Another class of essential elements in the food is vitamins. It may sound like heresy, but there is good evidence that far too much stress has been placed on this subject. Too many people drew rash conclusions from the scanty information available to them. We are now finding that we will need great many more facts before we can speak with the confident tone many adopted some years ago. New vitamins are in the process of being tested daily, and there will be many others. Our knowledge will be incomplete and inconclusive for some time to come.
Definition a vitamin is one of a class of substances, existing in minute quantities in natural foods, necessary for normal nutrition and growth, whose absence produces dietary diseases. Some vitamins can be produced synthetically. Some are soluble in fat and are found only in foods containing appreciable amounts of fat. Others are water-soluble. Some are destroyed by heat, some by rancidity, and some by age.
Vitamins are necessary only in minute quantities. With a few exceptions, all the essential vitamins are present in a normal diet. What is sure about the information we have now is that it seems certain that our dogs can get all the vitamins they need if their diets contain yeast, fresh alfalfa-leaf meal, and some form of vitamin D. This may be first sliver oil, in tiny amounts, irradiated yeast, and so forth. It is as simple as that.
teeth and partly opening the mouth. The dog won’t close its mouth because to do so it will have to bite its lips. With your right hand pick up the pill or capsule between the thumb and first or second finger and with the little finger pull down the lower jaw. Hold it open with the side of the little finger and drop the pill as far back on the tongue as possible. With your forefinger, or with the forefinger and second finger, push the pill gently but quickly as far back into the throat as you can. Then withdraw your hand quickly, let the mouth close, and hold it together until the dog sticks out its tongue in the act of swallowing. Several pills and capsules may be poked down in this way at one time. Some capsules contain bitter or irritating drugs. If a dog bites them they may cause fright, suffocation, and a taste so obnoxious that the dog will try for many minutes to cough or scratch it out. If you are giving your pet medicine of this sort, you will want to be certain that no capsules are dropped between the teeth or insufficiently pushed down the throat.
Short-nosed breeds, such as Boston Terriers, Boxers, English Bulldogs, and Bullmastiffs, have such fat tongues and restricted throats that laymen frequently have difficulty in properly medicating them. When wet, the pills or capsules become slippery and slide around sideways over the back of the broad tongue. It is wise never to try to give wet pills, especially wet capsules. If you are unsuccessful in the first attempt to give the medicine, take the capsule out, and dry it. It will often stick to your finger just enough to enable you to pilot it into the back of the throat properly. Sometimes two fingers can keep it from sliding sideways, and on large dogs, even three fingers may work well.
There are other effective methods you may prefer in the administration of pills, tablets, and capsules. Some may appeal to you. You may have noticed how when offered a tidbit of food dogs smell it, pick it up gingerly, chew, and swallow it. If it is to their liking, most gulp the second and subsequent morsels. With this in mind, prepare three units of, say, peanut butter, cheese, or liverwurst on crackers. Place the capsule or tablet under the chosen goodie on the second cracker. Give the dog cracker number one, which will be checked out thoroughly, then give the second cracker with the medication and immediately show the third tidbit. The dog will often gulp the second to get the third.
The advantage of using crackers with goodies lies in the fact that while crunching a cracker the dog is not apt to notice the pill if it is scrunched at the same time.
The next method concerns candy and this brings to mind the fact that many pet owners tell us their dogs have never tasted candy. Although many people eat candy themselves they believe it is somehow unhealthy for dogs. We fed ao percent corn syrup to puppies ironsweaning until they were two years old to try to produce cavities. Produced no cavities and that litter of six was as healthy as any puppies could be. Sweets in moderation cannot harm a dog.
Hiding a pill or capsule or tablet in a soft-centered chocolate candy is a simple and good way to administer it. Once again, use three candies; the second one offered should have the medication. There is another method using candy wherein the dog must be “pre-fooled” before it starts taking the medication. As a treat, toss the dog broken pieces of Life Savers now and then. When the time comes that the dog needs medication, toss the pill or tablet along with a few pieces of LifeSavers on the floor. Most dogs will pick up the pill or tablet along with the sweets.
Another client found that with the spherical capsules, we had pre-scribed he could put one in a “pea shooter,” open the pup’s mouth, blow it into its throat, close the mouth, and rub its throat: “No problem, Doc.”
One of my clients solved the problem by sewing chicken skin around each capsule and placing them in the refrigerator to give to her dog as directed.
One of our favorite methods of administering solid medications is marshmallows. Leave a few exposed to the air for a few hours until they become tough on the outside, then insert the medications in one of three. Once again, give one without the medication first. Gumdrops, raw hamburgers, meatballs, and soft cheese are other ways favored by pet owners.
Liquid medicine when not given by the lip-pouch method presents perhaps a greater challenge. It may work to combine it with honey or corn or maple syrup and pour the mixture on a piece of bread, and some find an ice-cream sundae with the liquid medicine as the topping poured over it as a sauce works, too.
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