How to Nurse an Ailing Dog

Dispensing Other Doggie Meds

Pills can be difficult to give your dog, but what about other types of medications like liquids, drops or ointments? Dispensing these other types of doggie meds may require some special care as well.

To give your dog a liquid medication, make sure you have the proper dosage ready first. Hold your dog the same way you would if you were giving him a pill. With his head tilted upward, pry open his mouth and aim the eyedropper at the cheek pouch. Then, with the dropper still inside, hold his mouth closed and squeeze out the medication. He'll swallow automatically when the liquid reaches the back of his mouth. Make sure he has swallowed before you release your hold. Just to be on the safe side, rub or blow into his nose to make him lick, which will trigger swallowing.

Start out the same way to administer ear drops -- get the dosage ready before getting your dog into position. Holding his ear gently but firmly, tilt his head slightly to the opposite side. Drop the correct dosage into his ear, gently fold it down and rub the cartilage at the base to get the medication all the way into the ear canal. This technique also keeps more of the medicine in your dog's ear if he shakes his head afterward.

Eye drops may be one of the most difficult doggie meds to dispense. Once again, get everything ready and then restrain the dog gently but firmly. It's especially important to keep your pup's head still so that the medicine goes in his eye but the dropper doesn't. Hold the dropper in one hand, tilt his head up and aim the drops at the inner corner of the eye, directly on the eyeball. Make sure you don't touch his eye with the tip of the eyedropper. To ensure that the medication gets distributed evenly over the eye, close and open his eyelid before releasing him.

To apply ointment to your dog's eyes, hold his head steady and gently pull down on his lower lid, exposing the inner eyelid. Rub the ointment on the inside lower lid, and be careful not to get it directly on the eyeball. You can also pull the upper lid back and apply the ointment on the white of the eye. To make sure the medication gets distributed evenly over the eye, close and open your pet's eyelid. To apply ointments to a dog's ears, follow the same directions for ear drops.

Be sure to praise your dog and give him a treat (if he's allowed one) for cooperating while you give him medicine.

Whether your pooch is healthy or recovering from a procedure, it's important to have a first-aid kit ready at all times. Find out what needs to be in yours on the next page.