and for the wonderful pictures – thank you Doug!

GingerGinger was about 9 months old in March 2009 when I adopted her from a rescue shelter in New Orleans (where I was living at the time).  The shelter staff told me that she had tested negative for heartworms and had been placed on monthly preventatives starting after she was tested, and they provided me paperwork that testified to this.  After adopting Ginger, I kept her on monthly heartworm preventative tablets starting right away.  I chose to use Iverhart Plus brand at first, because they were the cheapest option that my vet sold.

In November 2009, I took Ginger to the vet to get the recommended follow-up heartworm test and restock my supply of her preventative medication.  The results of this test showed that she was heartworm positive.  The vet told me that the treatment would cost over $900, which I could not afford at the time.  The vet then told me that since Ginger was young and healthy, and showed no symptoms of illness, I could just keep her on the monthly preventatives and keep an eye out for changes in her health, and that the worms would slowly die over time.  I continued to use Iverhart for the next six months.

In April 2010, I took Ginger to a low-cost vet at Petco for her vaccinations and another heartworm test.  To my great pleasure, the results of this test turned out negative.  At this time, I switched to Heartgard Plus brand of preventatives.  I think the reason I switched was because that was the only brand this vet sold, and the price was also the same as I was previously paying for the other brand.  I stayed with this brand from that point on.  Although I later moved to Atlanta for a year, the vets there allowed me to purchase more Heartgard without re-testing for heartworms.

Ginger Tests Positive for Heartworms

In October 2011, Ginger moved with me to New York state.  Her preventative tablets were almost out, and I found a discount veterinary pharmacy online that had a good deal on Heartgard, but required proof of a recent negative heartworm test.  So, I went to the local Petco the next time that their vet was in.  This time, Ginger’s test results were positive.  I then took her to a regular veterinary clinic near my home for a second test.  I was told that the type of test they did there was more complex and reliable than the other.  But the results of this test turned out the same—positive. Continue reading

Vets Warn Of Increased Heartworm Incidence In 2012

I have been reading a lot of information published online by Vets just recently, highlighting the seriousness of the heartworm situation this year.

An article by Julie Damron, a vet at the Sierra Veterinary Clinic in Stockton, California reported that in a normal year, they probably diagnose six or seven dogs with heartworm disease – this year (and her article was published May 12th), they have already diagnosed five dogs.

Julie goes on to say that in the past, many of the cases diagnosed were dogs that had contracted the disease when travelling outside the state of California, but this year most of her heart worm patients had not.

She attributes the rise in incidence of the disease to changing weather patterns, in particular, rainfall changes which have caused increased numbers of the mosquitoes that carry the disease. (Find link to Julie’s full article at foot of the page)

Animal Parasite Council Predict Increased Heartworm Cases In 2012

Heartworm spread across the US

This Google Maps image shows the approximate location of the three veterinary clinics mentioned in this article - showing the increased incidence of heartworm is spread right across the country.

Almost three thousand miles away on the opposite side of the country, Central Veterinary Associates at Valley Stream NY, are warning in an open press release published online on 15th May, that the Companion Animal Parasite Council are forecasting higher incidence of heartworm disease Nationwide in 2012 and predicting “high” levels in the North Eastern States including NY State.

heartworm mosquitoCentral Veterinary Associates go on to warn pet owners that there are more of the mosquitoes that transmit the disease around this spring after a mild winter.

With temperatures rising they too are predicting higher than normal incidences of pets becoming infected this spring.

Dr Steven Fox, who is President/CEO at Central Veterinary Associates said in the press release:-

“We urge all pet owners to test their pets for heart worm disease and begin a regimen of heartworm preventatives if they have not done so already. The warmer weather provides a great opportunity for your pets to go outside for a walk or to run around, but it also means that they will be exposed to mosquitoes. It will be much easier and healthier for your pet to prevent these infections from occurring than having to treat them.”

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