Morning (and Evening) Meds


What you see in the photo here are the morning meds. I thought it was bad that all three of my dogs are currently receiving daily medication; then I was prescribed something, too!

Last week, I had to have oral surgery – a molar that was anchoring one half of a bridge had its root canal go bad and it had to be removed. So, the yellow pill on the left is my antibiotic, to be taken three times daily for a week.

The blue pill is 7-year-old Woody’s current antibiotic, to be taken twice a day. In February, he broke yet another toenail – it seems like he breaks one at least once a year! It was a bad, high break, leaving his quick completely degloved – and of course it got infected. He had to go see the vet and get on antibiotics about a week after the broken nail was treated. It was healing well, and the new nail was almost all the way covering the now-toughened quick, when a little abscess surfaced on the side of his toe near the base of the nail – a little pocket of infection that had survived the previous antibiotic. So now he’s on a new one – for two weeks this time. He’s nearly done with this round of antibiotic and the toe and its nail is looking really good – but he’s having a mystery lump surgically removed from his thigh as I write this, and I’m not sure whether he’ll be sent home with more antibiotics or what. I’ll find out this evening!

The pill-and-a-half are antibiotics for 1-year-old Boone! Yes, three individuals in my home are on three different antibiotics at the moment – not a great advertisement for fighting antibiotic resistance. I’m waiting to hear whether Boone has tested positive for a tick-borne diseases (TBD) – the tentative diagnosis for the symptoms he displayed a couple of weeks ago for the better part of a day (as I described here), and then again for an entire day a week later. My vet feels pretty certain that his waxing and waning symptoms could be caused by Lyme or another TBD – and fortunately for Boone, vets are more inclined than doctors for humans to proactively dose dogs suspected of having a TBD before getting a positive test, just based on symptoms and an exposure to ticks. Boone was exposed to ticks the day before his first “sick day” – and I found and removed two engorged ticks from him later that week.

One of the hallmarks of Lyme disease and other TBDs is that, if treated promptly, the symptoms often resolve very quickly once the doxycycline (the most effective antibiotic for treating most TBDs) has been started. I’m hoping beyond hope that Boone’s lack of symptoms over the past 11 days (as I write this) is due to the fact that he did have a tick-borne infection and we caught it quickly.

The last set of pills are for 15-1/2-year-old Otto. Thank goodness, no antibiotics for him! That’s his morning Tramadol (given twice a day) and Gabapentin (three times a day). He gets a different set at midday: more Gabapentin, an NSAID, and an acid reducer for his chronic acid reflux.

All of this pill administration has made for some very alert and attentive kitchen dogs, who come crowding around every time they see me reach into the refrigerator for the canned food that I bury their pills in. And all I can say is that they are more alert than me; as far as I can recall, I’ve only given the wrong pills (Boone’s doxycycline) to the wrong dog (Otto) once. UGH! I knew it was wrong the moment Otto slurped the gob of canned food out of my hand – but he’s gotten so pushy for his thrice-daily dollops of canned food, and he’s the only one who never gets chastised or sent to the back of the line for this behavior.

You may ask: Why do I have my own antibiotic lined up on the cutting board with the dog meds? Because while I never forget the dogs’ pills, in the first couple of days after having my tooth pulled, I kept forgetting to take mine! Putting my pill bottle alongside theirs is the only way I can be certain to take my own meds. If that sounds lame – well, at least I haven’t taken any of their meds yet!


  1. You are not alone and I’ve got you beat. My arthritic dog gets pills 5 times a day! Granted, one set is supplements like glucosamine chondroitin, etc. But between the twice a day and three times a day pain pills… here we are.

    Also, just to put it on your radar, I read that gabapentin needs stomach acid to be fully absorbed, so if my pup needs an antacid (she also has GI issues), I give them a couple hours apart. The vet thought that one hour was sufficient (given a dog’s higher level of stomach acid) but I do two hours to be safe and I try to do gabapentin first. I take omeprazole for a hiatal hernia and ended up with anemia due to low iron because, you guessed it, iron needs stomach acid for better absorption. I take an iron supplement to compensate. It’s not something most people (have to) think of.

    • I take my Omeprezole on an empty stomach 30 min before eating, then take the rest of my pills then, one being a multivitamin. (Centrum Silver for women over 50). Since vitamins are water soluble and only so much can be absorbed at once, I split them in half and take half in the morning and half at night. Seems to be working fine that way.

  2. I love this article. We are going away for three weeks and had to explain to our dog sitter the medication routine! One dog gets antibiotics twice a day and Prozac and Carprofen at night. Other dog gets Prozac and Apoquel daily. Of course the dog with the antibiotics and other stuff won’t take the pills no matter what we use; wet food, peanut butter, whipped cream, cream cheese. Etc. Finally got pill wraps and I need to catch him and then pull him. Now it is like a game to him. The chase is the fun part for him. Anyway your article made me smile!!! I’ll send it to our puppy sitter!!!!

  3. Many people mention using carprofen (Rimadyl) for arthritis, along with gabapentin. My 12 yo boxer is doing well, and has always had arthritis. My wonderful vet prescribed Galliprant — safer than carprofen, though considerably more expensive. She takes it once a day, and has done very well on it. Why is this not prescribed more often?

    • My parent’s previous dog was on Rimadyl and Gabapentin. It helped her until the end. I think she might also have had hip dysplasia as she always had a funny gate. As she got older she couldn’t compensate for it, likely because he was losing muscle and also she hurt her knee. By then the vet said she was too old for surgery and had gained weight so the post op rehab would have been hard on my parents, who were already in their 80s. So we got her a knee brace.

  4. I find I have to be really mindful in the morning regarding medication. One day I took one of my dog’s pills instead of my probiotic. It’s too easy for me to go into auto pilot mode and not think. Good luck with yourself and all the pups.

  5. Recently, each of my four senior Beagles has had need of medication. It can get confusing, so I remembered that years ago I had read Nurses Protocol for giving meds and No, I am not a Nurse. However, it has been very helpful for me to make sure I’m giving the correct meds to the proper dog: Read the label TWICE: Name of pet, description of med, dosage, etc. It is very helpful. Several times, I have caught myself in the process of making a mistake and two readings of the aforementioned advice saved me from error. I read BEFORE I get the pill out of the bottle and then read again BEFORE giving the med. I also make sure I have the correct pup in front of me.

  6. Love your stories- you’re excellent at getting the point across and making everyone smile at the same time. I know what you mean about getting the pills mixed up. At work few years ago a friend came into the lunch room and made a comment about “having a bad day “ as that morning she took the dogs’ pills and proceed to give the dog her pills. After several phone calls to Poison Control, her vet and her human doctor all turned out well. Once we heard that everything was okay we all broke out in “ tears running down our faces laughter.”, knowing how easily that could happen . She then went out and purchased different colored pill boxes for herself and her pets, marked each one in big letters and never had a problem again .

  7. Your articles are a delight to read and very useful. I had to write in to say that your article on medication’s and mix ups with them made me smile. I am a physician and know how difficult it is for people to follow the antibiotic regimen. Please keep writing your articles as all your your experiences with the dogs have made them most interesting and individualized to me.