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Published: Jun 21, 2012

Although dog vaccinations should always be administered by your veterinarian, in some cases it may be necessary for an owner to administer a shot, such as with an insulin treatment for dogs with diabetes. In this case, the owner will need to learn how to give a dog a shot in order to ensure the animal gets the required treatment.

Some owners may be wary about injecting their dog on a regular basis, but the good news is the needles are well tolerated by most dogs. The first few times an owner gives the dog a shot, it will be helpful to have someone there to hold the dog still. After the dog is used to the routine, it will likely allow the owner to administer the shot without squirming or moving. If for some reason nobody can hold the dog still, it may be useful to distract the dog with a treat or meal as the shot is given.

It's important the dog stays as still as possible during the treatment so all of the medicine gets where it needs to go. If the dog is moving around, it's possible the owner could "miss" with the injection and the medication will not be deposited in the correct location inside the animal. Some owners worry about breaking the needle off inside the dog's skin, but this is highly unlikely – needles are designed to bend quite a bit before they break.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, injections must reach the dog's subcutaneous tissue, which is just underneath the skin. The best place to inject the shot is the back of the dog's neck, where most breeds have a loose bit of skin that the owner should be able to gently grab onto. Hold the syringe like a pencil, taking care not to put your finger on the plunger until you're ready to give the shot.

A swift, fluid motion will minimize pain for the dog and decrease the chance of the animal moving out of the way.  With the skin in hand, insert the needle into the dog and push the plunger of the syringe down smoothly and quickly.

Different states have varying rules for disposing of needles and syringes, so be sure to go over these with your veterinarian. You may be able to throw them out, or they may need to be brought to the vet or a local pharmacy for proper disposal.

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