A few weeks ago I took my 8-year-old English Bulldog to the vet. I thought he'd get his annual shots and we'd be on our way. Instead, he was diagnosed with arthritis (which I suspected) and I was also given the news that it was finally time to surgically correct his protruding third eyelid. Bummer.
Last week my dog went under the knife. Not only did they correct his eyelid, he also got a dental cleaning, and had his far-too-long nails trimmed back. The poor puppy was a mess. He came home, woozy from the anesthesia, and staggered around my living room like someone who had spent too many hours at the bar. But, in the days since, he's healing well.
Not only have my dog and I had to deal with the massive Elizabethan collar he's wearing, we've also had to deal with his multiple medications. It hasn't been fun. I've done some searching for tips on the web and gotten some advice from my vet on administering medications to dogs. I'll share the tips after the break.
- Angle your dog's head up, then put the syringe with measured medicine inside his cheek pouch and administer the medicine. My dog has very loose cheek pouches, so I've found it best to open his mouth a bit to insert the syringe.
- According to Dogs for Dummies, you should place a towel over your lap and encourage your dog to rest his head on your knees. Gently hold his ear, insert the drops, and rub your dogs ear. I've never had to give my dog ear drops, but my sister has to give them to her English Setter. She has the most luck when she lightly taps his nose with one finger to distract him while she's inserting the drops. After the drops are in, her dog loves to have his ears rubbed.
- Dogs for Dummies recommends sitting with your dog between your knees and angling their head up so you can hit them with the drops from behind.
- My dog is currently wearing an Elizabethan collar (E-collar) so the Dogs for Dummies method won't work for us. I've found that it works best if I give him his antibiotic pill in a bit of peanut butter first then -- while he's busy smacking on the treat -- sneak the drops in his eye. My vet assures me that they overfill the bottles a bit because they know that not every drop will hit its target.
- When my dog had his other eye operated on (cherry eye is a common condition for Bulldogs) the vet gave me a gel. It was easy to administer by rubbing a bit on with my finger, but my dog hated it with a passion.
Whatever medication your dog is receiving, it's important for you to stay calm while administering it. Dogs are sensitive creatures -- if you're nervous, they'll pick up on that. Use a soothing voice and distract your dog from what you're doing. When the pill, shot, or drops have been successfully administered, be sure to praise your best friend for a job well done.