Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pet Product of the Month

As a pet sitter, giving medications to pets is a big part of my job. It can also be the biggest challenge, especially when it comes to medicating cats. Dogs are usually pretty easy considering they will eat almost anything you wrap a pill in; peanut butter, cream cheese, cheese, wet food meatball, hot dog, bread, etc. Some dogs will eat a pill if you just throw it in with their food. One of our dogs (Duke) has hypothyroid and has to take a pill twice a day. I typically give it to him in a small piece of cheese. He thinks "getting his pill" is actually getting a treat and looks forward to it. He will usually remind me if I forget too. Of course our other three dogs think they are missing out and they come running to get a "pill" too! No problem giving pills to these dogs! Dogs are easy! (Except if they don't want to eat anything in which case you give it the old fashioned way - down the throat.)

On the other hand, cats can sometimes be much more difficult to give medications to! (And yes, there are some cats I cannot administer medications to.) With cats you have to be creative. If you have a cat who doesn't mind getting pilled or taking some liquid medication, that's great. Some cats are real easy-going about taking oral medications and even shots like insulin injections. Some cats may be easy-going for their people-parents and not so happy about it when someone else is doing it! I have administered just about every kind of medication in a variety of ways. Of course it's better if you can give a cat medication without it knowing it's getting it; like hiding it in their wet food. Some medications can be compounded into special kitty flavored soft treats (check with your veterinarian). If your cat likes the treats (ask for placebos to try first) this works great! Some medications can be compounded into creams that you just wipe inside their ear and it is absorbed through the skin. In some cases this is much easier especially if the cat needs medication long term and is not a good candidate for pilling and won't eat the treats. 

Another great invention is Pill Pockets! These are small soft treats shaped like a cup. You put the pill in the cup and pinch it shut. Pill Pockets come in several different flavors; for dogs: beef, chicken or duck and pea for dogs with allergies; for cats: salmon, chicken or the duck and pea for cats with allergies. Of course, again, the key is the cat has to like the treats. Some cats may like one flavor and not the other. You may have to rotate the flavors when they get tired of one. For this reason I keep all three flavors on hand. If your cat likes the Pill Pockets it makes giving medications so easy and stress free. (Tip: If the pill is really small, try using just a half of a pill pocket.) With cats you just have to be creative and try different methods to see which one works best for your feline with the least amount of stress for the both of you!

Pill Pockets can be purchased at most retail or on-line pet supply stores. I found the best price at (If placing your first order from them, tell them Beth VanDusen/customer # 16230690 referred you.)