Pet Home Care

We encourage pet owners to take an active roll at home in caring for their pets. These are some of the things that our trained professionals can teach you how to do at home.

Nail Trimming
Nail Trimming
Ear Cleaning
Ear Cleaning
Oral Meds to Cats
Oral Meds to Cats
Oral Meds to Dogs
Oral Meds to Dogs
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Nail Trimming

Nail trims are an important part of regular pet care. When canine toenails get long they impede appropriate walking which can damage toe joints. They can also fracture, exposing the quick, the soft sensitive vascular tissue inside the nail, which can become infected. Overgrown cat nails can become imbedded in the pad, creating a painful wound susceptible to infection.

The most important component of nail trimming is PATIENCE. As most pet owners know, our canine and feline companions are hesitant to have their feet touched. Using a favorite treat as a reward for letting you touch their feet is a great way to start the process. Slowly introducing the nail clippers or dremmel, while offering treats and praise for appropriate behavior, over many sessions before ever trying to clip a nail will get your pet adjusted to the sight and sounds of the process. Then, even if you can only trim one nail per day without your pet getting stressed, you will have succeeded. If at any point your pet seems too stressed, revert to the previous step for a few sessions. Do not attempt to trim the nails of a growling or snarling animal.

Ear Cleaning

Making routine ear cleaning a part of your regular home care regime can help prevent ear infections in dogs that are prone to this condition. Unfortunately, there are just some breeds, like Cocker Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers, and some dogs regardless of breed that are especially susceptible to ear infections. It is important to remember that cleaning an infected ear is not a replacement for a proper diagnosis (by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) and appropriate medication. Ear infections result from an over abundance of yeast or bacteria. Many feline ear infections are caused by a parasitic mite that lives, makes its home and reproduces inside the ear.

Administering Oral Medication to Cats

Most cat owners have experienced the trials of giving their cat oral medication at one time or another. We understand that medicating your cat can be a stressful part of the treatment process for both you and your pet. We strive to make this process as painless as possible and will provide the easiest products to administer that fit within the treatment plan set by the veterinarian.

Some felines will take pills hidden in high-value foods like, canned tuna, salmon, cream cheese, or Greenies Pill Pockets ®/MD. Alternatively, some routine medications can be compounded at outside pharmacies into a flavored liquid suspensions or chewable "treat" tablets. But there are still those patients who want nothing to do with medication of any kind in any shape, form, or flavor. With these patients it becomes necessary to administer the pill or liquid directly into the cat's mouth.

If you are administering the medication on your own, you may find it easiest to place your cat in your lap. You may need to have someone assist you in restraining your cat by wrapping it in a blanket or towel with only the head exposed. We lovingly refer to this as making a kitty burrito.

Make sure you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.

Lubricate or "grease" the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so it doesn't stick in your cat's mouth or throat and will be easier to swallow. This is very helpful with the administration of capsules.

  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger.
  • Gently grasp your cat's head from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side of the upper jaw and your fingers on the other. Tilt the cat's head back over its shoulder so that its nose points to the ceiling. The jaw should drop open slightly.
  • With your pilling hand, use your little finger and ring finger to open the cat's mouth further by gently putting pressure on the lower lip and front teeth.
  • Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible. Try to place it on the back one-third of the tongue to stimulate an automatic swallowing reflex.
  • Close the cat's mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position.
  • Gently rub the cat's nose or throat, or blow lightly on the nose. This should also help stimulate swallowing.
  • If you have trouble with this method of opening the mouth, try placing the cat on an elevated table. Hold the cat by the scruff of the neck and lift the front paws off of the table. The mouth will drop open. Quickly place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, as in the previous method.
  • If you continue to experience difficulty, you may want to purchase a "pill gun" device.

The instructions for administering liquid medication are similar to the ones above:

  • Hold the syringe or dropper containing the medication with your dominant hand.
  • First, allow the cat to lick the medication from the tip of the syringe as you slowly depress the plunger. The cat may accept the medication more readily if it is warmed to room temperature.
  • If your cat is not interested in licking the liquid, gently take the cat by the scruff of the neck and pull the head back.  The mouth will then open slightly.
  • Place the tip of the syringe in the side of the mouth, just behind one of the canine ("fang") teeth.
  • Advance the syringe so it is placed in the mouth just inside of the teeth. Be sure to angle the syringe slightly to the side. You do not want to forcefully inject the liquid straight into the back of the throat. This can increase the risk of the cat inhaling or aspirating the liquid.
  • Slowly squeeze the syringe to dispense the liquid medication. Make sure you do this slowly so the cat has time to swallow the liquid and breathe.
  • Most cats will spit out some of the medication. DO NOT re-medicate unless you are certain that NONE of the medication was taken.

Administering Oral Medication to Dogs

In our experience, dogs are generally more willing to take oral medication than their feline counterparts. Usually, a special treat that can easily conceal a pill or tablet will be readily eaten. Some suggestions for this are: canned dog food, peanut butter & a bit of bread, soft plain white bread, hotdog, or Greenies Pill Pockets ®/MD.

We recommend hand feeding these pill/treat morsels to be sure that the medication is actually ingested. If you find that your dog is searching out the medication in these treats, try setting up a quick series of treats. Give a few tid-bits without the medication before and after the pill/treat combination.

In Case of an Emergency

If you have an emergency outside of our regular business hours, we recommend that you contact one of the following emergency facilities:

Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin
Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin

19314 SW Mohave Ct.
Tualatin, OR 97062
Open weekends/holidays and evenings

Northwest Veterinary Specialist
Northwest Veterinary Specialist

16756 S.E. 82nd Drive
Clackamas, OR 97015
Open 24 hours

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Dove Lewis Veterinary Emergency Hospital

24-Hour Hospital Main Line: 503.228.7281
1945 NW Pettygrove
Portland, OR 97209
Phone: 503.228.7281
Fax: 503.228.0464
Open 24 hours / 7 days

More than just a vet, Portland Oregon's Town and Country Animal Hospital is your animal's second family.