How to Administer SQ Fluids to Dogs and Cats

Chances are that sooner or later in your lifetime as a pet owner, your furry friend will fall ill and need extra fluids that are delivered via subcutaneous fluid therapy (SQ fluids, for short). In cats, the cause is often kidney disease; in dogs, a jaw injury. Basically, anything that prevents the animal from imbibing a satisfactory amount of fluids. What follows is a step-by-step guide to administering SQ fluids to cats and dogs.

Gather Supplies: Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with everything you need to give the SQ fluids, including a bag, line, clamps, and needles. On your end, you’ll need to MacGyver together something to act as an IV stand (a hanger will usually do).

Pick a Happy Place: Choose a place that your pet is comfortable and during a time when she is most relaxed.

Take Note of Levels: Before you let the drip run, check to see where the level stands. This gives a starting point from where to begin.

Tent the Skin: Make your cat or dog feel at ease—pet them, massage their ears, whatever their favorite gesture of endearment happens to be. When they’re calm, tent the skin at the shoulder blades.

Needle Time: Insert a brand new needle into the skin and hold steady. Continue to soothe the animal.

Open the Flood Gate: Unclamp the fluid line. A meow or two may slip out, but the animal isn’t in any pain; it’s just an unfamiliar feeling.

Keep Watch: Holding as still as you can, keep an eye on the insertion site to ensure no fluid is leaking. If you see some dripping, chances are the needle isn’t in correctly. Relax, remove, and reinsert.

Reclamp: When enough fluid has been released, cut off the fluid.

Pull the Plug: Remove the needle slowly and gently pinch the skin. A minor bulge may exist around the insertion area. That’s normal and will subside as the body absorbs the fluids.

If the administering of SQ fluids makes you squeamish or uneasy, call Pawfect Love (855-NYC-PETS). The company’s skilled technicians are well-practiced in giving SQ fluids and will be more than happy to help you learn, or take over the chore altogether.