Giving my cat a pill is a difficult, sometimes bloody, endeavor. How do I make this easier on both of us?
Giving cats pills is not an easy task, especially if you need to do it on a daily, long-term basis. Here are some of the techniques that can be useful:
Use a pill gun or an applicator to drop the pill in the back of the throat, then gently rub on the throat. And you can follow with some water to help in moving the pill along by using a teaspoon or a syringe.
Use a rich treat to mask the pill. Something like "pill pockets," cheese or peanut butter might be helpful, so long as they are not allergic to one of these treats. Try giving a treat without a pill, then the treat with pill, and then another regular treat to help the pet not always associate the treat with a pill in the center.
Flavored dough is another product that can be tried to wrap the pill.
Sometimes crushing a pill to mix in melted cheese or peanut butter and later freezing each pill individually might work. You do want to check with your veterinarian to see whether it's OK to crush the pill before trying this.
Some cats prefer a liquid medication. Check with your veterinarian to see whether the medication comes in a liquid form.
Compounding pharmacies also play a big role in making these medications appealing to cats. Variations can be done and flavors added that can make them more palatable. Check with your veterinarian about compounding medications.
Some cats are just not going to take the pills without a fight. If medicating is making your cat more stressed, and it's not helping with the treatment, ask your vet about other treatment options like injectable medications, if available.
This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email email@example.com.