Flavoring Pet Medicines

May 2017

How many times have you given your cat a pill and thought she swallowed it, only to find the capsule on the floor a few hours later? How many times have you struggled to give your pup medicine and then watched her run off and hide under the bed? Sometimes even offering post-medicine treats doesn’t seem to help.

It’s hard to blame a pet for not wanting to swallow a pill. Have you ever tried to swallow an aspirin or a vitamin without water? Plus, we humans have a vertical esophagus, while an animal’s esophagus is almost horizontal, so dogs and cats don’t have the benefit of gravity coming to their aid. Because of these challenges, many pets don’t receive the prescribed amount of the drug for the duration necessary. Owners often throw in the towel because the ordeal is too draining or because the pet won’t take the medicine or spits it out.

Adding flavoring to a pet’s medication eliminates the need for the pet to dry-swallow a pill. Many veterinarians and pharmacists use a compounding formulary to crush pills or capsules into a fine powder and then mix them with a compounding solution. For bitter-tasting medications for cats, for example, the pharmacist or veterinarian adds a bitterness neutralizer and then mixes in a flavoring that cats like. For dogs, the pharmacist or veterinarian adds a sweetening enhancer to the pet-friendly flavor that has been selected.

If your dog or cat is a “pill hater,” the next time he needs to take a medication, ask your veterinarian about a flavoring option.

Sources: North American Veterinary Community; American Animal Hospital Association

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