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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Putting the treat in treatments with new products

 Keeping your pet happy while giving medication can be a chore. New products make the task easier. 
 (File / AssocIated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Dr. Marty Becker McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Our pets need medicine but don’t want to take it. A recent KLB marketing study revealed that only 10 percent of cat owners and 30 percent of dog owners succeed in medicating their pets correctly. What this means is that a lot of prescriptions sent home by the veterinarian end up in the cupboard rather than in the pet, and the pet owner is too embarrassed or hesitant to go back to the veterinarian and admit failure.

It’s very important that a pet owner give medications, at precise intervals, for as long as the veterinarian has prescribed. Failure to do so can not only can hinder the pet’s recovery from a condition or illness, but medication-battles (cats under the bed, prying dog’s mouths open) can have a negative emotional impact on the pet and the bond we share with them as well.

Seeing medicine clutched in your hand, pets are often as unwilling and fearful as young children are when it comes to taking wonder drugs. Many humans feel uncomfortable taking pills and don’t like to push one down their pet’s throat, perhaps for good reason. Pets can read human body language and if you feel guilty, they pick that up and respond as if being punished.

Instead, act jolly.

Luckily, pet medications are no longer just a “bitter pill to swallow.” Prescriptions can now be disguised inside of tasty coverings, or can be compounded into tantalizing chewable tablets and savory liquids.

To get the meds out of the bottle and into the pet try these new products:

•Flavor-Doh – Kind’a like Play-Doh, but in flavors like fish and chicken for cats and liver or chicken for dogs. You follow three steps: pinch off a portion, wrap the pill/capsule until completely covered to conceal the medicinal odor, and then offer to your pet like a treat. (Ask for a “sit” first, if that is your norm.) Product can be customized to fit any size pill or capsule.

•Pill Pockets – These are a healthy treat with a patented pocket to safely conceal the medicine. In savory flavors like beef and chicken for dogs and chicken and salmon for cats, they come in four sizes for dogs and one size for cats.

•FLAVORx system – These savory liquids are custom compounded to disguise liquid medicines to the veterinarian’s specifications and are per prescription. More than 35,000 North American pharmacies (including Walgreens, CVS and Wal-Mart) use this system, as do an increasing number of veterinarians. Studies indicate that 50 percent of pets will take medicine right off of a spoon; the other 50 percent from a dispensing syringe. The volumes are very small (.5-1cc for cats, 1-2cc for dogs, and .25 cc for exotics). Popular flavors for dogs are red angus beef, salmon steak, chicken pot pie, bubble gum and groovy grape. Cats can’t stomach anything too sweet but love salty flavors such as bacon or salmon steak. Salmon steak is the number one flavor for dogs and cats; ferrets and gerbils love bubble gum and groovy grape; reptiles and rodents love mom’s banana bread; and horses prefer gooey molasses and tangy apple. To find out who in your community offers the FLAVORx system visit

•VetChews – VetChews are an example of a soft, easy-to-chew, medicated pet treats which are custom compounded to the veterinarian’s specifications and are per prescription. BCP Veterinary Pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy in Houston, Texas, that offers to send home a “taste test” with tabs without medication of the flavors to determine your pet’s favorite flavor before hand.

VetChew treats are available in chicken, liver, beef, tuna, shrimp and seafood flavors for dogs and cats. Yogurt or peanut butter are offered for rabbits and ferrets; alfalfa for small animals such as hamsters or gerbils; sweet feed and alfalfa for horses; banana, apple, raspberry or raisin for monkeys.