For the love of your pet: Keeping track of pet meds difficult

By John Beck
Nov. 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.

I have four dogs and two cats. Most of them are on different foods and different medications throughout the year, not to mention their monthly flea and heartworm preventative. All the daily meds and food is easy to remember and keep straight. But, I have a problem remembering their monthly preventative. Any suggestions?

I understand your plight when it comes to remembering what to feed who and who gets what. Of course, there is the non-technical way of handling these problems. Getting a pill sorter (one of those day-to-day pill containers) and pre-sorting each pet's medications once a month, including their preventatives, can help you remember. That way, you only have to organize the chaos once a month on a day you pick. Writing it on your calendar or planner is also helpful. Some heartworm and flea preventatives come with stickers in the box to place on your calendar to remind you to give your meds. I always check it off the calendar once its complete, so I don't look back in a few days and wonder if I remembered to give it or not.

Modern technology has made some things a little more convenient. One heartworm preventative has an application that can be added to your smart phone that will remind you to give your preventative on the day you choose. If you don't have a phone that accepts applications, you can usually set up an alarm or calendar reminder to alert you when your animals are due. Some animal hospitals can also set to send you an email reminder or text message reminder when it is time to purchase your next 6- or 12-month supply of preventative.

Some drug companies have even attempted to make things easier by combining flea and heartworm preventative into one topical solution or one pill (available late February 2011). Both the topical and pill are still given once a month, but you only have to remember to give one product instead of two. Another option for heartworm prevention is an injection given once every six months. The injection has to be given in a veterinarian's office but will protect your dog from heartworms for half a year. Then you don't have to worry about that for half a year.

Get with me or your veterinarian to figure out which preventatives are right for your animals. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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