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Pet Health Info

Need some help keeping your pet healthy at home?

Perth Veterinary Clinic can answer your pet health questions if you call or at your appointment. Plus you can search these illustrated articles so you can better understand your pet’s health.  If you’re unsure of your pet or large animal’s health contact us so we can help you and your animal. If you need emergency animal care click here.

Search these Illustrated Articles to learn more about your animals’ health

Learn pet health maintenance like administering medications to your cats and dogs.

Here’s Some Instructions For Common Pet Health Care Needs

 

Caring For Your Cat At Home

Brushing your cat’s teeth Administering eye drops to your cat Giving liquid medication to your cat Giving your cat a pillAdministering ear drops to your cat
Brushing your cat’s teeth

Teaching your cat to accept brushing will take some training, but will be very beneficial to the cat once he is accustomed to the process. Daily brushing is most beneficial and will help to establish a routine for your pet, but brushing twice a week is acceptable if your schedule can’t accommodate daily brushing.

Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing. It is best to teach your cat to accept brushing while he or she is still a kitten. If you have an older cat, the process may take a little longer.

Instructions

  • Hold your cat securely in your lap.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or a soft cloth over the cat’s teeth in a back-and-forth motion. Be careful to stay on the outsides of the cheek teeth to avoid being bitten by accident.
  • Once the cat is comfortable with this, you may try letting him or her taste a little bit of toothpaste from your finger. Pet toothpaste is recommended and is very appetizing to most cats and may make brushing more enjoyable for them. Human toothpaste should not be used as it can result in your cat having an upset stomach.
  • Once the cat has accepted the taste of the toothpaste, apply a small amount to a toothbrush and begin by placing your free hand over your cat’s head with your thumb and index finger on opposite sides of your cat’s upper jaw.
  • Gently raise your cat’s lip on one side and begin by brushing one or two cheek teeth. A human inter-dental toothbrush works well for most cats. With this type of toothbrush, it should be placed right along the gum-line and used in a straight back-and-forth motion.
  • Start from the back and work toward the midline of the jaw. In order to brush the lower teeth, this requires opening your cat’s mouth just a little. This can be done by gently tilting your cat’s head backward while holding onto his or her upper jaw with your thumb and index finger of your free hand.
  • Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this will probably take several days). Make sure you reach the big teeth at the back of the mouth.

Generally, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be cleaned because the tongue tends to remove plaque from the inner surfaces. Try to brush for approximately 30 seconds per side. A cat’s mouth houses plenty of harmful bacteria, so it is a good idea to wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly when you are done.

Administering eye drops to your cat

Make sure that you wash your hands both before and after administering the medication to prevent the spread of infection.
If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. If your cat’s eye is painful, you may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket with only the head exposed.

Instructions

  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
    Hold the bottle using your thumb and index finger.
  • Use the last two fingers of the same hand to pull back the upper eyelid. Place your remaining fingers under the cat’s jaw to support the head. The lower eyelid will act as a pouch to receive the drops.
  • Hold the bottle close to the eye but ensure you DO NOT touch the eye’s surface.
  • Squeeze the prescribed number of drops onto the eyeball, aiming for the center of the eye, and then release the head.

The cat will blink, spreading the medication over the surface of the eye.

Giving liquid medication to your cat

The easiest way to give your cat liquid medication is to mix it in with some canned food. To ensure that the medication is actually taken, it is best to give a small amount of food that the cat is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the cat may not complete. Some cats may be unwilling to eat the food or may have dietary restrictions that prevent you from using this technique. If this is the case, you will need to administer the medication directly into the cat’s mouth.

Instructions

  • Prepare the environment so that you have a safe place to handle your cat. Have the medication ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible. If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. You may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket with only the head exposed.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
    Hold the syringe with your dominant hand.
  • Draw up the prescribed amount of liquid into the syringe.
  • First, try to allow the cat to lick the medication from the end of the syringe as you slowly depress the plunger. The cat may accept the medication more readily if it is warmed to room temperature.
    If this is ineffective, gently take the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift the front paws off of your lap. The mouth will open slightly.
  • Place the tip of the syringe in the side of the mouth, just behind one of the canine teeth.
  • Advance the syringe so it is placed in the mouth just past the tooth line.
  • Slowly squeeze the syringe to dispense the liquid medication. Make sure you do this slowly so the cat has time to swallow the liquid and breath.

Most cats will spit out some of the medication. DO NOT re-medicate unless you are certain that NONE of the medication was taken. Rinse the syringe thoroughly with water and refrigerate the medication if necessary.

Giving your cat a pill

The easiest way to give your cat a pill is to hide the pill in food. This usually works best if the pill is hidden in a small amount of tuna or cream cheese. To ensure that the pill is actually taken, it is best to give a small amount of food that the cat is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the cat may not complete. Some cats may spit out the pill, so it is important to monitor this activity. If your cat persists in spitting out the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in an appealing treat, you will need to administer the pill directly into the cat’s mouth.

Instructions

  • Prepare the environment so that you have a safe place to handle your cat. Have the pill ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible.
  • If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. You may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket with only the head exposed.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
    Grease the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so it doesn’t stick in your cat’s mouth or throat.
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger.
  • Gently grasp your cat’s head from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Tilt the cat’s head back over its shoulder so that its nose points to the ceiling. The jaw should drop open slightly.
  • With your pilling hand, use your little finger and ring finger to open the cat’s mouth further by gently putting pressure on the lower front teeth.
  • Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible.
  • Close the cat’s mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position. Gently rub the cat’s nose or throat, or blow lightly on the nose. This should stimulate swallowing.

If you have trouble with this method of opening the mouth, try placing the cat on a table. Hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift the front paws off of the table. The mouth will open. Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible, as in the previous method.

Administering ear drops to your cat

Remember that the ear may be very painful and that the cat may respond by scratching and biting.

Instructions

  • Warm the medication by standing the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
  • Hold the cat securely in your lap. You may need to have someone help you by wrapping the cat in a blanket with only the head exposed.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
  • Draw up the liquid into the dropper.
  • Use the last two fingers of the same hand to hold the tip of the ear.
  • Place your remaining hand under the cat’s jaw to support the head.
  • Apply a small amount of medication into the ear. Rub the ear against the cat’s head in a circular motion. Be cautious and gentle. The cat may not allow you to do this.

Release the ear and let your cat shake its head. If the medication contains a wax solvent, debris will be dissolved so it can be shaken out.

Caring For Your Dog At Home

Collecting a urine specimen from your dog – Male Collecting a urine specimen from your dog – Female Brushing your dog’s teeth Administering eye drops to your dog Administering ear drops to your dog Giving liquid medication to your dog Giving your dog a pill
Collecting a urine specimen from your dog – Male

Make sure that you use a clean plastic container. Your vet may provide you with one or you may use a clean margarine dish or something similar. A pie plate works best for female dogs.Keep in mind that a fresh specimen is best. Anything more than 12 hours old will not provide accurate results.

If you can’t bring in the specimen within an hour of collecting it, make sure to place it in the refrigerator.
Before collecting a specimen from a male dog, make sure you know which leg the dog prefers to lift, or if he prefers to squat.

Instructions

  • Wait for the dog to begin to urinate.
  • Place the collection container into the stream of urine until an adequate amount has been collected. This is called a mid-stream sample.
  • Place a lid on the container and bring it to your vet as soon as possible.
Collecting a urine specimen from your dog – Female

Make sure that you use a clean plastic container. Your vet may provide you with one or you may use a clean margarine dish or something similar. A pie plate works best for female dogs.

Keep in mind that a fresh specimen is best. Anything more than 12 hours old will not provide accurate results.If you can’t bring in the specimen within an hour of collecting it, make sure to place it in the refrigerator.

Instructions

  • Approach the female dog slowly as she begins to squat.
  • Place a shallow container under her after she has started to urinate. It is easiest to leave the container on the ground until she is finished. This is called a mid-stream sample.
  • If you have used a pie plate, transfer the urine to a collection container with a lid and bring it to your vet as soon as possible.

Some dogs will stop urinating when your approach them. If you experience difficulty in collecting a sample, contact your veterinarian.

Brushing your dog’s teeth

Teaching your dog to accept brushing will take some training, but will be very beneficial to the dog once he is accustomed to the process. Daily brushing is most beneficial and will help to establish a routine for your pet, but brushing twice a week is acceptable if your schedule can’t accommodate daily brushing.

Instructions

  • Choose a quiet time and place to start the brushing.
  • It is best to teach your dog to accept brushing while he or she is still a puppy. If you have an older dog, the process may take a little longer.
  • First, call your dog to you in a friendly voice.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or a soft cloth over the dog’s teeth in a back-and-forth motion.
  • Once your dog is comfortable with this, you may try letting him or her taste a little bit of toothpaste from your finger. Pet toothpaste is recommended and is very appetizing to most pets. It may make brushing more enjoyable for them. Human toothpaste should not be used as it can result in the pet having an upset stomach.
  • Once your dog has accepted the taste of the toothpaste, apply a small amount to a toothbrush and begin by raising your dog’s lip with your free hand, then brushing one or two cheek teeth in a straight back-and-forth motion. Try to hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth, with the bristles pointing toward the gumline. You will need to open the dog’s mouth slightly in order to reach the lower gumline.
  • Work from the back teeth toward the midline of your dog’s mouth, then switch to the other side.
  • Gradually work up to brushing all of the teeth (this will probably take several days). Make sure you reach the big teeth at the back of the mouth. Generally, only the outer surfaces of the teeth need to be cleaned because the tongue tends to remove plaque from the inner surfaces.
  • Try to brush for approximately 30 seconds per side.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise and offer a treat after brushing. This will make the experience more positive and will make it easier to brush the next time. A dog’s mouth houses plenty of harmful bacteria, so it is a good idea to wash your hands and the toothbrush thoroughly when you are done.

Administering eye drops to your dog

Make sure that you wash your hands both before and after administering the medication to prevent the spread of infection. If your dog’s eye is painful, you may need to have someone assist you with restraining or you may need to apply a muzzle.

Instructions

  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
    Hold the bottle using your thumb and index finger. You may want to rest this hand on the top of the dog’s head to help stabilize your hand.
  • With your other hand, use your thumb to pull down the lower eyelid. Place your remaining fingers under the dog’s jaw to support the head. The lower eyelid acts as a pouch to receive the drops.
  • Hold the bottle close to the eye but make sure you DO NOT touch the eye’s surface.
  • Squeeze the prescribed number of drops onto the eyeball, aiming for the center of the eye, and then release the head.
  • The dog will blink, spreading the medication over the surface of the eye.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat when you are finished.

Administering ear drops to your dog

Remember that the ear may be very painful and that even a passive dog may respond by biting. You may need to muzzle the dog for this procedure.

Instructions

  • Warm the medication by standing the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
  • Draw up the liquid into the dropper.
  • Gently pull the ear flap straight up using your other hand.
  • Apply the prescribed number of drops into the ear canal while continuing to keep the ear flap elevated.
  • Rub the ear against the dog’s head in a circular motion. Be cautious and gentle. The dog may not allow you to do this.
  • Release the ear and let your dog shake its head. If the medication contains a wax solvent, debris will be dissolved so it can be shaken out.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat after giving the medication.

Giving liquid medication to your dog

The easiest way to give your dog a liquid medication is to mix it with some canned food. To ensure that the medication is actually taken, it is best to give a small amount of food that the dog is certain to eat rather than a large portion that the dog may not complete. Some dogs may be unwilling to eat the food or may have dietary restrictions that prevent you from using this technique. If this is the case, you will need to administer the medication directly into your dog’s mouth.
Instructions

  • Prepare the environment so that you have a safe place to handle your dog. It is easiest to give liquid medication if you have a second person available to help you to handle the dog.
  • Have the medication ready and in a place where it will be easily accessible.
  • Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
  • Create a pouch along the side of the mouth by gently pulling the lip away from the teeth.
  • Place the tip of the syringe in the side of the mouth, just behind one of the canine teeth and advance the syringe so that it is in the mouth just past the tooth line.
  • Slowly squeeze the syringe to dispense the liquid medication. Make sure you do this slowly so the dog has time to swallow the liquid and breathe.
  • Most dogs will spit out some of the medication. DO NOT re-medicate unless you are certain that NONE of the medication was taken.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat or extra playtime after giving the medication. This will make the experience more positive and will make it easier to give the medication the next time. Rinse the dropper thoroughly with water and refrigerate.

Giving your dog a pill

The easiest way to give a pill is to hide it in a small amount of canned dog food, peanut butter or cheez whiz.
Some dogs may spit out the pill, so it is important to monitor this activity.
If your dog persists in spitting out the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in an appealing treat, you will need to administer the pill directly into the dog’s mouth.
The dog will be the most cooperative if the procedure is performed quickly, in one smooth motion.

Instructions

  • Grease the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so that it doesn’t stick in the pets mouth or throat.
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger (use your dominant hand – for example, if you are right handed, use your right hand).
  • Gently grasp your dog’s muzzle from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other side behind the canine teeth.
  • Once you have a firm but gentle hold tilt your dog’s head toward the ceiling. The lower jaw will usually drop. If not, open the mouth by placing the last two fingers of your hand holding the pill between the two lower canine teeth.
  • Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible. The pill is most likely to be swallowed if you place it beyond the hump of the tongue at the back of the mouth. Try not to place your hand too far back to avoid stimulating a gag reflex.
  • Close the dog’s mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position.
  • Gently rub the dog’s nose or throat, or blow lightly on the dog’s nose. This should stimulate swallowing.
    Make sure that you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat or extra playtime after giving the medication. This will make the experience more positive and will make it easier to give the medication the next time.