The Problem: Giving Meds
The squirming, the whining, the all-out running—it's like mission impossible.
The Fix: Ask your vet if the medicine comes in a meat-flavored tablet or if his office works with a specialized pharmacy that can turn it into a savory liquid or paste that appeals to animals' taste buds, says Dr. Becker. Another option: a pill gun, like those by 21st Century ($7.99; PetSmart.com). It safely shoots a pill into your pet's throat in seconds. Or try Dr. Becker's three-step tip: First, give your pet a soft treat, like a piece of cheese. Then, give the treat with the pill hidden inside. Follow up by giving another treat without the pill.
The Problem: Bleeding Nails
When you try to trim Ginger's nails, she wriggles so much that you accidentally cut the quick.
The Fix: If it happens regularly, have a professional groomer clip your pet's nails. For the occasional at home accident, use a styptic pen to stop the bleeding. "If you don't have one, pack a bit of cornstarch into the end of the nail or rub the nail back and forth over a bar of soap," says Dondi Dahlgaard, DVM, an emergency and critical care veterinarian in Fairfax, Virginia, and author of DogAge. Once the bleeding stops, try to keep your pet still for 5 to 10 minutes to ensure that it's stopped for good.
The Problem: Post-Bath Shake
You make it through the washing only to be drenched when Benji gets out of the tub.
The Fix: At the first signs that he'll start to shake, hold your dog's nose for a few seconds and miraculously he won't, Dr. Becker says. Cover his muzzle with your hand or, if your hand won't fit all the way across, use your thumb and fingers on the top and bottom of the nose. Slow-motion videos reveal that the whipsaw action dogs use when shaking off water begins at the head, according to a Georgia Institute of Technology study. "By holding the nose, you stop your dog from initiating the shake."
Karen Asp, a Landcruisers contributing editor, shares her home with two cats and a golden retriever who is training to be a therapy dog.