Applying Topical Medication to Your Dog

Medicine for your dog doesn’t only come in pills or liquid—topical medications, applied directly to the skin, are quite common. Flea and tick preventatives are only one example. Here, an Indianapolis vet offers tips on applying topical medications cleanly and safely, and getting your dog to keep them on!

Hold Your Pet Still

Step one is to keep your dog still. Depending on the temperament of your dog, this can be easier said than done. Try enticing your dog to stay still with treats, or utilize the help of another person. You can try wrapping smaller dogs in towels to keep them steady, as long as the treatment area is exposed. Consult your veterinarian for more advice on keeping your pet calm and steady.

Read the Instructions

Different topical medications may have different application methods—read the directions! You may be required to apply the medicine in multiple areas, or just one. Be extra careful if you’re applying topical medicine to a wound area, and ask your vet about the proper procedure.

Apply Carefully

Once your dog is still and you’re ready, go about applying the medicine. Many products will come with an applicator device to make it quick and easy—you simply place the applicator tip through the hair, against the skin, and squeeze until the proper amount of medicine is applied. If there is no applicator and you simply need to rub the medication on, do so gently while soothing your dog.

Prevent Removal

Many topical medications are to be placed on your dog’s back, between the shoulder blades, so that he or she cannot lick it off. If you’re applying medicine to a different area, such as a limb for wound treatment, you may need to use an Elizabethan collar to prevent your pet from licking the medicine off. An Elizabethan collar is a large cone-shaped collar that prevents the pet from reaching areas behind the head.

Always consult your Indianapolis veterinarian if you’re unsure about the application directions and methods for giving your dog topical medicine. By using the right techniques and following the directions, giving topical medication to your dog should be quick, easy, and require no clean-up!


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