As vets we are used to giving out medication and informing owners how best to give it to their pets. Unfortunately we all realise that in many cases it will be difficult for the owner to comply and sometimes tablets and medicine will be lost or forgotten, or just be impossible to give to the unwilling pet. This is a problem in itself but it seems that we may not be getting the message about dosing intervals across to our client either!
It is very common for vets to ask a client to give their pet a tablet "twice a day". What we actually mean when we say this is every 12 hours; however some people may not realise this and give their pet its medication in the morning and afternoon without really taking much notice of the time. This may sometimes lead to the medication being ineffective, especially in the case of some antibiotics. Obviously this is a problem which owners should be made aware of.
The main points which you should realise when giving your pet medicines are these;
Always make sure you understand what you are to give your pet, how you should give it and when to give it before you leave the veterinary surgery.
If a vet says "Give twice daily" he or she means every 12 hours, likewise once daily means every 24 hours and three times daily means every 8 hours throughout the day.
Never stop a course of medication early, even if your pet seems totally recovered. Many medicines, especially antibiotics, need to be given for several days to work properly.
If you miss a dose don't automatically try to "catch up" by giving more next time; this could overdose your pet! Phone your surgery and ask what you should do.
If in any doubt about giving your pet its medicine do not hesitate in contacting your vet. We vets do understand how difficult it is to give animals their medicine and it is no shame if you have to admit that you are not able to give your pet tablets. Sometimes your vet will be able to change the treatment to make it easier for you, but we need to know if you are having problems!