A Typical Morning Conversation In A Dog Breeder's House:
"Mark, did you give Augie his Denosyl this morning?"
"Yes, but Nora still needs her morning pills. No, wait, I think I did give Nora her morning pills but she still needs the mid-day pill. What about Daphne?"
"I gave Daphne hers when I put in Ruby's eye drops. Are you sure about Nora? I saw you give Phoebe a pill when you put them out this morning but not Nora. Are you sure you gave Nora her meds?"
"OK, I'll count the pills left in the bottles. What's the date today?"
"So, if the bottle is dated June 16 and there were 30 in the bottle and she's supposed to get 3 pills a day, how many pills should be left?"
"Did she get any on the first day we got the meds?"
"I don't think so. Well, hang on, I think maybe one dose."
"Just give her the pills. It's been 7 hours, it won't kill her."
We've tried keeping track with white boards, chalk boards, medication drawers, medication bowls, medication closets, checklists - nothing helped. We finally started taking pills out and leaving little piles on the counter, which is great if a dog only gets meds one time a day, but useless if they get multiple doses. Then we thought of this, and it works great:
It's an 18 egg carton with the lid cut off. Each dog gets their own "morning-noon-night" row. We currently have 7 dogs so we glued on a caboose - if you have fewer dogs you could cut it down.
Whoever gets up first in the morning can lay out the day's pills, and there's never any confusion about whether or not someone got their meds. For things like eye or ear drops that come in a bottle of liquid rather than a pill, you just move the bottle forward into the next dose slot after you administer it.
We have a very wide counter in our kitchen so we don't worry about the pills getting knocked off or spilled, but if you have a regular counter (or a counter-surfer) you might want to put the pills in a closet or drawer.
I 'd wanted to get a pretty ceramic one like this
and I still probably will someday but I decided to test the system with a cheap model, first. So far so good, no pills counted since we instituted the system!
Jane Messineo Lindquist (Killion) is the director of "Puppy Culture: The Powerful First Twelve Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppies' Future" as well as the author of "When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs."