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Administering Medication to Your Chihuahua – Part One

Administering Medication to Your Chihuahua – Part One

Types of Medications

We all hope that our pets never get sick, but if something does go wrong it is better to see a veterinarian sooner rather than later.

Catching a problem early often means that whatever medications you take home can be done for a shorter time period than if you let the problem get out of control.

The most common medication prescribed by veterinarians come in the form of pills or liquids to be taken by mouth.  

If your Chihuahua has an ear or eye problem you will be given drops or ointments to administer directly to the affected area. 

In the case of more serious illnesses such as diabetes you may be shown how to give injections and check blood sugar levels.  This type of treatment will be ongoing for the life of your Chi so make sure you ask questions and understand how to give the injections.  Veterinarians and their staff are trained to do these types of things; the average pet owner is not. 

Oral Medication 

Although your Chihuahua is about the same size as a cat, be thankful it’s a dog.  Dogs are usually easier to pill than cats and they don’t often try to rake you with their claws!  Most Chi owners find that giving a pill can be done most easily by hiding the pill in a yummy treat.  Try cheese, peanut butter or part of a wiener.  Keep the portion as small as possible to get your dog to eat it otherwise the calories can add up. Little dogs like Chihuahuas need to be careful with their weight to avoid knee and joint problems. 

If your Chi is very smart – and they often are – they will manage to eat the treat and leave the pill.  The next option many owners try is crushing the pill into a treat or their regular meal.  This is problematic because many pills taste bitter when crushed and unless your Chi eats the entire treat or meal you are not getting all the medication into your pet. 

Sometimes the only way to give a pill to your Chi is “down the hatch”. You need to open your Chi’s mouth and pop the pill to the very back of the throat.  Hold your Chi’s mouth closed and rub the throat to encourage swallowing.  If your little guy or girl stubbornly refuses to swallow, then use a syringe to squirt a little water into the side of the cheek.  This will often make them swallow.  There are websites online which give step-by-step instructions and even provide videos on how to give your dog a pill if you still have problems.

Liquid medication can be given by squirting into the side of the cheek. Remember to go slow and give your Chi breaks in between.  Squirting the entire dose at one time usually means both you and your little one end up wearing half the medication which doesn’t help your  dog much.

Remember to praise a lot and give a treat and some extra love afterwards.  Your Chi will hopefully associate medication time with good food and love and the experience won’t turn into an ordeal.

The Last Resort

If you find it impossible to give your Chihuahua oral medication talk to your veterinarian about what your options are.  Although small, Chis can put up a fight when they want to so you’re not the first owner to have this problem.  Sometimes oral medications can be compounded at a pharmacy into a transdermal formula.  These formulations are applied directly to the skin and absorbed into the body.

If your Chi is taking antibiotics there is an injectable form which can be given once and lasts as a slow release drug for two weeks.  This is extremely convenient but is not used as often because it costs more and because it is not effective on all bacteria.  It doesn’t hurt to ask if your Chi is a candidate for this drug.

The very last resort is taking your Chi to the vet’s office and having them give the pill.  Most vets are happy to help however they can so don’t be afraid to ask.

In the next article we will talk about ear and eye medications and giving injections.

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