Medicating a dog can be difficult. Some dogs take pills willingly, but the grand majority do not. What’s the best way to administer pills to a less-than-uncooperative dog? LovePets has compiled a list of handy tips to help you give pills to your dog.
Hide it in a Treat
Very few dogs will eat a naked pill, so you might have to hide the medicine in a treat. Grab several large chunks of a soft treat your dog loves, like cheese, cream cheese or canned food. Divide the treat into several small bites and feed them to your dog one at a time. Be sure to give the dog several bites without a pill in them before you attempt to slip the dog the treat with the pill inside. Many dogs will eat pills without hesitation this way.
Consider the Fake-Out
If you have a dog that loves to catch, consider tossing the pill to the dog as if it were a treat. Many dogs will swallow a pill like this before they realize that it was not, in fact a treat. In order to pull this off successfully, get really animated and excited before you toss the pill. Get your dog excited about what’s coming and don’t hesitate as you toss the pill into the air. If the dog eats it, great. If not, try a different tactic. We hope the pill is salvageable!
Break the Pill Open and Sprinkle Into Food
This trick generally works for dogs that eat quickly. If your dog won't take a pill that is tossed or wrapped in a soft treat, consider breaking the pill open if it is a powder capsule and sprinkling it over the dog’s food. Wet the food slightly with water in order to prevent the powder from sifting to the bottom of the bowl and give your dog his dinner. Many dogs will ingest the contents of the pill this way, although some will notice the taste of the pill’s contents and leave their dinner untouched.
Ask for Chewable Pills
Because giving pills to dogs can be so difficult, many vet’s offices offer the same pill in a chewable, flavored version. These pills are often beef- or chicken-flavored and taste exactly like a treat, while also offering serious medical power. If your dog will not eat the pills your vet originally gave you, consider calling back and asking if a chewable option is available.
Insert the Pill
If you cannot get your dog to eat a pill despite having tried everything, it is time to slip the pill into the dog’s throat manually. Hold your dog’s upper jaw open with one hand while you use the other to place the pill as far back in your dog’s throat as you can reach. Remove your hand, hold your dog’s mouth closed, point his nose toward the ceiling and stroke the throat gently to encourage swallowing. Although this method can be stressful for dogs and people alike, it is generally simple when done quickly and may be the most effective way to ensure that your dog gets all of his needed medication.
Check out this question and answer to read more advice from one of our veterinarians on giving your dog a pill and to watch a video demonstration.Content reviewed by a veterinarian.