Pills for Pets: Chewables, Child-Proofing and Common Sense
When it comes to animal-friendly medications, there’s little more satisfying than a well-received chewable. Any time I can predict that a pet will beg for his pills, I know this is a drug his owners will comply with.
And that’s a big deal to those of us who will readily admit to being sticklers for a dutifully administered course of antibiotics, or a lifelong med’s daily trip down the gullet. But so many of my clients won’t, or can’t, do what’s needed, not when the pills arrive as bitter lozenges dipped in sulfurous chalk. Nasty. Taste one if you don’t believe me.
The good news is that animal drug manufacturers are starting to get hip to the concept that animal drugs are best manufactured with ease of administration in mind. And what’s easier than a drug your dog or cat begs for?
Yes, animal-only preparations may be more expensive (sometimes ten times as much, or more), but they’re worth every penny if your pet won’t take her meds otherwise. That’s the sad fact of owning a picky pet who needs to be medicated: you will pay more. And sometimes, if you get very careless or very unlucky, you’ll pay A LOT more.
Consider the following recent example: Golden retriever gets diagnosed with hip dysplasia. He’s off to the specialist in a few days for an evaluation and an exploration of options. In the meantime he’s gotten ten days’ worth of chewable nummy NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to address his painful, gimpy gait. That night, he goes home and eats them all.
Turns out the owners had left the open bottle on the counter after giving him his nightly dose. Nosy dog spills them all on the floor, and next thing you know they’re eaten all up. A trip to the ER and a couple of days in hospital rapidly ensue.
The same might’ve happened with a bottle of Advils (the candy-coating is irresistible to most dogs and some cats), but it almost certainly wouldn’t have with a bottle of the non-chewable pain relievers I could have supplied instead of the attractive ones.
So does this mean I blame myself? Not at all. In this case, I’d blame the intersection of best intentions and meaty flavoring at the corner of bad luck and carelessness. After all, I offered the warnings and the childproof packaging. It was their job to supply the common sense.
Dr. Patty Khuly