When you are giving tablets to your dog, it may be possible simply to disguise them in food, such as a piece of meat, which can then be added to the dog’s meal. You must check that the tablet is actually consumed, rather than simply being left in the bottom of the bowl. Should this method fail, then you are likely to be forced to place the tablet directly into its mouth. Do not attempt to break up the tablet instead and powder it over the food at the dog’s meal. This is because some tablets, especially those prescribed for deworming purposes, often have a nasty taste and may cause your dog to salivate if they are swallowed in this form. Normally, the drug itself is retained in a protective coating which conceals its taste
If you need to give a tablet directly to the dog, it may be helpful to have someone else : assist you by holding the dog. It is reasonably easy to open the dog’s mouth by putting your left hand on either side of the upper jaw, while prying the lower jaw apart with your other hand. (Obviously you will find it easier to reverse the positioning of your hands if you are left-handed.)
Holding the tablet with the thumb and — finger of your right hand, drop this as far bad as possible in the dog’s mouth, without releasing your grip on the jaws. You mus: – close the mouth, so as to encourage the swallow the tablet. It will help to tilt the rel,: slightly upwards, and stroke the throat around the same time.
As a routine measure, you should open your dog’s mouth each week, so that it becomes used to this procedure. Dogs will otherwise prove rather snappy under the circumstances. This is not only important in giving tablets, but it also enables you to inspect their teeth. A number of dental products, including special canine toothbrushes and paste are now available it is advisable to use these regularly to help to prevent the build-up of harmful plasm on the teeth, especially close to the border with the gums. Here it is particularly harmful, as it is likely to trigger inflammation known as gingivitis, which can result in erosion of the gum and weakening of the teeth. In addition, a build-up of plaque is a common cause of bad breath, known technically as halitosis, which is unpleasant and easily prevented in this case.
A third reason for being able to open your dog’s mouth easily is if it swallows a bone, or a ball becomes stuck here. In such emergency situations your dog will be frightened anyway, and you will need to protect yourself as far as possible against being bitten. This will be almost inevitable if the dog is not used to having its mouth opened. Yet if it is not alarmed by this procedure, you may well be able to relieve the obstruction and so prevent the dog from choking at a time when rapid action is required.
A slightly different procedure is required if you need to give your dog a liquid medicine using a syringe, and, again, you can practise this slightly different grip. In this instance, the jaws should be held together with the nose pointing upwards. The tip of the syringe is then inserted from the side of the mouth, and the plunger gently depressed so as not to cause the medication to run out of the mouth. Never attempt to pour liquid medication straight into the mouth from the front or spoon it in, since this will inevitably cause choking.
It is important to bear in mind that a dog will not forget an unhappy experience of this nature, and almost certainly, at some stage in its life, it will require treatment which has to be given orally. You may then find yourself faced with a real battle if your dog has not been taught to co-operate in this fashion. It can make all the difference to a successful outcome to a course of medication, yet, unfortunately, the majority of dog owners rarely consider this aspect of training.
Similarly, you should not just look at the eyes or ears when there may be a problem here. You may want to wipe around the eyes with moist cotton wool on occasions as part of the regular grooming process, and also inspect the ears. You can use a cotton wool bud to remove any obvious build-up of dirt in the ear canal, but never be tempted to probe here, as this may cause injury. Ear infections are most likely to occur in breeds with relatively long and heavy ears, such as spaniels. Again, apart from alerting you to the likely development of a problem here, such inspections will help to ensure that even with a painful condition, the dog will have sufficient confidence to allow you to treat it without attempting to snap or simply pulling its head away repeatedly.
It is especially important in these cases to apply the medication effectively in order to cure the condition. Recurrences are otherwise quite likely, and, ultimately, surgery may be the only recourse. You can help when providing the medication by massaging the side of the ear. Take care to be gentle, since these ear infections are intensely irritating and painful.
Another useful training procedure for health purposes is to lift the dog’s feet regularly so that you can examine them. This will reveal any overgrowth of the claws, which will have to be trimmed back. You can do this yourself, although it will probably be better if you arrange for a vet to undertake the task in the first instance, as it is important to judge the required length properly. If the nail is cut too short then it will almost inevitably bleed.
Being able to examine the feet easily is also important if the dog becomes lame at any stage. It may be that a grass seed has penetrated between the paws. This is a very painful condition, and there is a risk that the seed responsible may track further up the leg. Yet if you can see it still protruding, you can retrieve it before serious harm is caused.
Harvest mites (Trombicula auturrinalis) may cause severe irritation between the toes during the late summer in particular, and result in the dog chewing fiercely at its feet. Treatment in this instance is likely to require the bathing of the region with a safe insecticide. This will be much easier to do if the dog will allow you to lift its feet. You will then be able to soak them in the medicated solution for maximum effectiveness.
Paw injuries are sadly not uncommon, especially on sharp pieces of glass which can inflict a nasty cut. In spite of their horny appearance, a dog’s pads will bleed profusely if cut. Efficient emergency treatment relies upon being able to stem the blood loss with a tourniquet around the foot. You will find this task so much easier if the dog is used to the routine of having its leg lifted. You can then concentrate much more effectively on dealing with the wound, rather than having to battle with your dog in order to help it.
Regrettably, few owners of pet dogs consider such maneuvers to be part of the regular training routine and yet they can be so vital in preventing the dog from becoming unnecessarily upset when it is injured. The value of having taught the dog to allow you to open its mouth is clearly visible here. Fluid medication should be given in the side of the mouth, rather than at the front. From this position it is less likely to run out over the fur. When administering tablets, do not break them. as many have an unpleasant taste.