We found this short video showing
how to give your dog a pill to be very informational and helpful.
Demonstrated by a licensed veterinarian.
Though it’d be a lot easier if they
did, not all dogs and cats will take a pill that’s simply dropped in
Luckily, there are tons of different ways you can “trick” your pet
into taking their meds, whether they need them on a daily basis or
just every once in a while. It’s important to remember that how you
approach the situation dictates how your cat or dog will react.
Since they often play off your emotions and can read you well, if
you’re worried, anxious or freaking out in any way, they might too.
Feeling (or at least acting) like you know what you’re doing will
help the situation greatly. Treats help too.
Before ever administering any medication, it’s important to have
really talked to the vet to understand how often, when and how the
meds should be taken. Knowing things like whether the meds should be
taken with or without food are especially important. The vet should
also be able to give tips and tricks on how to administer your
We’ve got the most common kinds of medications and tips on how to
best get your pet to take them. But first…
Even if you can’t
confirm, for whatever reason, that your pet took their pill,
never risk doubling up. It’s usually better to have missed one
med than to have taken too many. (Though you should consult with
your vet if you’re nervous).
Never crush pills into a powder. The coating of the pills is
often used to slowly administer the medicine to the body or to
soften the blow to your dogs blood stream. Powder also tastes
much worse and it will be harder to get your pet to take it that
If your pet is supposed to take two pills twice a day, don’t
resort to giving him/her four in the morning to make it easier
or because you’re going to be home late. If the vet separated
them, there’s a reason. You can always call to find out
approximately how many hours need to have passed between the
dosages, and how many hours is too long.
Just like when you’re training your dog to pee outside, give
praise when things go well!
Forgot the vets instructions or can’t understand what the label
means? Google is not your
friend here. These pills are for a specific pet for a specific
reason – call your vet and don’t start administering until you
get your answers.
This includes pills, capsules, tablets and liquids. If it won’t work
to just mix it into food (though usually it will, especially if you
use wet food), you can try one of the tips below…
Here’s a tip from Blog
Paws: “When giving a dog a pill, slip your thumb into the space
behind one of the canine teeth and press upward on the roof of the
mouth. As the mouth begins to open, press down on the lower jaw with
the opposite thumb. Alternatively, press in on both lips from above
the muzzle. As the skin pushes in behind the canines, the larger
teeth, the dog will drop their jaw and open its mouth. Insert the
pill well to the back of the tongue in the middle of the mouth. If
you place the pill too far forward or to the side of the tongue your
dog will probably spit it out. After you’ve positioned the pill,
close your dog’s mouth and massage or
rub its throat gently until swallowing occurs. If your dog licks its
nose, the pill has most likely been swallowed. If you’re not sure,
try a syringe full of water or a small treat until the pill goes
Some treats will offer a helping hand. Look for meat-flavored treats
with hollow centers that will allow for you to hide a pill in the
middle. Often toss treats to your pet that they catch in their
mouth? Throw 2-3 real treats and then try tossing a pill. Follow up
with another real treat.
If you aren’t against using human food as a method, most dogs will
gladly take a pill that’s wrapped in a piece of cheese, deli meat or
coated in peanut butter.
If all else fails and you have a little extra cash, commercial pill
hiding products are available.
Oral Liquid Medication
This includes antibiotics, electrolytes, and water solutions.
According to Blog Paws,
these types of meds “are best administered into the cheek pouch
located between the molars and the cheek. The typical method of
delivery is with a medicine bottle, dropper, or plastic syringe. You
will want to gently tilt your dog’s chin upwards before placing the
oral medication into their mouth, which should be swallowed
naturally. Be careful not to dispense the liquid too fast as your
dog may gag, spit, or cough up the medication. Use praise throughout
the process and give a little treat upon completion.”
Drops for the Eyes and Ears
This one usually sounds easier than it is. Unless you’ve got a calm
pet that will sit on the floor with you and let you do your thing,
you may have to do some work. This may also depend on what exactly
you’re treating and if your pet is in any pain from it.
Blog Paws says that for
the eyes “it’s best to stroke your pet’s head to promote calmness,
tilt their head back, and slowly place the required drop(s) into the
eye. From there, gently run your hand on the top of the head and
back of the ears while heaping on the praise.”
For the ears, they recommend being super gentle. “Slowly lift the
Pinna (ear flap) and drop or place the medication in the opening of
the canal. Make sure not to stick the medication tube deep into the
canal—let gravity take its course. More than likely your dog will
shake his head after receiving the medication. To slow this down,
place the palm of your hand on top of your dog’s head until the
shaking stops. Then proceed to the other ear if required.”
So maybe you’re scared of needles. Your pet isn’t, and this process
will likely be much for painful for you than for him or her.
If the whole process really bugs you, and you can afford the fees,
you can always schedule to take your dog to the vet for their daily
injections. But if this is not feasible for your schedule or wallet,
just have them teach you how to prepare the medicine and watch out
for safety considerations. They can recommend where to inject and
various tips on exactly how to do it (the angle, amount of pressure,
how to hold your pet as you do it, etc.)
Good news? You’re both allowed to have a cookie after.