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How to Feed and Medicate a Dog in Your Care

Jessica James

Tue Oct 18 2022

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If you’re going to become a pet sitter, you need to know how to feed and medicate a dog that has been left in your care. Every dog has a different diet and feeding schedule you need to stick to while the owner has entrusted their pet to you. Some owners will also require that you medicate their dog while they’re at work or out of town.

We will now discuss what you should do to feed and medicate a dog that has been left in your care. These are crucial tasks and often comprise a large part of what the dog's owner needs you to do for them.

Follow the Dog Owner’s Instructions

One thing to remember is that the dog’s owner has a routine for feeding and medication that they follow every day. Dogs are creatures of habit, and the animal should be used to that routine.

If you show the dog that you’re willing to follow that routine while you’re there in place of the owner, that should go a long way toward helping the animal relax. You can enforce a feeling of normalcy that the dog should appreciate.

You might suggest to the owner that they show you the dog’s feeding and medication routine when you come to visit and meet the animal for the first time. You can watch while the owner feeds and medicates the dog, or else the owner might suggest that you do the feeding and medicating so the dog gets used to the idea of you doing it.

Feeding and Medication Specifics

Usually, the feeding is no more complicated than measuring out a couple of scoops of dry dog food and putting them in the dog’s bowl at meal times. The dog might also receive wet food, or they may get a combination of wet and dry dog food. The owner will fill you in on all of that information.

As for medicine, some dogs only need a topical medication once per month. Generally, you’ll get the animal to hold still while you squirt a spray of liquid from an applicator between their shoulder blades.

Other times, you might have to give the dog a pill. That can be a little trickier. Dogs are notorious for not liking to take pills, and the animal in your care might cough up the pill when you try to get them to swallow it.

Some owners make this process easier by wrapping the pill in a piece of cheese and coaxing the dog into eating it. The animal will swallow the pill without ever being aware that it's there. Some dog owners also buy pill pockets. They’re treats with hollow centers where you can conceal the pill before giving it to the dog.

Dogs Who Won’t Swallow Pills Easily

You might get a dog sometimes, though, who won’t respond well to the pill in a piece of cheese or one that you place inside a hollow treat. The animal will cleverly eat the treat or cheese without swallowing the pill.

In these instances, there’s a technique you can learn, and as a pet sitter, you should practice it as much as possible. You have the dog sit, and then you stand behind them. You then gently tilt the animal’s head back and force its mouth open with your hands.

You’ll take the pill and place it as far back in the dog’s throat as possible. Then, you use your hands to clasp the animal’s jaws together while keeping its head tilted back.

You lightly massage the dog’s throat in an up and down motion while keeping their jaws clasped together with your free hand. Doing so forces the dog to swallow the pill, and they should get it down with minimal discomfort.

After the dog swallows the pill, you can praise it and give it a treat. That will let it know it has done what you wanted it to do. Most dogs want to please humans, and the extra incentive of a treat will make them more willing to go through this process.

Make Sure You Write Down the Directions

Every dog has a different diet and different medication that it needs. You should not expect to just remember what food a dog gets, how much, or how often. The same is true with the medication the animal requires.

It’s helpful to write down the feeding and medication directions for each dog. The dog’s owner should also give Woofmeets all of that information via the app or website, so you can refer back to that should it become necessary.

Adhere Strictly to the Owner’s Feeding and Medication Directions

You should also stick to the feeding and medication directions each dog’s owner gives you. Many dogs love human food, and if they see that you have some, they might beg you for it. It’s the dog owner’s prerogative whether they want to give their pet a little human food for a treat every once in a while, but a dog sitter should never do that.

To avoid this problem, it’s best not to bring your own food around the dog, so they won’t beg you for a piece of it. Instead, stick to giving the animal the food the owner tells you to, at the time of day when the animal normally receives it.

You can also give the dog treats, but only the ones the owner has on hand. You might bring some of those treats on your walks with the dog to encourage obedience from the animal.

Where medication is concerned, you can stick to the schedule and dosage the dog's owner mentioned to you. Dogs don’t often like taking pills or getting topical medication administered, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you should become.

The more time that you spend caring for a dog, the more confident you and the animal will become with the feeding and medication schedule.


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