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How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to a Dog or Cat
August 20, 2019
How do you give a dog fluid therapy at home? Do cats feel better after subcutaneous fluids? Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, shows step-by-step how to give Sub-Q fluids to a dog or cat.
When to Give Sub Q Fluids for Dogs and Cats
One reason to give intravenous fluids to dogs and cats is when they are sick to help prevent dehydration. Besides keeping the pet hydrated, the IV also provides a way to administer medications. Subcutaneous (Sub-Q), or under the skin, is an easy pathway to give fluids to your pets.
What Materials Are Needed to Administer Fluids in Dogs and Cats?
When administering cat or dog fluid therapy you will need the following supplies:
- Lactated Ringer: bag of IV solution.
- IV Administration Set (venous set): the tubing that allows you to give the fluids to the pet without using a syringe.
- Needle: if it does not come with the IV administration set.
How to Give IV Fluids to Dog at Home
To assemble, remove the tab from the bottom of the IV bag. From the venous set, remove the cover from the larger spike end and push the spike firmly into the bag. Hold the IV solution bag up to fill the chamber, then turn off the tubing with the clamp. Attach the needle to the injection site connector. Hang the bag on a plant hook or some kind of a coat hanger. Open the clamp just long enough to purge air from the tubing and needle.
Where Do You Inject Subcutaneous Fluids in Dogs?
Holding the dog or cat, prepare the injection site. Give the injection just like any other injection, just off to the right or left of the shoulder. Have a nice distraction such as your pet’s favorite treat, so the dog or cat has something to think about besides the fluids. Adjust the proper drip rate with the clamp to administer the volume of the recommended dose according to the label.
If you have more questions on subq fluids for dogs also known as iv fluid therapy, call a Revival Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.