Parenteral, Topical, Oral Liquid, and Inhalation Medication for dogs

Get familiarized to these dosage forms.

Dog owners can get exposed to different drug dosage forms, if their dog gets sick. Now if you are thinking why there is a need for so many different dosage forms, let me tell you it’s a good question.

The variety of species and breeds treated, the wide range in body sizes, the various husbandry techniques, seasonal variations, cost restrictions related to the value of the animal being treated, the persistence of residues in food and fibre, and the degree of convenience, among other factors, determine the use of drug delivery strategies for veterinary formulations.

Let’s have a look at four dosage forms other than the oral solids such as pills and capsules.

Parenteral Medicines

Parenteral therapeutics are administered via injections or “shots.” The most prevalent items in this category are vaccines, allergy medicines, and insulin for diabetic dogs.

The three primary parenteral medication administration routes are intravenous IV, intramuscular IM, and subcutaneous SC, and in each case, the medicine is typically administered via a hollow needle. Typically, injectable preparations are sterile drug suspensions or solutions in water or other physiologically appropriate media. The supplied volumes can be in the millilitre to litre range. The time it takes for an IV administration to start working is seconds, but IM and SC injections take minutes.

While IV administrations should be left to experts, IM and SC shots can be carried out by pet owners. To be able to administer shots to your pet, you’ll need some training from your veterinarian’s staff. It’s not a challenging chore, and with some practice, you can get good at it right away.

Topical Medicines

The topical route of administration is utilized for transdermal distribution of medicinal substances, local treatment of the skin, and control of external and internal parasites. Antiseptics, antifungals, anti-inflammatory drugs, and skin emollients are examples of medications applied to the skin for local effect.

The simplest form of medicine you’ll give your pet is generally topical. The main difficulty will be getting your pet to quit licking their body, and the following are a couple of solutions:

  1. Just before giving your pet food, apply the topical medicine. The medication will enter your pet’s skin and start working as soon as he starts eating.
  2. Employ an Elizabethan collar. This collar is reminiscent of a lampshade. It fits around the neck of the animal and prevents them from licking the medication. This collar is simple to put on and take off, and it doesn’t interfere with your pet’s ability to eat or drink.

Oral liquid medicines

Liquid medications include solutions, suspensions, elixirs, emulsions, and syrups.

Puppies are typically given oral liquids. Let your veterinarian or a member of the veterinary staff demonstrate the technique to provide the oral liquid to your pet, just like you would with capsules and pills. Afterward, query the following:

  1. Is the medication a suspension or a solution? A suspension’s constituent parts eventually separate, but a solution holds together. If the liquid is a suspension, each time you want to provide it, you must thoroughly mix it.
  2. Does the medication for your pet need to be refrigerated? As opposed to one left on the counter, a liquid medication is typically more effective when kept in the refrigerator.

You should also know how to use a dropper or syringe to give liquid medication. Ensure that your veterinarian demonstrates how to measure the appropriate dosage of medication for your pet and how to administer it via dropper or syringe.

Delivery Methods and Dosage Forms for Inhalation

High drug concentrations are delivered to the lungs using inhalation therapy for airway illness, preventing or limiting systemic side effects. A medicine must be administered as an aerosol, either as solid particles or liquid droplets in air, in order to reach the airways. The size of the drug’s particles or droplets has a significant impact on how deeply it enters the alveoli.

The onset of pharmacologic action of inhaled medicines is quicker and the quantities supplied are smaller than with oral or parenteral delivery, which lowers the possibility of unfavourable systemic consequences. Nebulizers and metered-dose inhalers are the delivery devices utilized for inhalational therapy of airway illness in animals.

New dog parents can find it difficult to administer different dosage forms to the new family member at home after a vet visit. However, giving meds to your furry companion is no rocket science. You can easily navigate this process as long as you are following your veterinarian’s instructions.


Dr. Omer Rashid earned his veterinary degree in 2002 from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, and quickly followed that with a Master’s degree in Parasitology. He worked for several years in veterinary practice with small animals, as well as horses and livestock. He studied advanced pharmacology at Charles Darwin University in Australia, and discovered his love for writing while working as a science writer for a research company with clients such as Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge universities. Along the way, Dr. Rashid developed an interest in integrative veterinary health, and he joined Redstone Media Group as Associate Editor of IVC Journal and veterinary content developer in 2022.