Applying Topical Meds to Pets

< Animal Compounding



How to Apply Transdermal Medications to Animals



This is a guide for caring animal owners detailing how to administer transdermal medications to canine, feline or other pet or animal friends. 




How Topical Veterinary Medications Work



apply medication to dogMy veterinarian has suggested I use a transdermal medication for my pet. What is it?


Transdermal means the application of a medicine or drug through the skin. In the simplest terms, a drug is placed on top of the skin, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream.


Transdermal medications have many advantages, chief among them ease of application. Medications that can be absorbed through the skin bypass the need for pills or liquids, which can be a challenge to administer to some pets. In addition, because they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and avoid initially passing through the intestinal and liver, drugs that are administered transdermally may be more effective or work faster than some oral medications, allowing for better treatments.








How Do I Administer a Transdermal Medication to My Pet?



The ideal application site for transdermal medications is one that has minimal hair and that cannot be easily licked or rubbed. Some pets may require shaving to allow for better administration. The inside of the outer ear flap (not inside the ear canal) is an excellent area for many pets.
Most transdermal medications will come in pre-dosed syringes or in gel form that you can draw into a syringe to the prescribed dosage. You should wear protective gloves when handling transdermal medications. Remember that these drugs have been formulated to cross the skin barrier, and you can potentially be exposed if you come in contact with them.



To avoid being exposed to the drug, wear protective gloves when handling transdermal medications. If your pet is prescribed a transdermal gel, you may need someone to assist you, especially at first.


medication for hamster

Here are Some Tips for Administration:



  • Have your helper gently hold your pet and distract it by petting or offering a toy or treat.


  • Make sure the area on the ear where you are going to apply the medication is clean and dry.


  • Slowly and deliberately apply (“squirt”) the correct amount of medication onto your pet’s ear.


  • If necessary, gently rub the gel into the skin to facilitate absorption using your gloved fingertip or the tip of the syringe. It is important not to leave a clump, glob, or thick area of medication on the ear because it will be easily dislodged if your pet shakes its head after administration.




giving topical meds to catsAfter you’ve administered the medication, try to distract your pet from scratching or rubbing the ear for a few minutes. This can best be accomplished by feeding your pet, taking your pet for a walk, or playing together immediately afterward. Such a reward also functions as an excellent training technique that can help teach your pet not to fear the application of medications.



If your pet is prescribed a transdermal medication patch, your veterinarian will often shave an area to affix the patch. Many patches will last for several days, and the patch may have a protective wrap or bandage over it. Your veterinarian will explain the proper care, duration, and monitoring of transdermal patches. It is very important that your pet not be allowed to lick or swallow the patch. Serious side effects may result if a pet inadvertently consumes a patch, especially one containing fentanyl, a pain-relief drug.



Serious side effects may result if a pet consumes a transdermal patch.



Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s transdermal medication.



What is the Key Takeaway Message?



Transdermal medications are an excellent alternative for some veterinary drugs, and our options are increasing each year. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if a transdermal medication is appropriate for your pet.








Featured Pet Compounds


  • Methimazole Transdermal Cream

    Methimazole cream is used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism by inhibiting the production of the thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland

  • Gabapentin Vet Suspension

    Gabapentin Is Used To Treat Seizures and Relieve Pain for Dogs and Cats

  • Fluoxetine Transdermal Cream

    Fluoxetine is used for separation and other sources of anxiety in dogs and cats


  • DES Capsules

    Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic female hormone that is used to treat urinary incontinence in spayed female dogs

  • Fluoxetine Vet Suspension

    Fluoxetine is useful to treat some but not all forms of aggression and anxiety in cats and dogs

  • Doxycycline Vet Suspension

    Doxycycline is a semi-synthetic tetracycline antibiotic, which may be used in dogs, cats and horses.



Let Us Know How We Can Help You and the Animals in Your Care



A caring veterinarian working closely with a compounding pharmacist can improve the health and happiness of your pet or competition animal.




Call (813) 254-1888 or contact us and ask about our tailored pet medication solutions!


Related Pages


  • Giving Liquids to Cats

    Our furry feline friends can be finicky. Here is our guide to administering liquid meds to them.

  • Pain Management

    Compounding allows you to alleviate pain, targeting the exact cause of your pain and avoiding many of the side effects of typical pain solutions.

  • Pediatric Compounding

    We are pediatric problem solvers, working with parents and prescribers to make it easier to help children take meds.


Free Shipping


If you fall outside our local delivery range, as an official US Postal Substation, we can also easily ship your medications to you. We ship most medications for free, and also offer expedited shipping if you need. As we grow, we also serve patients and prescribers in multiple states.



pharmacy registered in multiple statesThe growing list of states we serve now includes:


  • Florida
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington
  • Arizona
  • and more to come!