Virtual Library | Medicating Your Pet at Home

If only giving medications to your pet was as easy as waving a magic wand. Over the years, we have mastered the art of successfully administering eye drops, ointment and pills with the least amount of frustration. Check our step-by-step tips and tricks!

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ALL PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS should be continued until specifically directed to discontinue. If a medication is running low, please call the prescribing veterinarian for a refill in a timely manner.

If only giving medications to your pet was as easy as waving a magic wand.

Animals have an intuitive sense of reading our emotions. If we’re nervous about having to give them a pill or eye drops, they will become anxious too. The best approach is to face the situation with confidence, kindness — and a few tried-and-true techniques.

Over the years, we have mastered the art of successfully administering eye drops, ointment and pills with the least amount of frustration for our pet patients, and we are happy to share the following step-by-step guidelines with you. As always, make sure you understand the medication instructions before you leave your appointment, and ask your veterinarian or veterinary technician for any advice they may have.

We hope our Tips & Tricks will help make the medication application smooth and painless for both you and your pet!

  1. How to administer eye drops to an animal.Place your pet on a table or counter top, if possible, to bring them out of their natural environment and better under your control.
  2. Place a towel or blanket on the surface so they feel secure.
  3. Before applying the drops*, use a clean, warm washcloth to remove any mucus or discharge from the eye.
  4. Hold your pet gently, but firmly, in front of you with their back towards you. If your pet is wiggly, you may try wrapping them in a blanket to secure them.
  5. Using your non-dominant hand, lift the chin upwards and pull back the top eyelid, then apply one drop of the medication.
  6. As long as the drop lands anywhere between the eyelids, you have successfully administered the medication!

*Note: Only one drop per eye, per treatment is required. If multiple drops are to be given at the same time of day, they must be spread 5-10 minutes apart.

  1. How to administer eye ointment to an animal.If both drops and ointments are part of your pet’s post-care plan, always apply the drop first, and then wait 5-10 minutes before applying the ointment.
  2. Follow steps 2-4 above to place your pet in the optimal position for administering the medication.
  3. Using your non-dominant hand, gently compress the tube to allow a small amount of ointment to escape the tip (approximately 1/4 inch in length).
  4. Using the same hand, manually open the eyelid and drape the released ointment on the surface of the eye, taking care not to make contact with the eye.
  5. Gently close the eyelids to assist with dispersion of the ointment on the surface of the eye.
  • How to give an animal a pillFor small pills, try hiding it in a small treat for your pet, such as cream cheese, peanut butter, liverwurst, chicken baby food or a “pill pocket.” If this doesn’t work, try crushing the pill and mixing it in with these treats or your pet’s wet food.
  • If the above steps don’t work, you may need to manually pill your pet. For a small dog or cat, first wrap it snugly in a towel (like a burrito) to increase their security, prevent scratching and give you better control. For larger pets, place them in a sitting position on a nonslip surface in the corner of a room for security.
  • Using your non-dominant hand, grasp the head from above and under the jaw and lift the nose toward the ceiling.
  • Using your dominant hand, grasp the pill between your thumb and index finger and use the middle finger to pull downward and open the lower jaw.
  • Drop or place the pill on the back of the throat (be careful not to get bitten).
  • Finally, massage the throat, or follow with a small amount of water in a syringe to ensure that the pill is swallowed.