The Best Spots to Give Dogs Insulin Shots

Your vet will show you how to give your dog an insulin shot.
Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Even if you don't like needles, giving your dog an insulin injection need not be a scary experience. Small, thin syringe needles and single-use pens make the job quick and painless. It is important to vary the site where you inject your dog so he does not become sore from repeated pokes. Choose the best sites along his body where the skin is easily pulled away from the muscle.

The Importance of Proper Placement

Loose folds of skin or fatty areas make ideal areas to give your dog an injection. The idea is to deposit the insulin in the fat under the skin. Pick up a piece of skin with the hand that is not holding the syringe and gently pull it away from the body in a little tent shape. Insert the needle so the medicine will penetrate into the fatty area below the skin. An injection that is too shallow will prevent the full dose of insulin from absorbing into his system. Poking too deeply will insert the needle into his muscle, causing pain.

Between the Shoulders

Loose skin at the back of the neck between the shoulders is one of the easiest places to give your dog his insulin. Hold the syringe in the hand that you write with and raise the fold of skin with the other. Insert the needle through the skin at a 45-degree angle, taking care not to push it out the other side. Make sure the needle is not into a blood vessel by pulling back slightly on the plunger. If you see blood come into the syringe, you'll need to extract the needle and try again.

Get a Spine

Another easy place to give your dog insulin is along the top of his back. Choose a spot within 3/4 inch to 2 inches of the spine on either side and use your fingers to tent the skin while you inject the dosage. Giving your dog injections along his back is an easy way to vary the site each time to prevent soreness. Mentally divide the length of his back between the end of his shoulder blades to his hindquarters into three or four sections. Alternate the shot site along the length of his back on each side of the spine to keep him from getting sore.

Choose a Side

Some veterinarians think that insulin is most readily absorbed when injected in the side of the chest or abdomen. You can give the shot while the dog is resting on his side. Laying your dog on his side is ideal if your dog tends to wiggle around during the procedure. Have your helper place a hand on his head and hindquarters to steady him in a prone position while you administer the shot. Choose a site between his front shoulder and rear leg where the skin is easily pulled away from the body.