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Your vet may prescribe medication for your cat or dog for many different reasons and in many different forms (tablets, liquid, drops, ointment, etc.). For the medication to work the way it should, you have to administer every dose at the right time and in the right way for the entire course of treatment. Globalvet is here to help!

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We understand that giving your cat or dog medicine can be a bitter pill to swallow—for both of you. But if you follow our basic words of advice on administering medicine the right way, you can make the whole process easier on you and more bearable for your pet.

Before administering the first dose, we highly recommend you read the sections below:




Applying an antiparasitic (pest control) medicine is a chore you’ll likely have to tackle a few times a year. Here’s how:

  • Open the tube and keep it within reach.
  • Using both hands, part the hairs on the nape of your pet’s neck between the base of their head and their shoulder blades to reveal 1 or 2 cm of exposed skin.

  • Keep the hair parted with one hand and use the other to squeeze the contents of the tube directly onto the animal’s skin.

  • Don’t rub or wipe the liquid.

Important: For large dogs, depending on the product you’re using, we recommend applying the tube contents to 4 different spots along their back.

Always wash your hands after applying a topical antiparasitic.


The easiest way to administer a pill to a dog is to dissolve the pill in a dollop of some type of food you only give them as a reward for good behaviour. You can use treats specially designed for this purpose like Pill Assist™, or canned food, peanut butter, spreadable cheese, or any other safe food product your dog will gladly gobble up.

Make sure they swallow it all. A spoonful of their favourite treat really does help the medicine go down!

If your dog refuses to cooperate or this method isn’t advised because they’re allergic, fasting, etc., here’s what we recommend:

  • Hold the pill between the thumb and index finger of one hand.
  • With the other, hold the dog’s mouth open by putting pressure on the upper canines with the thumb and index finger. Rest the palm of that hand on your dog’s head. Maintain enough pressure so your pet can’t get free by simply lowering their head.

  • Tilt their head back. Their mouth will start to open on its own.

  • Push their mouth open a little more with the middle finger of the hand holding the pill.
  • Drop the pill onto the base of their tongue.

  • Quickly close their mouth, release your grip, and watch to make sure they swallow the pill (blowing on their nose or massaging their throat can help). You can tell your pet has swallowed the pill if they lick the tip of their nose.


Cats have sophisticated palates, so even if a pill is coated in food your cat may not swallow it. Here’s a simple way to make sure your kitty takes their medicine.

  • Hold the pill between the thumb and index finger of one hand.
  • With the other, hold their head by pressing your thumb and index (or middle) finger on their cheek bones and your palm on their forehead. Maintain enough pressure so your pet can’t get free by simply lowering their head.

  • Gently tilt their head backward until their nose is pointed at the ceiling. Their mouth will start to open on its own.

  • Hold it open with the middle finger of the hand holding the pill.
  • Drop the pill onto the base of their tongue.

  • Quickly close their mouth, release your grip, and watch to make sure they swallow it (blowing on their nose or massaging their throat can help). You can tell your pet has swallowed the pill if they lick the tip of their nose.


Has your veterinarian prescribed a liquid medication (e.g., a dewormer) to be administered orally? Here’s how to go about it the right way.

  • With one hand, gently hold the animal’s snout (dog) or head (cat or small dog) to one side.
  • Gently slip the tip of the syringe into the corner of the mouth on the opposite side and point it toward the back of the throat. Don’t try to open their mouth.

  • Gently lift their head so it’s at a 45-degree angle. To prevent the risk of choking, their head should not be vertical.

  • Gently depress the plunger and watch to make sure your pet swallows the contents.


Does your cat or dog need medicine in the form of ear drops? Here are the steps to follow for easy ear administration.

  • Lift their ear flap with your thumb and forefinger to expose the ear canal opening. Gently place the palm of that hand on their head for stability and so you don’t pull on their ear.

  • With the other hand, apply the prescribed number of drops into the ear canal opening. Be careful not to insert the bottle tip or applicator into the ear canal unless instructed by your veterinarian.

  • Gently massage the base of the ear for a few seconds to work the drops into the ear canal and listen for the squishing sound of the liquid.

  • If the ear flap also needs to be treated, apply the drops to the skin and spread the medicine around with your finger. We recommend washing your hands after this step.


We understand that treating your animal’s eyes may seem daunting. Here are the different steps to take to apply eye drops or ointment with ease.

It’s important to stand behind your pet to administer eye medication so they don’t feel threatened by your hand approaching their eyes. If you have a medium or large dog, we recommend having them sit with their back against your legs.

  • Hold their head by placing one hand on the side and the thumb right above the eye being treated.

  • Use your thumb to lift the upper eyelid to reveal the white of the eye.
  • Gently press the hand holding the medication against their head for stability.

  • Apply the drops or ointment to the eye. Avoid touching the eye with the tip of the bottle or tube.

  • Release the eyelid.


It may seem pretty straightforward, but applying an ointment to your pet’s skin can get a little sticky. Here are a few words of advice:

  • Apply the recommended amount of ointment to the area being treated.
  • Gently massage it into the skin.
  • Use treats or a game to distract your pet for a minute after applying the ointment.

Be careful not to use too much ointment because any excess won’t be absorbed into the skin, so your pet’s more likely to try to lick it off.



Before trying to administer any medication, lure your pet with their favourite treat when they’re relaxed. Then position yourself so they’re comfortable and can’t get away.

  • Cats and small dogs: Place them on a table and stand behind it. You can also put them on your knees with their back to you. Try out different positions to see which your pet prefers.
  • Larger dogs: Have them sit so their back is against your legs. Or have them sit and then sit down next to them, close to a wall so they can’t back away.

Your pet should always be in a position that is natural to them. Hold them gently without applying too much pressure.

If possible, get someone to assist you. It’s easier to hold an animal in place and distract them at the same time if there are two of you.


Feel free to distract your cat or dog with treats like a Kong® stuffed with canned food. Find them in our online store.

You can also spread wet food, peanut butter, cream cheese, etc. on a piece of plastic wrap and then attach it to a surface for your pet to lick off.

If offering your pet food when trying to give them medicine makes them overly excited and too hard to handle, save it for after.


Every day over the course of treatment, get in the same position as you do when administering the medication, but just pet your cat or dog or give them treats. If they associate the position with something positive, they’ll be less likely to stop cooperating after a few doses.


Got a wiggler or scratcher on your hands? Wrap them like a burrito in a large beach towel to restrain them.

See how to make a burrito around your pet in this video (in French)
Watch the video

Note that the hand holding the animal should always be on the nape of their neck with the forearm resting along their back so you can gently but firmly hold them in position.

This method works with a helper but you can also use it on your own. If you’re flying solo, make sure all your supplies are within reach before wrapping your pet in the towel.


Your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up exam or tests to make sure the course of treatment had the desired effect and your pet’s condition has been cured or resolved. In some cases, an animal may not show signs of lingering discomfort or illness, but the problem may not be completely resolved, which is why it’s important to have a follow-up.

Talk to your veterinarian to see if a follow-up is necessary in your pet’s situation. Did you know that in some cases you can use our telemedicine service for follow-up appointments? Talk to the Globalvet clinic team to see if it’s an option!


Still have questions or concerns about giving medicine to your cat or dog? Your Globalvet team is happy to help. Contact us today!


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