Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Advice for pill-popping, anxiety-ridden pets.

If you have a dog (or a cat or a particularly strong gag reflex) you have probably found yourself at one time or another wondering whose bright idea it was to make medication in the form of a pill. Whoever thought pills would be good for pets must have been especially thickheaded. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Place a pill on our dog's tongue and expect her to swallow it down with a glass of water? Had these people ever seen a dog drink water? They stick their head in a toilet and slurp water up. With their tongues! Come on. Even I know enough about physics to know that is a bad idea.

Of course, they don't intend for your dog to swallow the pill like a person (I don't think). But, they don't exactly give you any better ideas either. Standard pet medication instructions go something like: Give tablet once a day. Give tablet. Okaaaay. Like, Hey, Cloey, I've got something for you. It's a pill. You know, for your arthritis? She's not going to know what to do with it either. She's a dog.

Her other prescription, the one for Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, comes with slightly more detailed instructions: Administer orally. While that's still somewhat ambiguous, I appreciate the effort. I guess that's what you get when you shell out the big bucks for super fancy dementia and depression medication (good enough for humans but packaged and priced just for pets!).

Although, for the record, we haven't had to shell out any bucks quite yet. Bill found a coupon online that got us our first month of Anipryl for free. That's a savings of $120! (Ridiculous, I know.) It was supposed to take a month to kick in but she showed major improvement right away. We're thrilled, of course, but not exactly sure why the sudden turn-around.

It could be that the arthritis was making her really uncomfortable and the prescription Etodolac we started her on for that has helped. Although, that was supposed to take some time to show results, as well.

Maybe she just really likes processed cheese?

(How's that for a smooth segue back to my original point? Ouch.)

This is what veterinary pharmaceutical companies should be printing on pet prescriptions: Stick pills into leftover cheese ball or similar processed cheese product THEN administer orally.

YUM! I swear she doesn't usually look this old. Must be bad lighting...

It's really the only thing that works. Well, that and peanut butter, but who wants to waste perfectly good peanut butter if you don't have to? My idea kills two birds with one stone: the dog doesn't spit her pill out before swallowing and I get rid of the cheese ball I've had sitting in the fridge since Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I love a cheese ball. I just get a little weird about eating things that have been in the fridge too long. (Yes, even processed cheese.)

If it's not the taste of cheese that's making her better, I guess the only other thing that has changed is us. When we stopped being annoyed with her restlessness, she stopped being so nervous. Less nervousness means less restlessness and less restlessness means less suppressed annoyance. It's like the chicken and the egg thing. It doesn't really matter which came first, it's just nice that they're both here. As soon as we chose to embrace her aging process lovingly, she started to get better. The better she got, the easier it was. Sounds goofy but flipping that switch seems to have been the cure for what ailed her.

I guess we'll see when our prescription runs out. Next month we'll be trying the dietary supplement Cholodin my mom sent for her favorite grand-dog. If there is a huge decline in her behavior, I suppose we'll revisit the Anipryl. Or stock up on Velveeta.

Or! We'll try this fantastic suggestion an old friend/reader e-mailed me about:

It's called an Anxiety Wrap and is designed to reduce behavioral problems like panting and pacing by using maintained pressure throughout the body to help alleviate stress and build your dog's self confidence. Just like swaddling! I'm telling you, there is nothing a swaddle can't fix.

Thanks Beth, for thinking of me and my pup and sharing this awesome idea. I would rather swaddle than medicate any day! And, seriously, how cute would Cloey be in that vest?


Neil Edwards said...

Maggie, I'm so happy hear that Chloe is doing well.
"Greenies" make a product called 'pill pockets' that might help you in your quest! It's a little treat that you can hide a pill in. I haven't used them (good 'ol cheese !) but they might help you out.

Good lucj with the 'ol gal!
Neil (Max and Tilly)

sunT said...

my neighbor buys these doggie treats to hide pills in. they are just like oreos with the cookies and cream! i'm sure they are expensive but they work really well to hide pill in the cream if she gets tired of cheese.

Katie said...

I personally love the swaddle idea. Partly because it works for both of my kids, and partly because anyone who invents and follows through with such an idea, deserves some of our well earned money!

Girl Healthy said...

Well I'm not surprised one bit. I myself have been hiding my own multivitamins in chocolate for months now. Masks the nasty taste. I'll have to try them in cheese ball next time.