What happens when you miss a dose? | Village Vets

Life is busy, to the point where we often forget to take our own medication — not to mention giving our pets their daily dose, monthly flea and tick prevention, disease preventative, or eye drops. But it’s important that your dog or cat doesn’t miss a dose as it can affect their health, prolong their condition, or put them at risk of contracting other diseases.

So, what happens when your pet misses a dose of their medication?

When your Vet prescribes a medication to your pet, the amount and timing of the dose is designed so that the medication stays at the correct level in their system for the most effective treatment. If you miss a dose, the medication can quickly lose its efficacy — which is why it’s important to check with your Vet if you miss your pet’s dose. In the case of antibiotics, that risk goes up even more and your Vet may have to prolong their treatment or add an additional, more powerful antibiotic to combat the infection.

For ongoing daily medications, missing a single dose can have serious health implications. For example, missing a dose of insulin can result in high blood sugar which can cause mild symptoms like increased drinking and urination, but could also result in a serious medical condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

It’s important to keep your pet on year-round preventatives due to the prevalence of parasites in Ireland, especially during the Summer months (no matter how Summer-y they actually feel…). Many flea and tick medications are manufactured in a once-monthly topical application or pill. If you miss that monthly dose, your pet is at risk of getting flea or tick bites.




Heartworm prevention medicine is especially important to keep on schedule for your pet. If you miss a dose and your pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, it puts them at risk. Heartworm disease is devastating for pets – it’s costly to treat for dogs, and in the case of cats there aren’t any treatment options available.

The best ways to remember your pet’s medication:

  • Set up a recurring event in your phone’s calendar.
  • Grab stickers to put on the days your pet’s medication is to be given or circle those dates with a marker on an actual calendar. Make sure to plan for the whole year and mark every month.
  • Speak with your Vet to find out if there is an injection that can be given instead of a pill for your pet’s medication. Oftentimes the injection can last longer and means less frequent dosing.

What should you do if you forget to give your pet their medication?

If you realize that you’ve forgotton to give your pet their medication on time, don’t panic, but do call your Vet to find out what to do next. Depending on the medication missed and by how long, they’ll be able to advise you when to give the next dose and any other steps you might need to take. They’ll also let you know if they need to write a new prescription for a different formulation or medication, or if your pet will need any additional blood tests before restarting their treatment.

So, if you find yourself missing a dose of your pet’s medication, do give us a call, but always consult a Vet of any description before making any decisions when it comes to pet medication.