Phone: 520.889.9643 | Fax: 520.889.9023
By Appointment Only

NOTE: We are NOT taking ferals on the following dates for the month of June, 6/5, 6/6, and 6/14.  Starting in 2024 all dog spay/neuter surgeries will be required to go home with an e-collar (cone) for $15.

pet health issues

5 Common Pet Health Issues in Tucson and How to Prevent Them

As pet owners in Tucson, we cherish the companionship and joy our furry friends bring into our lives. However, just like us, our pets can face health challenges. In this guide, we will explore the 5 common pet health issues affecting animals in Tucson and provide you with actionable tips on preventing them. By understanding these potential problems and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your pets lead long, happy, and healthy lives.

1. Obesity and Overweight Pets

Obesity is a prevalent health issue among pets in Tucson, just as it is among humans. Many factors contribute to this problem, such as overfeeding, lack of exercise, and high-calorie treats. The consequences of obesity in pets can be severe, leading to joint problems, heart disease, and a reduced lifespan.

To prevent obesity in your pets, follow these tips:

  • Proper Diet: Consult with a veterinarian to determine the right portion sizes and the best diet for your pet’s age, size, and breed.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage your pets in daily physical activities to keep them active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit Treats: Be mindful of treat consumption and opt for healthier options like carrots or low-calorie treats.

2. Dental Health Issues

Dental problems are common in pets, and they can lead to discomfort, bad breath, and even more severe health issues. Regular dental care is essential to prevent dental diseases in your furry companions.

Here’s how to maintain your pet’s dental health:

  • Regular Brushing: Brush your pet’s teeth regularly using a pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Chew Toys: Provide chew toys designed to promote dental health and reduce plaque buildup.
  • Annual Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to detect any dental issues early.

3. Fleas, Ticks, and Parasites

Tucson’s warm climate makes it an ideal breeding ground for fleas, ticks, and parasites. These pesky creatures can cause discomfort, transmit diseases, and even lead to severe health problems if left untreated.

To protect your pets from fleas, ticks, and parasites:

  • Regular Grooming: Groom your pets regularly and check for signs of fleas or ticks.
  • Flea Preventatives: Use veterinarian-recommended flea and tick preventatives.
  • Indoor Cleanliness: Keep your living spaces clean and vacuum regularly to prevent infestations.

4. Heatstroke and Dehydration

The scorching Tucson summers can be particularly challenging for our furry friends. Heatstroke and dehydration are significant concerns for pets in hot weather.

To keep your pets safe during hot weather:

  • Ample Water Supply: Ensure your pets have access to fresh water at all times.
  • Shade and Rest: Provide shaded areas and encourage your pets to rest during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Avoid Overexertion: Limit outdoor activities in extreme heat, especially during peak sun hours.

5. Allergies

Pets can develop allergies, just like humans. Allergies may be triggered by food, environmental factors, or even certain grooming products.

To manage pet allergies:

  • Identify Allergens: Work with your veterinarian to identify and eliminate potential allergens.
  • Hypoallergenic Diet: Consider a hypoallergenic diet if food allergies are suspected.
  • Medication and Treatment: Follow your veterinarian’s advice on allergy medications or treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

A: You can check if your pet is overweight by feeling their ribs; they should be easily felt without excess fat covering them.

2. Can dental issues cause other health problems in pets?

A: Yes, untreated dental problems can lead to more severe health issues, affecting the heart, kidneys, and overall well-being of your pet.

3. Are natural flea preventatives effective?

A: Some natural flea preventatives can be effective, but it’s best to consult with your veterinarian for the most reliable solutions.

4. Can I leave my pet outside during the summer?

A: While pets can enjoy outdoor time, make sure they have access to shade, water, and are not left outside during the hottest parts of the day.

5. What are the common signs of pet allergies?

A: Common signs of pet allergies include itching, redness, skin rashes, sneezing, and gastrointestinal issues.


Being aware of the 5 common pet health issues in Tucson and taking preventive measures is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your beloved pets. By following the tips provided in this guide and working closely with your veterinarian, you can provide the best care and support to keep your furry companions healthy and happy. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet! Contact us if your pet is feeling sick and need professional help!

toxic foods for dogs and cats

10 Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs and Cats

As a pet owner, it is essential to be aware of the foods toxic to dogs and cats. Some foods that are perfectly safe for humans can be very harmful to dogs and cats. Pets are like family members; as responsible pet owners, we are responsible for keeping them safe and healthy. One way to ensure their safety is to avoid feeding them foods that harm their health. Even though we may enjoy these foods, they can cause severe damage to our pets’ health. In this article, we will discuss ten common foods that can be toxic to your pets and explain why they should be avoided.

Below are ten common foods that are toxic to dogs and cats.


Chocolate is a popular treat for humans but is one of the most dangerous foods for dogs and cats. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in pets. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your pet.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. The exact toxic substance in grapes and raisins is unknown, but even small amounts can harm pets. Grape and raisin toxicity symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage your pet’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Onion and garlic toxicity symptoms include weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.


Avocado contains a toxin called persin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and cats. The pit of the avocado can also be a choking hazard, and it can cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested.


Alcohol can be very harmful to pets. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even coma or death. Even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous to pets, so it is important to keep it away from them at all times.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. The exact cause of macadamia nut toxicity is unknown, but even small amounts can harm pets.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many sugar-free gums and candies. It can cause a rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs. Symptoms of xylitol toxicity include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures.

Fat Trimmings and Bones

Feeding your pets fat trimmings and bones can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation). Bones can also splinter and cause intestinal blockages or puncture the digestive tract.

Raw Meat and Fish

Raw meat and fish can contain bacteria and parasites that can cause pet food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.


1. What should I do if my pet has ingested toxic food?

If you suspect that your pet has eaten toxic food, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. They can advise you on what to do next, which may include inducing vomiting or providing other treatments.

2. How can I prevent my pet from eating toxic foods?

The best way to prevent your pet from eating toxic foods is to keep these foods out of reach. Store foods in secure containers or cabinets, and dispose of any leftovers properly.

3. Can cats and dogs eat the same foods?

No, cats and dogs have different nutritional needs and digestive systems. Some foods safe for dogs can be toxic to cats, so it is essential to research what is safe for your pet.

4. Can I give my pet any safe human foods?

Some human foods, such as cooked lean meat, vegetables, and fruits, are safe for pets. However, you should always check with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your pet’s diet.

5. Can my pet develop a tolerance for toxic foods?

No, foods will always be toxic to your pet, regardless of how much they eat or how often they are exposed. It is essential to always keep toxic foods out of reach to prevent accidental poisoning.


As pet owners, we are responsible for keeping our furry friends safe and healthy. Knowing which foods are toxic to your pets can help prevent accidental poisoning. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these toxic foods, seek veterinary care immediately.

why does my dog have a lump on his neck

Why Does My Dog Have a Lump on His Neck?

Few things cause more anxiety than petting your dog only to discover a bump beneath his fur. Scratching him beneath the collar, you find a strange bulge. Your mind begins racing as you wonder, “Why does my dog have a lump on his neck?”

As Tucson’s trusted veterinarian, we have a few theories that might answer your question. Call us at (520) 889-9023 to book an appointment and find solid answers.  

Fatty Tumor

Like many concerned pet owners, your mind might immediately jump to cancer as the reason for a lump. While you need a veterinarian to verify, many lumps aren’t cancerous. Sometimes dogs can develop fatty tumors called lipomas.

Lipomas consist of fat cells that accumulate in one place. While they don’t threaten your dog’s health, we can surgically remove them to reduce irritation.  

Sebaceous Cyst

A sebaceous cyst is another type of fatty tumor that poses no threat to your dog. Despite their name, sebaceous cysts don’t contain sebum. A sebaceous cyst may cause irritation and inflammation if located beneath your dog’s collar.

These cysts typically contain a combination of fat and protein like keratin and connective tissue. They develop in varying sizes with different consistencies. Often, they’ll disappear without any treatment. 


Sometimes, bacteria and other microbes become trapped beneath the surface of your dog’s skin. The microbes develop into an infected abscess filled with pus, which triggers your dog’s immune response. Abscesses often cause dog owners to ask, “Why does my dog have a lump on his neck?”

Most abscesses will resolve on their own. However, you might need to bring your dog in to have the abscess drained if it doesn’t clear up. Since tick bites, splinters, and other debris can cause an abscess, you should have your dog checked for any related problems.   

Mast Cell Tumor

A mast cell tumor is another, more concerning type of lump that may develop on your dog’s neck. These lumps typically appear on the torsos of aging dogs. However, they may still develop on your dog’s neck.

Mast cell tumors can be both benign and malignant. During a checkup, the veterinarian can test a tumor sample to confirm its impact on your dog’s health. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A squamous cell carcinoma develops because of exposure to sunlight. Unfortunately, it often comes with a cancer diagnosis. This type of tumor often causes other concerning symptoms, including:

  • Sores that won’t heal
  • Oral swelling
  • Coughing
  • Drooling
  • Inhibited ability to walk

If you observe these symptoms alongside a suspicious lump, contact our team for a diagnosis. You can then determine an appropriate course of action, depending on the diagnosis.

Find Peace of Mind with Your Furry Friend at Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic

If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my dog have a lump on his neck?” you can find answers at Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic. We handle each furry patient and their people with compassion and care. Book an appointment at (520) 889-9023 to learn more about that strange lump and common dog health issues by breed

symptoms of anemia in dogs

Symptoms of Anemia in Dogs: 12 Signs Pet Owners Should Know

Why would pet owners need to know the symptoms of anemia in dogs? Spotting the signs of ill health is the best way to avoid costly treatment or, worse, potentially fatal sickness in your dog. Illnesses like anemia are subtle, requiring you to pay more attention to your furry friend if you want to catch it early.

Here is more about anemia in dogs from a trusted veterinarian in Tucson, AZ.

What Is Anemia in Dogs?

Before we look at the various signs of anemia, it is important to understand the underlying issues. Anemia refers to a condition where the dog lacks either red blood cells or hemoglobin circulating in the bloodstream. Red blood cells supply oxygen throughout the body while removing carbon dioxide from the cells.

Bone marrow produces these vital cells, which transport oxygen through hemoglobin, a protein. The cells do their job for three months before breaking down and letting a new batch take over. However, the process does not always play out the right way in dogs battling anemia.

Potential Causes of Anemia in Dogs

  • Infectious disease
  • Chronic diseases that inhibit red blood cell production
  • Ingestion or inhalation of toxins or poisons
  • Blood loss due to parasite activity
  • Lyme disease
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Severe blood loss following accident or injury
  • Medications interfering with red blood cell production
  • Poor nutrition

Three Types of Anemia in Dogs

Blood Loss Anemia

Typically, blood loss anemia occurs after injury or surgery. However, it may also appear through a bleeding disorder or internal bleeding due to parasites.

Non-Regenerative Anemia

This type of anemia occurs when an underlying condition causes inadequate red blood cell production. Common causes include exposure to toxins, parvovirus, kidney disease, and bone marrow disease.

Hemolytic Anemia

With hemolytic anemia, the red blood cells break down faster than normal so that the bone marrow cannot produce enough red blood cells to take over.

12 Symptoms of Anemia in Dogs

So, what can pet owners expect to see in dogs with anemia? It depends on how long the disease has lasted, its severity, and the cause. It is also not uncommon for dogs to show no symptoms until the anemia becomes severe.

Moderate to severe anemia symptoms in dogs typically include the following:

  1. Pale gums
  2. Weight loss
  3. Sudden interest in eating non-edible items (pica)
  4. Reduced appetite
  5. Lethargy
  6. Weakness
  7. Breathing difficulties
  8. Faster than usual heartbeat
  9. Blood loss from the mouth, nose, reproductive, and digestive systems
  10. Unexplained bruising on the body
  11. Jaundice
  12. Loss of consciousness

If you spot any of these signs in your dog, seek urgent medical attention from a trusted veterinarian like Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic.

Professional Help for Your Dog in Arizona

Now that you know when to take your pet to the vet, consider putting a trusted team on speed dial. At Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, we safely treat anemia through blood transfusions, chemotherapy, bone marrow transfusions, and more.

Call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic at (520) 889.9643 today to discuss the symptoms of anemia in dogs or request an appointment in Tucson, AZ.

how to treat mange in puppies

How to Treat Mange in Puppies: A Short Guide

We all want our pets to be happy, healthy, and comfortable. You may feel like a bad parent if your dog seems sick or unhappy, but some things are simply out of our control.

At Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, we care about your pets and want to help you keep them happy and healthy. Read on to learn how to treat mange in puppies and get them back to living a fun, carefree life. If you’re looking for a qualified and experienced veterinarian in Tucson, AZ, give us a call today.

What Is Mange?

Mange is a type of skin disease in dogs caused by parasitic mites. The mites feed on cells just beneath the skin’s surface. The two types of mange a dog can suffer from are 

  • Demodectic mange
  • Sarcoptic mange

Demodectic Mange

This type of mange is most common in puppies and older dogs. Demodex Canus is the mite that lives in most dogs’ hair follicles and skin oil glands that causes demodectic mange. These mites usually co-exist with their host animals with no problem.

However, for dogs with weakened immune systems, the Demodex mites can overpopulate and irritate the skin. Demodectic mange is initially hard to spot, but dogs may suffer secondary bacterial infections due to scratching once hair loss begins. The good news is demodectic mange is not contagious.

Sarcoptic Mange

A parasitic mite, known as Sarcoptes scabiei, is responsible for sarcoptic mange (or scabies) in dogs and other mammals. This form of mange is highly contagious and usually passes from one pet to another through contact at a vet clinic, dog park, groomer, kennel, or shelter. Scabies symptoms can take between two and six weeks to develop. 

In addition, pet owners can contract scabies from their pets. Your veterinarian can do a painless skin scraping to determine what kind of mange your pet may have.

How to Treat Mange in Puppies: Home Remedies

We highly recommend you bring your puppy to the vet if you think they have symptoms of mange. If you catch the issue in its early stages, some home remedies may be able to help.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your puppy’s food can help reduce itching and clear up scabs and irritated skin.

Lemon Slices

Slice a lemon with the peel intact and put it in boiling water. After it sits overnight, massage it into your dog’s coat with a sponge.


Apply some plain yogurt to your dog’s ears. This remedy is only good for areas your dog cannot reach with their mouth.

Olive Oil

Rub olive oil on your dog’s infected skin to reduce itching and inflammation.

Call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic

If you need to know how to treat mange in puppies, the best way to ensure quick results is to go to a veterinary clinic. At Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, we treat all pets in the Tuscon, AZ, area with care and compassion. Click the link to learn about tick infestation on dogs, and call us at 520-889-9643 to schedule your appointment.

treatment for heartworm

What You Need to Know About Treatment for Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm is a blood-borne parasite disease in dogs. Known as Dirofilaria immitis, adult worms live in the heart, pulmonary artery, and surrounding large blood vessels of infected dogs. One dog can have as many as 300 heartworms at once. Prevention is the best way to keep your dog safe, but treatment for heartworm is often very successful.

Are you looking for the right vet for your dog? Dr. Neal is an experienced veterinarian in Tucson, AZ. Our team at Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic brings experience and compassion into the examination room. Call 520.889.9643 to schedule an appointment, and keep reading to learn everything you need to know about heartworm treatment for dogs.

How Is Heartworm Disease Spread? 

Many dogs with heartworms live with them for a long time before a vet diagnoses the disease. Heartworm transfers through bites from infected mosquitos, meaning it does not spread through other dogs. Infections happen during mosquito season when the mosquito population is the highest. 

Prolonged heartworm disease causes damage to the heart, liver, lungs, blood vessels, and kidneys. In the case of severe infection, the best route is to treat organ damage instead of heartworms.

What Is the Treatment for Heartworm? 

Treatment for heartworm has a 95% success rate. The veterinarian begins treatment by injecting a drug called melarsomine. This drug kills adult heartworms in the heart and surrounding blood vessels. Most dogs receive one injection followed by 30 days of rest. Next, the vet will administer two more injections 24 hours apart. 

Infected dogs will need a second form of treatment that kills heartworm larvae. This can happen either before or after the adult heartworm treatment. On the day they receive this treatment, your dog needs to stay at the vet to ensure that they have no adverse reactions to the medication. 

Dogs who receive treatment experience increased energy, improved appetite, and healthy weight gain. After recovery from treatment, your dog will start a heartworm-preventative program. This program focuses on stopping an infection from happening in the future.

What Should I Do After Treatment? 

Watch your dog and help them rest while they recover from the treatments. As adult heartworms die, they go to the lungs and lodge themselves in the small blood vessels. Reactions like mild coughing are common while the body absorbs the dead heartworms. 

Possible severe side effects include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting

If this occurs, contact your vet immediately. Even with treatment, some dogs may need lifelong treatment for heart failure. 

After successful treatment, your vet may recommend you start a program for heartworm preventives to protect your dog against future infections. Ask your vet about which heartworm-preventative program is best for your pet.

Learn More About Heartworm Treatment for Dogs

Treatment for heartworm is vital to save your dog’s life. At Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, experienced staff brings compassion into every part of treatment. Visit us online to learn more about the services we provide and find the answers to questions like why your cat keeps scratching furniture. Call 520.889.9643 to schedule an appointment with Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic.

tick infestation on dogs

Tick Infestation on Dogs: Signs, Cure, and Prevention

Ticks are the banes of the existence of all animals. Every mammal on Earth is susceptible to tick bites and tick infestations, yet dogs always seem to get the brunt of the trauma. It could be the fearless nature of our dogs that causes them to trudge through tick-infested woods.

A tick infestation on dogs is not a laughing matter and can severely threaten a dog’s health. Our veterinarian office in Tucson, AZ, has plenty of experience with ticks, and we want to spread awareness. Here are some signs, cures, and prevention methods to help when your dog has ticks.

Signs of Ticks & Tick Infestations

If you’re worried about a tick infestation in dogs you own, don’t worry. Here are some easily-identifiable signs that you can check on your dog. Some symptoms are more severe than others.

Small Bumps on the Skin

If your dog has small, black or brown bumps on its skin, these are most likely ticks. Often, you won’t be able to see them until they mature, but once they grow, they’re relatively easy to spot. Simply run your hands through your dog’s fur routinely to find them.

More Serious Symptoms

Here are some more severe symptoms that the incidence of ticks can cause:

  • Rashes
  • Shivering
  • Fever
  • Weakness, fatigue, and partial or total paralysis
  • Chronic pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Kidney failure
  • Nose bleeds
  • Anemia and blood-clotting issues

Removing (Curing) Ticks

Removing a tick is as simple as firmly grasping it by the head with a pair of tweezers or a tick-removal tool. However, don’t, under any circumstances, squeeze a tick’s body. Its fluids are very toxic and can rapidly lower a dog’s health.

Preventing Ticks

If you want to prevent a tick infestation on dogs, here are some easy things you can do.


Tick sprays are very effective but laborious methods of tick prevention. Pet owners should spray these products on their pets, taking care of their eyes and ears. Each spray lasts for a certain amount of time before requiring reapplication.


Tick collars are a reasonably modern alternative to other treatment methods. These collars contain a chemical that ticks loathe, keeping them away. However, owners of active dogs should avoid these, as getting them wet reduces their effectiveness.


Shampoos are the most effective method for tick prevention, but they are also useful for dogs with a tick infestation. Lather it onto your dog during bath time and leave it on for ten minutes for best results!

Don’t be Afraid to Bring Your Animals to Us

Bring your dog to us if you’re ever afraid to remove adult ticks yourself. We can help reduce the chance of tick-borne diseases and protect your dog’s health. We have years of experience treating tick infestation on dogs and other animals.

At Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, we believe in providing quality service and knowledge for pets in our area. Visit our blog to learn more about what to do when you encounter abandoned kittens.

Call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic at (520) 889-9643 to schedule an appointment for your best friend today!

dog destructive chewing

Destructive Chewing in Dogs: Reasons and Solutions

It is common for dogs, particularly puppies, to use their mouths for exploration, entertainment, and play. While a little playful chewing is common and rarely harmful, your dog’s behavior can quickly damage items in your home if you don’t address the problem. 

If you are dealing with destructive chewing, you should address the situation quickly to correct the behavior. Seeking the advice of a veterinarian may help the problem. Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic provides veterinary services in Tucson, AZ, and can help determine whether the behavior is normal or linked to a more significant problem.  

Here are some of the main reasons behind destructive chewing and how you can address the behavior. 

Cause #1: Separation Anxiety 

Adult dogs quickly attach to owners and can experience separation anxiety. A change in the family’s schedule, a new home, or being left alone for long periods can spark fear in your dog, resulting in destructive chewing.

Other signs of separation anxiety include frantic greetings, following you around the house, and barking when you leave. 


Punishing your pets when they display anxious behaviors is not the solution. Reacting harshly will only make the problem worse. Desensitization techniques can address dogs’ destructive chewing caused by anxiety, which exposes your dog to a stimulus starting at a low intensity. 

It is important to remember that your dog is not acting out on purpose and that punishments often create more serious issues. 

Cause #2: Seeking Attention 

Dogs may act out to seek the attention of their owners. Owners give more attention when dogs and puppies display inappropriate actions, inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. A dog’s destructive chewing behavior results in more attention, even if it is negative. 


You can stop attention-seeking behavior by giving your dog plenty of positive attention each day. Identify your dog’s favorite chew items and put these objects where they cannot reach them. Ignore negative actions and praise good ones.  

Cause #3: Boredom

Dogs explore the world with their mouths and may chew clothes, furniture, and shoes if they are left without chew toys. Dogs may display destructive chewing behaviors if left alone for long periods without appropriate entertainment. Puppies need regular mental stimulation and outlets to curb negative actions. 


Dogs, particularly large breeds, need to lead active lifestyles to remain happy and exhibit healthy behaviors. Play with your dog regularly in safe areas and encourage your children to take them on daily walks. 

Increase your dog’s opportunities for mental stimulation, particularly when they are left alone. Purchase chew toys and use a clicker to encourage your dog to play with the toys instead of munching on other items. 

Taking your pet to a behavior class is another excellent way to reinforce the positive behaviors you are teaching at home. Are you experiencing destructive chewing or dealing with separation anxiety in greyhounds? Find out whether the behavior is normal or part of a more significant problem by making an appointment with Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic.

how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine

How to Trick Your Dog into Taking Liquid Medicine

Regardless of breed, dogs have one thing in common: they don’t enjoy taking liquid medication. Dogs are intelligent about sniffing out pills, tasting medicine that’s mixed in, or wriggling away as you try to dispense liquid medicine. (Pill guns are a different story for another blog.)

Wondering how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine? Here are five tried and true tricks from Tucson’s top-rated veterinarian, Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, to get your dog to take medicine. Give them a try – we think you’ll find one that works for you.

Ask Your Vet for Compounded Medicine

Ask your vet if you can get the prescription compounded into ready-made dog treats. This makes your job easier and ensures that your dog receives the correct dosage. (Yes, we are happy to do this for our dog owners!)

Use a Syringe or Dropper

Draw the medication into the syringe or dropper (remember, 1ml = 1cc, 5cc = 1 teaspoon, and 15cc = 1 tablespoon). If it’s refrigerated, warm it in your hand first.

Get your dog into a comfortable spot or have someone hold the dog if needed. Grab the dog’s head with your non-dominant hand and place your dominant hand on top of its muzzle, circling with your thumb and fingers.

Then raise the dog’s nose toward the ceiling and squeeze your fingers behind its canine teeth. Place the dropper or syringe behind the canine teeth and squeeze the contents into the dog’s mouth. Praise your dog!

Peanut Paws

Another answer to the question “how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine?” works wonders for most fur babies, as it doesn’t seem like medicine to your dog. Mix the medicine into your dog’s favorite brand of peanut butter (some dogs like all peanut butter, but you’ll find that some can be choosy!) Spread it onto a silicone mat and watch your dog enjoy the treat.

Canned Food

This method of hiding liquid medicine from dogs works wonders for some, but it doesn’t work with everyone. Food flavor choices that work best include duck and salmon combo, tuna, chicken casserole, and salmon.

Start with a small amount of food to make sure your dog eats it all. If the dog doesn’t eat it at that concentration, continue mixing in more food until you reach the “magic ratio.” If your dog doesn’t finish all of the food, it’s not getting a correct dose, so find a different method for next time.


If your dog likes bread, that’s an acceptable alternative to canned food. But be careful not to use breads that are toxic to dogs, such as raisin bread, garlic bread, any bread with xylitol (sugar alcohol), or bread with nuts and seeds.

Stay Calm

Your dog can sense your mood and emotions from speaking tone and body language. If you are uneasy, your dog will be too and less likely to respond as you want.

Now that you know how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine, you’re prepared for any prescriptions your vet might give you. Click here to learn about the signs to take your pet to the vet.

For complete veterinary care, call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic at (520) 889-9643 to schedule an appointment.

when to take your pet to the vet

When to Take Your Pet to the Vet: Top 7 Signs

Pets are a vital part of the family, but communicating with them can often be difficult. They may not be able to talk, but certain behaviors are cause for concern. For this reason, you want to be sure you can recognize the signs of distress and know when to take your pet to the vet.

If your pet begins to display any of these signs, have them come in for veterinary services in Tucson from Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic right away.

Different Eating Habits

While skipping a meal here and there isn’t usually an issue, not eating for two or more days is concerning. Often pets will do this if they have a mouth injury or are sick, or immediately following being spayed or neutered. When the opposite occurs, and your pet is unusually hungry, it may be a sign of a serious medical issue. Both are signs that your pet needs to see a vet as soon as possible.

Drinking More Water

Pets will often drink more water when the weather is warmer or activity increases. It becomes a problem if they drink excessively for several days without reasonable cause. This may be an indication of kidney disease or diabetes.

Strained Breathing

A notable sign of when to take your pet to the vet is labored breathing, fast panting, or shallow breaths. When this occurs in sync with sudden inactivity, weight loss, and coughing, it may signify a serious lung condition.


Like humans, pets will occasionally vomit to rid their bodies of something that didn’t agree with them. However, if they vomit blood for more than once in 12 hours, don’t wait too long before taking them to a vet. Vomiting that occurs along with diarrhea, lethargy, and a poor appetite can indicate dehydration or more serious conditions that require medical attention immediately.

Noticeable Eye Changes

A pet’s eyes can show signs of illness and should be seen by a vet if they remain dilated or constricted. Other indicators of when to take your pet to the vet are unusual discharge, drooping, or the third eyelid covering part of their eye.

Persistent Coughing

While an occasional cough is usually nothing to worry about, your pet will require medical attention if it continues for more than two days. There are various reasons they may be coughing, so testing would be needed to make a proper diagnosis. Common reasons your pet may be coughing include an infection, kennel cough, or something lodged in their throat.

Pet Shows Signs of Pain

One of the most apparent indicators that a pet needs to see a veterinarian is when they show signs of pain. These may include limping, flinching, yelping, crying, panting, hiding, and unwillingness to move. A vet can help narrow down the source of the pain and resolve the issue quickly.

Taking Your Pet to the Vet

Vet visits are often stressful for our pets and can lead to anxious behaviors. Here are tips when taking your dog to the vet compiled by our Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic team to make your visit as seamless as possible. Call us at 520.889.9643 today to make an appointment.

  • 1
  • 2
Payments Accepted: Cash, credit card (Visa, MC, AmEx, Discover), CareCredit (Apply for CareCredit) or Scratchpay (Apply for Scratchpay)

CS Design Studios LogoCopyright ©  -