Giving A Subcutaneous Injection

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Filed Under: Emergency / Critical Care


Your Veterinarian Care Team will show you how to administer an injection before you have to do it alone at home, but here are the steps to keep in mind:

  • Load the syringe with medication and set it close by.
  • Find an area of loose skin.  The skin over the middle of the back or just behind the shoulders generally works well.  If the injection will be given frequently, as with insulin, try not to use the same location each time.
  • Gently pinch the skin between your thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand (i.e., if you are right handed, pinch the skin with your left hand, and vice versa).  Pull the loose skin gently upward and look for a small indentation of skin between your fingers.
  • Pick up the syringe with your dominant hand and insert the sterile needle directly into the indentation.  Keep the needle parallel to the surface of the skin on the back.  If you angle the needle too much, you may enter a muscle, go through the skin to the opposite side, or stick your own finger.
  • Once the needle has been inserted, pull back on the plunger only.  If you see blood, remove the needle and try a different location.  If there's no blood, push the plunger forward to empty the syringe.
  • When the syringe is empty, remove the needle, backing out along the same path that was used to enter the skin.
  • Check the area for bleeding or leakage of medication.  If this is detected, use a clean facial tisue or cotton ball to gently apply pressure to the area for a minute or so.
  • Give your Pet a big hug or small treat for being such a good Patient!
  • Be sure to dispose of used needles and syringes properly, based on your Veterinarian's directions.