How to Give Your Dog a Pill

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
If you’ve ever had to give your dog a pill, you know how difficult it can be. Here are some tips on how to make any pill easier to swallow.

Dogs love to eat, and some dogs don’t seem to care whether the thing they are eating is actually food or not. Unfortunately, dogs have a way of knowing when you’re trying to give them medication and that’s just about the only time they won’t eat anything you hand them.

Whether you’re trying to give your dog his monthly heartworm preventive or some kind of medication, you’ll need to get creative. Keep reading to learn some simple ways to give your dog a pill by hiding it in something else.

Related: Tricky Tips On How To Hide Your Dog’s Medicine

  1. Pill Pockets

A pill pocket is simply a small round treat with a hollowed out middle. You can insert the pill into the pocket and feed it to your dog the same way you would feed him a treat. This trick works best for dogs who tend to swallow their treats whole without much chewing. If your dog chews everything thoroughly, he’s more likely to taste the pill and might be wary of accepting the pill pocket later.

  1. Wet Food

Another simple trick to get your dog to take a pill is to mix it in with some wet food. This works especially well if you usually feed your dog dry food, so he is more likely to see the wet food as a special treat. Keep in mind that some dogs will still be able to taste the medication and might eat around it.

Related: Helpful Tips for Giving Your Cat a Pill

  1. Cooked Chicken

Nothing is more irresistible to a dog than “people food.” If you’re trying to give your dog medication, one idea is to hide it in something especially tasty like a piece of cooked chicken. Hopefully, your dog will be so excited to eat the treat that he doesn’t even notice the pill inside.

  1. Empty Gel Caps

If your dog generally doesn’t have a problem taking medication but the taste is throwing him off, one idea is to take an empty gel capsule and place the medication inside. If your dog can’t actually taste the pill, he might be more likely to take it. You can also combine this trick with pill pockets or hiding the pill in some kind of food.

Other Options for Giving Dogs Medication

The tricks listed above work well if you’re trying to give your dog a pill but what do you do if it’s an oral medication? Liquid medications can sometimes be mixed with wet food or with something else your dog is likely to eat. You can talk to your veterinarian about options for flavored medications or chewable tablets as another option if your dog still won’t take the medication. If all else fails, you can administer the medication by hand. Carefully open your dog’s mouth and place the pill as far back into his mouth as you can. Then, holding his mouth closed, lift his nose and stroke his throat, encouraging him to swallow.

Before using any of these tricks, make sure that your dog’s medication can be given with food. If the pill is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, ask your veterinarian whether using a pill pocket is still okay or if you need to figure something else out.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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