When your dog is sick, giving them their medicine can be just as stressful as it is necessary. Many dogs hate taking their medicine and will do anything to avoid it. As a pet owner, this can add stress to an already painful situation; your best friend is sick, and they won’t let you help them.
However, there is no need to despair! Here are some creative ways you can get your dog to take their medicine.
Hide Pills in Food
This is an old trick, but it often works. Try wrapping pills in food your dog loves to trick them into eating their medicine. They will be so intent on eating the food that they won’t notice the pill inside. Some of the best foods to hide dog pills in are:
- Soft cheeses, such as cream cheese
- Peanut butter
- Hot dogs and liverwurst
- Lunch meat
You can also purchase dog treats specifically designed for holding pills. If your dog still isn’t taking the pill, try hiding it in a strong smelling food like canned fish. Dogs have incredibly sensitive noses and can often smell a pill hidden within a treat. Using a strong smelling food can mask the smell of the pill.
Smash Up The Pill
You can also try smashing up the pill to trick your pet into eating it. Place the pill into a plastic bag to crush it into a powder. The powder can then be mixed into a soft treat like canned food, yogurt, or cheese. This can make the pill less detectable to animals. Just ensure that you get all the powder into the food.
If you have other dogs, try giving your dog their medicine while the other dogs are around. Hide the pill in a treat, making sure you keep track of which treat has the pill inside! Give all the dogs treats, then give your dog the treat with the pill inside. Often, dogs are less cautious about eating food when their friends are around. However, don’t try this method if one of your dogs hoards or steals food—you don’t want to give the pill to the wrong dog.
Make Them Think They Got Lucky
If your dog begs for food or waits around the dinner table for any dropped scraps, this can be an effective method for medicine administration. Hide the pill in food and “accidentally” drop it. Your dog may be so eager to snarf up the dropped food that they don’t notice the pill inside!
Give Multiple Treats
Try giving your pet a few regular treats before sneaking in the one with the pill. This can lower your pet’s suspicion of any pill hiding. They may be so caught up in the treats that they forget to investigate them carefully.
Ask Your Vet for Clear Instructions
When you go to the vet, ask them to clearly describe the medication process. Ask them about the medication, and make sure you’re getting your pet safe drugs made with FDA certified colorants. If necessary, ask them to give you a demonstration on administering the medicine. Your vet will likely be happy to work with you on this—they will be glad that you care about doing it right.
Pill Your Dog
If nothing else works, you can force your pet to take the pill. This is a method vets often use in their own offices. Open your dog’s mouth and fold their lips under their teeth; this discourages them from biting. Then, push the pill down to the back of their throat. Close their mouth and gently stroke their throat to encourage them to swallow.
You can also try blowing on the dog’s nose to help them swallow. However, many dogs hate that and may lash out at you. If you try blowing on your dog’s nose, keep your face at a safe distance from their mouth.
Explore Different Types of Medicine
If your dog hates pills, you can explore other options. Talk with your vet about alternative forms of the medicine. Many medicines are becoming available in new forms. You can find injections, liquids, and topical medicines. Injections are quicker to administer than pills, while liquids are often available in tasty flavors. Topical medicines can be absorbed into your pet’s skin.
When administering liquid medicine, it’s a good idea to sit next to your dog rather than in front of them. Dogs can spit up their medicine, and you’ll be less likely to be spit on if you’re not directly in front of them. Insert a dropper or syringe with the medicine into your pet’s mouth. Then, close their mouth and tilt back their head. Smoothly empty the syringe or dropper towards the back of your dog’s tongue. Keep your dog’s mouth closed and stroke their throat or blow carefully on their nose.
If your vet approves it, you can also mix liquid medicine with canned dog food and water. You can stir this into a gravy that your dog will be eager to slurp down.
Whatever you do, remain calm and kind throughout the process of administering medicine. Dogs can sense their owner’s stress, and if you’re getting frustrated or upset, it will upset them too. Take deep breaths and maintain positivity. Keep trying, no matter how many times it takes to get your dog to take the pill. Don’t forget praise your pet after they take it — make this process as positive as you can for both you and your dog!