Tips for Giving Your Pet Medications after Dental Surgery

how to give a dog a pill after dental surgery - white husky

Tips for Giving Your Pet Medications after Dental Surgery

Giving our cats and dogs medication always tends to cause some anxiety among pet owners. When oral surgery is involved, this can increase that worry. As a vet dentistry clinic in Colorado Springs (with offices in Denver, Loveland and Castle Rock), we want to discuss the many options for how to give your pet a pill or liquid medication after dental surgery. Ultimately, keeping them pain-free and eating is the goal to strive for!

Oral surgery can be in varying degrees, from a routine, single extraction to a fractured jaw.  All of which we think “Oh no, now I have to open my pet’s mouth and give him pain medication!” Medications come in many forms, and some are more effective than others.  

Pills and Capsules

We all know the pill and capsule form. Typically, these are easy to give to our canine companions, but not so much for the feline variety! Most pills or capsules can be hidden in a small meatball of canned food or a hot dog. Other options that work well to sneak a pill past our furry companion include peanut butter, cream cheese, cheese whiz, bread or even lunchmeat and sliced cheese. 

If your pet has food allergies, marshmallows (or marshmallow fluff) are a great pill disguiser and are hypoallergenic as well. Marshmallows pull apart and are sticky so you can easily hide multiple pills inside one. Some kitties will even eat marshmallows. 

Another option for hiding pills are Pill Pockets, a soft treat with an indentation meant to wrap around the pill and given as a treat. Pill Pockets have a dog and cat version with many flavors to choose from and can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office or a local pet store. Fig newtons are like Pill Pockets. They are soft and malleable and can also work well to mask those particularly distasteful medications. 

Liquid Medications

Liquid or medications in a suspension are the next commonly prescribed form. While still generally unpleasant, this can be easier as the pet’s mouth does not need to be opened. Sometimes just placing the liquid into the cheek pouch with a syringe can be enough.  

Most liquid medications can be mixed with canned food, clam juice, tuna juice or even chicken baby food! By applying peanut butter or cheese whiz to the tip of a dropper or syringe, you can administer the liquid while they are enjoying the yummy treat! 

The veterinary dentists at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery work with compounding pharmacies to help make medications less bitter and in higher concentrations so there is a smaller amount to be given. This makes medicating your pet even easier.  

Transdermal Medications

Transdermal medications are topical forms of various pharmaceuticals, which can be applied to the inner ear flap of dogs and cats. Transdermal medications—especially those prescribed for pain— have been reported to be less effective. They are generally an alternative option giving if liquids and/or pills are not working. 

Tips for Giving Oral Medications after Dental Surgery

Whether you are trying out pill pockets or tuna juice, here are a few tips to remember. Have your pet try the food, medication free. If he eats it with gusto, then try adding the medication. Some pets (especially cats) are exceptionally good at picking up when you have added medications to food. See if your pet is even interested in whatever you choose to hide it in, before adding the pill or liquid to it. If you are using pill pockets or some soft malleable treat, ensure the hand that is placing the pill into the treat is washed prior to molding it around the pill. Many pills/capsules have a bitter powder that lingers and after you touch the pill, it can transfer to the treat, potentially causing the pet to notice and not eat it.

Veterinary Dentists in Colorado Springs

If the above options are not working, do not get discouraged. Keep in contact with your veterinarian’s office if you are having difficulty or are unable to give medications. Pain can get out of control and the longer a pet is not getting pain management, the more difficult it can be to catch up.  Veterinary technicians are skilled and can demonstrate for you the best ways to avoid causing your pet pain while medicating them. The doctors and staff at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery are happy to help you and your pet through the healing process.

Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash (1/19/2021)