How to Give Liquid Remedies to Cats & Dogs: A Pet Owner's Guide

| Modified on Jan 29, 2024
Cat and Dog

Administering liquid medication or remedies to pets, especially cats and dogs, can be challenging for many pet owners. The health and well-being of your furry friends must ensure they receive the correct dosage in a stress-free manner. This article provides practical tips and techniques to help you successfully administer liquid remedies to your pets.

Understanding Your Pet's Needs

Before administering any medication, it's essential to understand your pet's health needs. Consult your veterinarian to ensure the prescribed liquid remedy suits your pet's condition and clarify the correct dosage and frequency.

Preparing the Medication

Shake the Bottle: If the medication needs to be shaken, do so before drawing up the dose.
Use the Right Tools: Utilize a syringe or dropper for accurate measurement. Your vet can provide these tools and show you how to use them properly.

Administering Liquid Medication to Cats

Cats can be particularly challenging when it comes to taking medication. Follow these steps for a smoother experience:

  1. Secure Your Cat: Gently hold your cat in your lap or on a stable surface.
  2. Approach from the Side: Position the syringe or dropper at the side of the mouth, behind the canine teeth, to avoid a gag reflex.
  3. Administer Slowly: Slowly release the medication, allowing your cat to swallow it gradually.
  4. Praise and Reward: After administering the medication, offer your cat a treat or affection to create a positive association.

Administering Liquid Medication to Dogs

Dogs are generally more cooperative but still require careful handling:

  1. Calm and Comfort: Ensure your dog is relaxed and comfortable before beginning.
  2. Open the Mouth: Gently hold the muzzle and lift the upper lip. Insert the syringe or dropper into the side of the mouth.
  3. Administer Slowly: Dispense the medication slowly, allowing your dog to swallow.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Offer a treat or affection after administering the medication to reinforce positive behavior.

Ensuring Complete Dosage

  • Check for Spills: Ensure no medication is spilled during administration. If your pet spits out the remedy, do not re-administer the full dose without consulting your vet.
  • Follow Up with Water: Offering water after medication can help wash down the remedy and ensure it's swallowed.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

  • Stay Calm: Your pet can sense your emotions. Stay calm and composed during the process.
  • Practice Routine: Familiarize your pet with the administration process using water or a harmless liquid before using the actual medication.


Administering liquid remedies to cats and dogs requires patience, understanding, and gentle handling. By following these tips, you can ensure that your pet receives the proper medication dosage in a stress-free manner, contributing to their overall health and comfort. Always consult your veterinarian for specific advice regarding your pet's medication and health needs.

Continue reading below to learn how Earth Clinic readers administered liquid remedies to their cats and please let us know if you have additional techniques to add!

Administering Liquid Remedies

8 User Reviews
5 star (8) 

Posted by Pam E. (SouthWestern California) on 11/15/2022 127 posts

Regarding giving cats ACV ... I feed 5 cats who accept it without any trouble when I just mix it with the water that I add to their food (usually dry kibble). I use enough water to more than cover the food & they always lick it all up, even when it hasn't had any time for any of it to get absorbed by the kibble, & the kibble has had the same limited time to mix with the water.

Administering Liquid Remedies
Posted by Kattis (Canterbury S) on 05/05/2017

I find the greatest way to get something like ACV into a cat is to pop it on its fur....they will always lick anything off. I cured my cat's sudden urine infection overnight with ACV.

Administering Liquid Remedies
Posted by Tickertin (Richmond, VA) on 07/19/2009

How to Easily Dose your Cat:

I tried the ACV and read with smiles the struggles to get the cats to drink. I have had cats for over thirty years and here is an easy method. I THOROUGHLY washed a small clear tube in which water soluable hair product had come in. (you can use conditioner or shampoo, clear is best and nothing oily to be SURE you can clean it out). Mine is a small one ounce squeeze tube that a sample of hair gel came in. Squeeze the sides in and draw into the tube the dose of ACV (mine was 1/2 tsp. fill rest with water. Lay cat on back in your lap and place tube to side and back of mouth and squeeze gently. They swallow by reflex if you don't put too much it all goes down. Squeeze too hard and they can cough it back out (but some still goes in). Clear tube is important so you can measure how much you are giving them so as not to over/under dose. My vet told me this years ago, cats have to swallow when you hold them this way and put the liquid in this way, and I have done it for years.

Replied by Catmom
(Naples, Fl)

PLEASE do not lay the cat on his back to feed anything. They need to be facing down like when they are eating. The food or liquid may go down the wrong pipe into his lungs and make the cat very sick and will be very painful, particularly with vinegar.

Replied by Patti
(Mountain View Nj)

I've had cats my whole life, some very friendly and affectionate and some, well, very cat like. I was laughing at the thought of putting any one of them on their back! Psh! Like that'll happen. Even if I could, it just sounds too dangerous to my babies. I wonder if putting some on the front paws like I do with hair ball remedy, would help. If it works I'll let you know. :)

Replied by Diamond
(Mass., US)

I just put the ACV in can cat food, then I put fish oil on the cat food and cover it up with more of his/her cat food.But I have one cat that changes from one minute to one sec. etc. she will not eat the same food twice.I think she has some mucus and has problems coughing and eventually spits up a white foamy substance, I'm guessing it's worms. I took her to the vets. and the vet never examined my cat but a tech. did the work, as to what she did I am not sure; however I made double sure she gave my cat something for worms. Other than that she asked if she could take xrays, I said I think not, I have had xrays for years and never proven accurate. This is my last visit with a vet. as this one cost me over a hundred dollars, for so little a job.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Diamond!

How sad that you had such an unproductive visit at the vet.

Please know you DO have options! You can ask for the vet to see your animal and not settle for the vet tech. Granted, some tech are very experienced and do a great job, but if you feel you are not getting the service you are paying for, then state so to the tech and ask to have the vet see your animal. Next, why did the tech wish to take an xray? You should ask why a particular procedure is indicated so you can make an informed judgement as to how to proceed. And while worming your cat may have been something needed, my experience with cat's upchucking foamy substances has nothing to do with worms, but possibly something to do with an obstruction of the GI tract, which an xray could have revealed if it were indeed present. [A savvy vet or vet tech would also be able to palpate and feel if this were an issue as well].

Again, so sorry you did not get satisfaction with the vet you chose to use; remember, you can always shop around to find a vet you can work with as a healing team for your pets. I hope your cat does well on the ACV treatment you have chosen.

Administering Liquid Remedies
Posted by Terry (Stoneham, Ma) on 01/17/2009

Re: Giving Liquid Remedies to a Cat

I use a syringe to administer liquids or anything else I can get into it.I put it in the side of his mouth (open mouth)may not be to easy but wrap him in a towel if you have to.Make sure his claws can't get out of the neck part or he will get you! I talk calmly to ease him. Get what ever it is your putting in as fast as you can.You can buy one at the drug store,look in the baby section or the animal stores.Don't feel bad just because he doesn't like it and fights you. It's the best thing for him or her. I got a 3 ml (milameter) one. Maybe there are bigger ones. If I need to give him more than I just have to do it twice. Good Luck