How to Give a Dog Intramuscular Injections


Injections are often a normal part of your veterinarian’s care for your dog. Although you depend on your veterinarian to administer most of the injections given to your dog, there are times when you may have to do it yourself. For example, your dog may be diabetic and require insulin therapy to remain healthy. Still, many pet owners are nervous about administering the medication themselves and require a little practice. Follow the steps below to administer an intramuscular injection to your dog.

Choose a quiet place with good lighting to administer the injection. Be sure the dog is standing on a non-slippery surface. Ask a friend or family member to help you restrain the dog. He should only use enough restraint to keep the dog in place and keep the dog’s head under control.

Decide where to administer the injection. The medication your are administering or your veterinarian may suggest a particular injection site. Always defer to those instructions. Avoid diseased or injured areas. Other than that, choose whatever muscle you feel comfortable using. Most people choose the rear flank.

Part the fur at the injection site so that you can see the skin. It is not necessary to sterilize the injection site unless it is particularly unclean. If you feel you need to clean the area, swap the area with alcohol. Make sure the area is completely dry before you proceed.

Uncap the sterile need and syringe and hold it the way you would a pencil. Alert the handler that you will be administering the injection now, so that she will not be surprised. Insert the needle into the skin using a slow, continuous push through the skin and into the muscle at a ninety-degree angle. Be sure that the needle is inserted its full length and then push the plunger down to administer all of the medicine inside the liquid.

Withdraw the needle carefully. Dispose of the needle and syringe into a properly labeled needle disposal container. Massage the injection site gently for a few seconds to encourage the material to dissipate. It may also relieve some of the discomfort of the injection for the dog.

Tips & Warnings

  • The quieter and more confident you approach this, the less likely the dog will resist the injection.
  • Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate giving an intramuscular injection to your dog before you do it at home, so you can see it done in person.
  • Some dogs will resist injection administration no matter how good you are at doing it. To avoid injury, consider muzzling the dog to avoid being bitten.

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