Everyone hates being sick, but pet owners especially hate it when precious furry loved ones are sick. The parental instincts kick in and sometimes what the vet said is misunderstood, altered, or just ignored. It can happen because of the best of intentions, but it can be dangerous. Sometimes veterinarians will recommend an over the counter (OTC) medication for the animal like Imodium, Pepto, Benadryl, etc., but that doesn’t mean that every OTC medication is safe for pets. There are times when specially formulated animal medications are required, and just like human medications, it is important that they are administered as recommended. Incorrectly administered medications can complications and side effects.
Once the veterinarian has that battle over, it is important to pay attention and ask questions to make sure the pet owner understands how much medication will be in a dose, how often the dose is given, and exactly where and how to give the pet the medication. Taking notes is perfectly acceptable and even desireable. It is also important to know if the medication can be given in food, broken up, and if it has to be taken on an empty stomach. An ointment for an eye infection will not help the infection if given to a dog orally. Actually, there is a high chance that an ointment for the pet’s eye, if given orally, will make the pet much sicker. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as are needed to understand. Also, a lot of veterinarians can print out an information form of the medication, that way there will be no questions later. Anytime there is confusion, call the veterinarian’s office; veterinarians want to make sure the pet gets the correct treatment just as much as the pet owner.
Pets are not always known for cooperating when taking medications. It is not possible to sit them down and explain why they need to take something that likely tastes and smells bad. The veterinarian can recommend ways to help administer a specific medication that will not inhibit the effectiveness. There are techniques for each type of animal that the veterinarian can go over. Aside from the treat and reward system, there are a few other products out there to assist. Depending on the oral medication, a pill pocket kind of treat is just fine, but not all pills can be chewed. Another option is a pill dropper or pill gun. It helps to do a similar function as giving the medication by hand, but keeps hands and fingers out of bite range.
It can be hard enough to remember to your own medication, let alone on for a pet. There are many ways to help remember. Setting the alarm on a computer or cell phone is an effective way to receive timely reminders for pet medications. There are even apps available on smartphones that be the perfect reminded, plus they will keep track of when the last dosage was administered in the case of as needed medications for pain and other issues.
Overall, it is just as important to follow a veterinarian’s prescription order as a human doctor. Medications are an important part of keeping pets healthy and happy. It doesn’t matter if the medication is preventative, maintenance, or curative. If medications are not given correctly to pets, the condition could get worse and in some cases, fatal.