Prescription medications aren’t limited to humans. Pets can need medications for a variety of reasons as well, including illness, injury, or recovery from a medical procedure.
There’s a good chance your pet will need to take at least one medication during their lifetime. Many pharmacies now fill pet medications, making it more convenient than ever to get help for your pet. Before you give your pet a drug, here’s what you should ask your veterinarian or pharmacist to keep your pet healthy and happy.
1. Why is the medication being prescribed?
Now’s a good time to ask any follow-up questions about your pet’s illness or condition.
2. What medication forms are available?
Some pets gobble up pills without a problem. For others, a liquid version — given through a squeeze syringe — is easier to get into their pet. Eye medication often comes in either drops or an ointment. Choose the version you feel will be the easiest to give your pet.
3. Does the medication come in a one-dose injectable version?
Some pets refuse to take medication — no matter how many tricks or tasty treats you try. Some pain medications and antibiotics come in one-dose injectable versions, which can be given to your pet just once. You don’t have to be the bad guy, forcing your pet to take their meds.
4. Can you demonstrate how to give the medication to my pet?
Your veterinarian can often give your pet the first dose of medication while you’re in their office. They can demonstrate how best to hold your pet to give them the medication.
5. How often should I give the medication to my pet?
Make sure you know exactly how many times a day, at what times, and at what dose each time your pet should have the medicine.
6. How long will my pet be on this medication?
Your pet’s prescription can be temporary, lasting only a few days, or they may need to be on their medication long-term. For the best treatment outcomes, don’t stop giving your pet their medication before your veterinarian or pharmacist tells you to stop.
7. How should I store the medication?
Storing your pet’s medication properly maintains its efficacy. Certain antibiotics, for example, must be kept out of the light or refrigerated to keep them from spoiling. Ask your vet or pharmacist how best to store the medication.
8. What are the common side effects?
Pets can’t tell us how they feel. But just like people, they can experience side effects from medications. Common side effects can include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and inactivity. Knowing what to expect and how long side effects last can help you assist your pet. It’s also important to know about unusual or dangerous side effects and when to seek emergency help. Your vet or pharmacist can go over the most common side effects. They can also provide tips on how to prevent or manage side effects.
9. Should the medication be given with food or on an empty stomach?
Giving medication with food can help reduce your pet’s chances of having an upset stomach. But ask your vet or pharmacist because not all medications should be given with food.
10. What’s a compounded medication?
Some pet medications, such as special antibiotics, aren’t available ready-made. They need to be made to order, or compounded, by a special pharmacy known as a compounding pharmacy. Compounded medications generally cost more, but they might be the only option for your pet’s specific issue. One benefit of using an independent pharmacy is that many of these pharmacies offer compounding services.
11. Are different flavors available?
Some paste or liquid medications come in different flavors, like tuna, beef, or chicken. If your veterinarian prescribes a liquid or compounded medicine, your pharmacist can often add flavors. If your pet is picky about taste, choosing the right flavor can help them take the medication more easily.