Select a location that will put as little stress on you and on your pet as possible, such as the living room or kitchen. Choose a chair or couch that allows you to put your feet firmly on the floor from a seated position and that will not force you to reach awkwardly for the capsule or pill gun. If your dog is medium-sized or large, put your dog into a secure sit, positioned between your legs, with its back to you. If your dog is very small, it will be easier if it sits on your lap or on a table.
Unlike a child, a dog cannot understand your explanation of why it is necessary to take a capsule to eliminate an infection or to reduce its pain. Because it is not likely to take a capsule willingly, you might have to force your dog to take the medication that can relieve its ailments or save its life. Even if your dog is willing to take its medication with little fuss, knowing proper pill-giving procedure can save both time and effort.
Securing and Positioning Your Dog
Opening Your Dog’s Mouth
Place one hand over your dog’s muzzle. Your thumb should be on one side of its mouth and your fingers should be on the other side, positioned right behind the dog’s whiskers. Be careful not to poke your fingers or any whiskers into your dog’s eyes, especially with a small dog. Simultaneously apply pressure to both sides of your dog’s muzzle and tilt its head back. Your dog should open its mouth automatically.
Using a Pill Gun
Before you even seat your dog, prepare your pill gun. Remove the capsule from the bottle or package. Pull back the pill gun plunger and secure the capsule at the pill gun tip. Place the pill gun where you can easily reach it when you are ready to give your dog its pill. Once you have seated your dog and opened its mouth, pick up the pill gun. Hold the pill gun as you would a syringe, with two fingers under the cross pieces and your thumb on the plunger. Point it toward the back of your dog’s mouth. Do not point the gun directly down its throat or it may choke on the capsule as it is released. Use your thumb to push down on the plunger. Close your dog’s mouth and hold it shut. Encourage it to swallow by gently stroking its throat. Give your dog a piece of soft food or a treat. Not only is this food or treat a reward for your dog, but it is also more likely to swallow the capsule if it has not yet done so.
Giving a Pill by Hand
Remove the capsule from the bottle. Place it on a flat surface within easy reach. Seat the dog and open its mouth, as above. Using the hand that holds the capsule, gently push down on the front of your dog’s lower jaw until his tongue pushes up and forward. Place the capsule behind the tongue, at the back of your dog’s mouth. If your dog begins to gag, you’re trying to place the capsule too far back. Encourage your dog to swallow and treat your dog, as above.
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