A big deal is often made about the flavour of a medication being the number one consideration when successfully medicating an animal. Many people think that if their cat likes chicken, cooked, raw or out of a tin, it will also like the medicines flavoured chicken, and sometimes that is the case.
But have you even thought about chicken noodles actually tasting like chicken? Or banana lollies like a banana? They really don’t. Added flavours don’t necessarily smell or taste to your pet like the food that they are used to.
Far more important when formulating a palatable product, is dealing with bitterness and the nasty after taste often left by drugs. Drugs are really carefully tamed poisons and nature makes them taste nasty as a deterrent.
Taste is a complex thing and not fully understood in animals the way it is with humans. Using a mix of sweeteners, saltiness, and aftertaste disguisers are the first priority in the art of flavouring.
The actual flavour added is the last consideration, and sometimes even better left out.
Studies have shown remarkable and unexpected preferences in animals when assessing flavour preferences. Banana for horses, bubble gum for ferrets and pina colada for rabbits are just a few unusual examples, and I have to say I entirely agree with the rabbits!
Go by your experienced compounders’ or vet's advice on the best flavour and formulation for a particular drug and don’t be afraid to try a flavour that’s outside the pet’s usual dinner choice.