Aw, your guinea pig is sick and needs medicine, but what’s the best way to give your guinea pig medicine to make sure he or she gets it all and doesn’t spill? Giving medicine to any pet can be a stressful procedure, but in the event that you find your guinea pig feeling under the weather and requiring syringe feeding or syringe-administered medicine (orally, not a shot), here are some tips to help you successfully give your guinea pig medicine:
- Accurately measure the liquid guinea pig medicine in your syringe before gathering up your guinea pig. Many vets will mark on a syringe where the dosage should be, which is very helpful, and often a medicine bottle will have
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a special insert in the cap to allow you to easily draw the medicine into the syringe by tipping it upside down without spilling.
- Find a calm and quiet place and time where you’re not rushing so your guinea pig can feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
- If administering guinea pig medicine alone, place your guinea pig on a towel in your lap, or safely on a soft surface where he or she can’t run and jump from a height.
- If you can, have a friend help you by having the guinea pig on his or her lap on a towel so you can approach your guinea pig at eye level from the front, perhaps kneeling on the floor while a friend sits in a chair or holds your guinea pig still on a table, counter or bed.
- Depending on the medicine, you may find your guinea pig turning his face away to try to avoid it, or you may find him eagerly lapping it up! Either way, be sure to be gentle and proceed slowly as not to squirt the medicine too forcefully into his mouth and cause potential aspiration of liquid.
- Reach your opposite hand gently by your guinea pig’s cheeks and hold his head still, very gently drawing his upper lip area up a bit to help you insert the syringe into his mouth. Approaching at a slight angle behind the front teeth is good, as you can push it drop by drop onto the tongue where the guinea pig will instinctively lick and swallow it. (try not to shove the syringe too far into your guinea pig’s mouth/throat, though!)
- If your guinea pig starts head-butting and putting up a struggle, you may find that it’s easy to ‘miss the target’ with the syringe and get a drop in his fur or miss completely. If you get
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the medicine on his lip or around his mouth that is generally okay as he’ll lick it up and wash his face. But since the dosage is so small to begin with, we want to minimize as much missed medicine as possible. Holding the head steady is key, without being too forceful.
- If your dosage is a few drops, you can try a drop at a time until it’s all in, and then praise your piggie for being such a good sport. This is the perfect time for a little veggie reward for a job well done (and it’ll help them get the taste out of their mouth in case the medicine was yucky)
If your guinea pig is very sickly and doesn’t want to eat, you may need to force feed with a slurry of high calorie specialty food like Oxbow Critical Care in a similar fashion to how you administered the medicine.
I hope these tips have helped you feel more prepared and confident about giving your guinea pig medicine! (although ideally you don’t want to have to be in this position, it’s always great to be prepared). Have you given your guinea pig medicine before? If so, do you have any tips to add?