Feeding Medication Foods

After viewing the list of medication foods at the bottom of this gallery, if you want to download a PDF of the list, right click, or click, here.

Click to review a helpful resource from Rat Guide: Giving Medications.

Here are embedded YouTube videos demonstrating techniques to help you help your adult rat take medicine from a syringe or other methods of combining medicine and food.

The goal of creating medicine foods that the rat will eat without a fuss is: "no fighting" with the rat. Rats get very stressed just by being sick to begin with. When we force-feed them yucky medicines, the stress is worsened.

On top of that, the rat stops trusting and becomes apprehensive about the next "fight". This can result in a horrible spiral down effect, making it virtually impossible to feed the rats medicine and ruining your relationship.

These videos demonstrate ways to feed your rat without a fight. It can take many, many tries to hit the right combination, but in the end you'll find a good strategy that works and create a stress-free medicine-feeding experience for you and your rats.

One suggestion from my own experience: start with the lowest value food  you can, in the smallest amount possible. Lowest-calorie, lowest-fat foods. Choose banana baby food rather than banana pudding. Simple mashed peas rather than peas in mashed potatoes. Over time, as a rat goes through illnesses, and needs ongoing and different medications, she can tire of the old routine. Slowly, you may have to up the ante, so to speak, intensifying the calories or fat, in order to have the rat eat. If you start out with room-temperature Haagen Daz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream, you'll have nowhere to go after that. One example: Vanilla Ensure worked great with one of my rats, until it didn't. Now I add a smidgeon of organic chocolate ice cream sauce, and she gobbles it up.

Be very careful with peanut butter, which rats do choke on. They love it so much they wolf it down too fast. The solution is to thin it somewhat. This video gives great ideas for mixing medicine and foods into bread, to make a type of "medicine ball", for the rat.

This sweet rat is very agreeable about her syringe medicine. It's obviously tasty to her, and her human first bribes her with a treat to hold her attention. Not all medicines are this easy to give. You can teach your rat that syringes are their friends by giving them tasty non-medicine foods by syringe before they ever need real medicine. After they learn that syringes have good things in them, you may have an easier time with giving medicine mixed in with good foods.

You might think you "have to scruff" your rat - but please do not unless all else fails. Spend lots of time mixing yummy foods with the medicine and trying that way. You might even be pleasantly surprised like this human was - here's what he said about Slugo and his meds: "At first Slugo rat had to be scruffed to give him medicine. But after getting scratched up by an older, larger rat, I had to figure out a way to give Slugo rat medicine without hurting his wounds. I was surprised when I simply offered him the syringe and he started lapping up the medicine."

Abilene is a little resistant, but his human has a very quick technique and is careful to squirt the medicine in the back of the mouth and behind the teeth. Short quick squirts, with rest times in between, then Abilene gets a treat at the end.

Here's an example of gently restraining a rat to syringe feed. They are feeding Baytril, which I have no difficulty giving in a simple medication food, when it is compounded in banana flavor. But if you need to restrain the rat, we see here that the two humans get ready, set, and then move calmly but quickly to set the rat in place. Good job minimizing stress.

This is a very well done video. Good tips on understanding what syringe you are using. I'll add a tip: A "1-cc" syringe is the same size as a "1-ml" syringe.  Ml and cc reflect U.S. vs. European measurements only.

This video is also showing one human being giving the medicine. While this rat had never been given medicine before, and he did object just a bit, he was basically very good. You may not be so lucky with your rat, in which case other positions will be important, or having a helper human.

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