Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Cheese and Meds and other stuff that isn't Cheese

by User Not Found | Jan 23, 2013

Recently we had a riveting discussion about Cheese, so I thought I would share.  This is actually a chain of emails that was sent around our fosters group.  The first is from Kathleen who is fostering dear Roxanne, our special Rox-Star.  The next is from Lori who is a pharmacist who did a great job of pointing out some items to think about concerning medications hence furthering our scientific discussion about how to get your dog to take their meds!

I am fostering Roxanne, who takes a lot of pills every day. She's smart and she's learned where the pills are hidden and how to get them out and spit them all over the house.  I had resorted to just pushing them down her throat and then Katie and Shannon kept her over Christmas and Shannon came up with a new way. We are in heaven.  Get a block of cheap chedder cheese and make thin slices. Cheese, a tiny little bit of peanut butter, pill, cheese -- so a cheese sandwhich with pill inside. Cheaper than pill pockets (which Rox can't eat) and totally effective since the peanut butter glues the pill in.

I just had to share.

Just a note to everyone about cheese and medications.  Katie may have addressed this already but it is worth repeating.  Some common canine antibiotics (doxycycline, ciprofloxacin) will bind with the calcium in cheese and will not be absorbed as well.  I know cheese is the golden ticket (no pun intended) but be aware if your antibiotic has this food interaction.  If you are not sure, you can go to Drs. Foster and Smith website, click on Pet Meds and it will bring up an alphabet selection at the bottom.  Select the letter that corresponds to your drug of interest.  Just under the picture of the bottle will be a Patient Information Sheet for the Drug.  I use these when I dispense pet medications to pet owners at the pharmacy.  This sheet will tell you if there are any food interactions.  I am attaching Ciprofloxacin as an example of what you will see.  It specfically states calcium as a food interaction.  Doxycycline only refers to vitamins and supplements in general.  These are the 2 big antibiotics that you need to be careful with giving with cheese.  I hope this helps!

Oooooo I love a good scientific discussion!!!  Woo hoo!

Allow me to clarify from the beginning so we can have a fun chat!  Roxanne is taking flagyl (Metronidazole) and if anyone has ever had to take this, it's the most awful tasting pill ever.....ever.  Even one speck of it on your tongue and your appetite is ruined for the rest of your life.  Rox has to take this because she needs help digesting, since her liver isn't functioning correctly.  But it is also used for acute cases of diarrhea, parasites and other intestinal problems.  It's an antibiotic.  That's where the cheese comes in.  Now when I say cheese, I use this term pretty loosely. This isn't actual real cheese.  In fact, we use the pre-packaged, pre-wrapped cheese slices or sometimes velveeta, which frankly is just easier to use than actual cheese.  It's pliable and easy to manipulate.  Since we don't use a whole slice, the amount of calcium they are getting from the cheese to get their pill, is pretty minimal.   For example:

Cheese Slice:                                     130mg of Calcium in the whole piece

1 Tum:                                                   500mg 

8oz. of Non-fat Milk:                      300mg

1/2 c of Ice Cream                            85mg

8 oz Plain non-fat yogurt              450mg

Lori's right, calcium does bind some medications and prevent good absorption of the drug.  Typically these are quinolones, or stuff that ends in "oxacin" (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin) and anything that ends is "cycline" (Minocycline, Doxycycline).  So if you have a better option for giving your dog his/her pills, great!  In the big picture here the minimal amount of calcium they are getting if you are using something like a cheese slice or cheese whiz isn't going to cause a big problem.  These warnings are generally for folks taking these medications on a regular basis and taking calcium supplements or antacids (like Tums).

Some dogs are just stinking picky and when you've searched high and low for something and a piece of cheese slice works, then it’s better than nothing, or them not getting the drug at all.  Rox is totally justified in her hatred for Flagyl and after two days on my hands and knees trying to "pill her" hide it in her food and smear it with just about every other food I can find, this is what worked.  For a dog who has to take more pills every day than you can count, this little trick to make taking them easier is worth it and makes whatever time she has left with us a little less stressful. =)

Doxycycline is probably the one we use and see the most.  Many of you have heard me say to give some plain, non-fat yogurt while your dog is on this drug to help keep their GI tract healthy.  Wait Katie, doesn't yogurt have a ton of calcium in it?  Yes it does!  However, this is still ok to do.  

1.  The good news is, Doxy is probably one of the least detrimental antibiotics to the normal gut flora (the good stuff), so it’s not absolutely essential that you give yogurt, but every little bit helps.  

2.  Second, If you think about it, it doesn't make sense to give PRO biotics and ANTI biotics at the same time now does it?  That's why you have heard me also say to give them separately.  The best thing to do is to give the antibiotic with dinner and then some yogurt for a night-time snack!  This is fun for your dog and it’s a great way to give the antibiotics time to work while you come behind it and repopulate with good bacteria.  Antibiotics are great at what they do, they kill bacteria, but they can't discriminate between good and bad bacteria.  So we have to help them out.  Remember--antibiotics, wait a few hours, then probiotics!  Send them to bed with the good stuff!

Thanks to Lori for the information and for furthering our discussion here.  As always I'm happy to answer any questions, comments, concerns, etc!

Cheers!

Katie  

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