Monthly Behavioural Tip – Giving Parasite Control

Have you checked your calendar and seen that your pet’s parasite control is due? Do you immediately feel a rush of anxiety knowing that there will be a serious struggle when it comes to giving your pet a tablet/spot on treatment? You can rest assure, your pets are probably feeling the same kind of anxiety as you are! Have no fear - there are a few options to help reduce these difficulties and in-turn help you to be more compliant yourself keeping your pet up to date on their parasite control.

Rather than going to war with your pet by pinning them down to shove the tablet/chew down the throat or apply the spot on, try to give a positive association to the procedure, by involving high value food with the tablet/chew/spot on. Try wrapping or coating the tablet/chew in something sticky and delicious like peanut butter or cream cheese (who could resist!). Pop it in a piece of human food they don’t usually get, like cheese or sausage. Or hide it in your dog’s favourite food toy, like a Kong or food puzzle. All to disguise the fact you are giving a tablet/chew. For a spot on treatment, try applying it while your pet is enjoying their dinner or long lasting food treat.

The trick is to not only do the above techniques when it’s time to give a preventative treatment, but at frequent times between doses also. This will help reduce the association for your pet receiving the product, as they will not know what time the product is hidden and when it is not.

We do know though, that some pets are extremely persistent (and stubborn!), so if all else fails speak to your vet or vet nurse about an alternate product available that may reduce the frequency of administration. This may help by reducing the number of times a year the product needs to be given, and therefore reduce the battles you need to face with your pet giving the parasite control.


Veterinary Nurse Kirstie Hancock is qualified in animal behaviour with her Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services through the Delta Society. She has lots of great tips and ideas when it comes to misbehaving pets. Keep an eye out for her monthly tips on our Facebook page. Also check out her own business Facebook page - Positive Paws.