At some point, you may have to giving your dog an injectable medication.
Your vet can teach you the most appropriate technique to give your dog injections, but if you don’t dare, he can do it for you. Nevertheless, if your dog needs periodic injections, going to the vet every time can be somewhat complicated. Learning to administer them is not complicated and will be less stressful for your dog and for you.
Most of the time, the injections that you will have to give your dog at home will be subcutaneous, so soon you will learn how to do it and it will become part of your routine.
Why do I have to give injections to my dog?
some medicationslike insulin can only be administered by injection and as require regular applicationit is very possible that your vet will teach you how to do it yourself.
Depending on the formulation and type of medication, injectable medications may be administered by several ways:
- By intravenously
(direct injection into a vein)
- Intramuscular injection (in a muscle)
- subcutaneous injection (directly under the skin).
Most home injectable medications are intended to be administered subcutaneously. The needles are very sharp at the point to minimize pain, so your dog probably won’t be bothered by the injection.
Your vet will provide you with the appropriate needles and syringes for your dog.
What happens if my dog moves when I give him the injection?
- If your dog usually moves When you give him an injection, offer him a treat as a distraction.
- You can too ask someone to help you hold him while you give the injection.
- It may be easier for you poking your dog while it is eating. Do it quickly, to minimize their chances of movement.
- If you have to give your dog injections on a regular basis, there is a good chance that he will get used to it and stay put.
- Don’t worry, because it is highly unlikely that the needle will break. If your dog moves and the needle bends, it is more likely to end up outside of the dog than inside.
- If your dog is moving and you are not sure that he has received all of the medication, contact your vet to give you the pertinent instructions. Unless otherwise directed, do not give your dog any more medication.
How to give a subcutaneous injection to your dog, step by step
Relax and seek help if necessary
You may feel a bit nervous when you first give your dog an injection, fearing it will hurt or move.
Subcutaneous injections are not complicated to administersince the subcutaneous tissue is soft and, since it does not reach the muscle, it is very unlikely that your dog will suffer pain or that complications will occur.
If you fear that your dog will move, ask a friend or family member for help, to hold your dog while you administer the injection. A relaxed environment is important for everyone involved and will keep your dog calm. If you are stressed, your dog will also be nervous.
Prepare the syringe
Sterilize the top of the jar of the medication with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol. Insert a sterile needle into the medication vial and turn the vial upside down.
Fill the syringe with the correct amount of medication.
The simplest is to extract something more than you need and then adjust the content in the syringe, pushing the excess back into the vial. This will also help expel air bubbles that can accumulate in the syringe.
When you remove the syringe, cover the needle with the protective cap and tap it a few times, to make sure you remove all air bubbles. Your vet will teach you how to do it.
Find the site where you are going to give the injection
The most suitable place to administer a subcutaneous injection to your dog is the loose skin on the neck, just above the shoulder blades or mid-back. Pinch off a piece of this loose skin using your thumb and forefinger, gently pulling up. You will see a piece of skin between your fingers, which is where you are going to prick the needle.
If the injection is insulin, it is better to use the area around the flank or belly of the dog. Ask your vet to show you how to find the right place to do it.
If you go to give injections on a regular basis, don’t always put them in the same place, since it will end up hurting. It is enough that you move the injection a few millimeters to one side or the other so that the area is not overloaded.
Administer the medication
Remove the needle guard and pierce the skin with the needle in one clean, quick motion. The needle must be inclined downwards, at an angle between 30 and 45º. It is important that you move almost parallel to the skin surfaceIf you tilt it too far, you could go through the skin and into a muscle, through it from side to side, or even into yourself.
The vet will provide you with the needles of the correct length.
Pull back on the plunger of the syringe, very slightly. If it fills with blood, it’s because you’ve touched a vein.. In this case, you will have to remove the needle and try again. If no blood comes out, push the plunger forward to empty the syringe.
remove the needle
By pushing the plunger down, the contents of the needle will be injected under your dog’s skin. When you’re done, withdraw the needle the same way you inserted it and place the protective cover, so as not to prick yourself. It is very likely that your dog will not even feel the injection or will only feel a slight sting. Once you learn how to do it, the procedure will be over in a few seconds.
Do not put your hand or finger on the plunger of the needle, because if the dog suddenly moves and pushes you, the contents will be wasted or you will accidentally inject it.
Reward your dog for good behavior.
Finally, do not throw the needle and syringe in the trash. It is better that you take them to the veterinary clinic or a pharmacy, so that they dispose of them correctly.
Never use syringes, plungers or needles that have already been used, even with the same dog and medication. In this way you will avoid infections.
What if I have to apply an intramuscular injection?
- Intramuscular injections are administered in certain areas of the body. Are more difficult to put than subcutaneous. Therefore, if you need to do it at home, it is better that I show you your veterinarian. He’ll help you locate the proper landmarks and explain how to do it before you try it at home.
- The first thing you have to do is maintain sterility of the vial and the needle, load the syringe with the medication and place it near where you are with the dog.
- Once you find the injection site, use the technique your vet has told you.
- If you have to give this injection frequently, try alternate application sitesdo not always do it in the same place.
- To give an intramuscular injection, you have to hold the syringe in one hand and insert the sterile needle through the skin, into the underlying muscle. He needle angle should be between 45º and 90º, depending on the area. If the angle is less, it is likely that you will miss the muscle and stay subcutaneously.
- When you have inserted the needle, pull the plunger back. If you see blood, remove the needle. and try somewhere else. If not, push the plunger forward and empty the syringe.
- Withdraw the empty syringe, backing up the same path you used to penetrate the skin.
- Reward your dog and dispose of used needles and syringes properly.
- If you don’t feel comfortable giving your dog injections, ask your vet to do it for you.
How to inject my dog with insulin
If your dog has diabetes, the administration of insulin injections is very important. In this case, unless your vet tells you otherwise, feed your dog before to administer insulin.
Prepare the insulin following the instructions from your vet.
sterilize the vial cleaning the rubber stopper of the vial with alcohol, before inserting the syringe needle.
Turn the bottle upside down and draw the prescribed amount into the syringe.
Your vet will indicate the most appropriate area to apply the injection to your dog. This injection is given just under the skin and the most common places to do so are one to two centimeters from the middle of the back, near the shoulder blade or back.
Toggle application location each time, to avoid pain. If necessary, ask someone to help you restrain your dog.
Remember to hold the syringe in your dominant hand and not place your finger on the plunger until the needle is inside the skin.
See your vet if your dog is not eating, is eating less than normal, or is vomiting
shortly after eating. Also if your dog seems lethargic or wobbles
before administration of the injection.
If you accidentally inject your dog’s insulin, consult your doctor, as it can affect your blood sugar levels.
- If you have to give your dog injections on a regular basis, you may be interested in learning how to do it.
- Most of the injections that you will have to give at home are subcutaneous
- Your vet will teach you how to safely give injections to your dog
- Intramuscular and intravenous injections are more difficult to apply and are usually given by the veterinarian
- Your dog will probably not feel any discomfort when receiving the injection
- Do not use used syringes or needles
- Ask a friend or family member to help you stop the dog from moving
- Be sure to remove all air bubbles from the syringe
- If you have any questions or complications, go to the vet
- If you accidentally prick yourself, see your vet and doctor