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Subcutaneous Injections for Dogs and Cats

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How to Give Subcutaneous Injections to Your Pet

Prepare everything before you get your pet. Wipe off the top of the injection vial with an alcohol swab, draw-up the correct dosage and eject all the air from the syringe. If the medication was refrigerated, let it rise to room temperature. Put the syringe in an easily accessible area, out of sight of your animal.

Giving your pet a shot is much easier with help. The other person can restrain your animal and keep him calm while you give the injection.

Always Find a Comfortable Position for Your Pet (and for You)

Get into a comfortable position with your pet while keeping the syringe out of sight. Stay calm and speak in a soothing voice while giving a short petting session. During petting sessions, randomly pinch the loose skin around the neck area to get your pet used to the next steps.

With your non-dominant hand, pinch the loose skin between your thumb and forefinger. Hold the syringe with your dominant hand between your index and middle fingers with your thumb on the plunger. Angle the syringe at 30 - 45 degrees with the bevel of the needle up. Quickly insert the needle and pull back slightly on the plunger to make sure there is no blood, and then quickly administer the contents.

When Finished with the Injection, It's Time for Reward

When you're finished, give your pet a reward with some playtime or a tasty treat. This should make it much easier to administer injections in the future.

Recap the needle and dispose of the entire syringe into a “sharps” container. If the medication requires refrigeration, put it back in the refrigerator.

About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of expertise include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.