5 Tricks to Give Your Dog Medication

20 Nov 2018 | Written by Tori Holmes
If you’ve ever had to give your dog medication, you know that it can be nothing short of a challenge. One minute you’re trying to pop a little pill into their mouth and the next thing you know you’re in the middle of what feels like a wrestling match. Fortunately, there a number of things you can do to make sure that the whole pill giving experience is quick, easy, and – dare we say it – fun.

Hide it in food or food pockets

For the undiscerning pet, the easiest way to give them medicine is by hiding the pill inside soft food. Peanut butter, cheese, or even their favorite Freshpet roll are all great hiding options, but if you’re looking for something specifically designed to disguise your pet’s medicine there are a number of brands that sell “pill pockets”. Pill pockets are usually soft and malleable treats with a hollowed out center where you can place the pill.

Make it a competition

If you have more than one dog, creating some friendly competition between the two is another way to make administrating medication easier. When both of your pups are together, give them both a few Freshpet treats, one of which has the pill hidden inside. This creates a sense of urgency and they will likely eat quicker and with less regard to the pill they may otherwise by fussy about. However, if either of your pets struggles with food aggression this method should be avoided.

Turn it into a game

Another great way to take the stress out of giving your pup their medication is turning it into a game. To do this, grab a few treats – some plain and as many as needed filled with their medicine. Mix together the plain and medicated treats and get creative with how you give them to your pup. Try tossing them up in the air and making your pup catch the treats, hide them around the room and let the hunt begin, or customize your play by catering to the games your pet enjoys. They’ll be so distracted with playing the game they won’t realize some of the treats have their medicine in them.

Look for alternative forms

If pills aren’t an option, talk to your vet about liquid medicine. These are usually much easier to give as you can simply squirt it into your dog’s mouth and it’s quite difficult for them to spit out. Plus, they often come in a variety of tasty flavors your pup will enjoy.

If all else fails, pill them

Sometimes no matter how well your disguise the medicine or turn giving it into a game, your dog just won’t have it. In these situations, “pilling” them is your last resort. It may sound intimidating but when done properly, this tried and tested method is sometimes the best option for administrating medication. Simply open their mouths wide and place the pill as far back as possible. Quickly close their mouth - to avoid having the pill spit out and raise their head. You can then message their neck or gently blow on their face to get them to swallow. If giving your dog their medication is an ongoing issue, the person to talk to is your veterinary care team. They’ll be able to help you find a way to give your pup their medication that is as stress-free as possible.

Responses to this Post

20 Nov, 2018 at 11:34 pm
Great tips! Making pilled and non-pilled tidbit really does cut down on suspicion and keep your pet eating quickly enough that they won't notice the medication. I also like to nonchalantly drop the pilled bite of food as though it's a forbidden snack that they're not supposed to have.
20 Dec, 2018 at 08:40 pm
I hide my dogs medication in hot dogs (Nathans All Beef Franks). I cut a hot dog into 4 pieces and pop the medication into one and mix them all up right in front of her because she knows what I am doing and then drop them in her bowl and she gobbles them right up. Sometimes I use soft cheese but the hot dogs seem to work the best.
Kristen Jeffers
27 Apr, 2020 at 02:22 am
We tried EVERYTHING to give our dog her amoxicillin.. she was NOT having it. My husband tried putting it in the back of her mouth and she was terrified and would not cooperate. Finally, I crushed it and mixed it in some warm potato soup and she ate it right up. ?
Michael Breid
8 Apr, 2021 at 12:20 am
I have a small poodle/schnauzer. We put her pill in a bit of food and she takes it, and then spits the pill out. If you try to open her mouth to insert the pill you will find yourself missing a few fingers. That ain't gonna happen. We might try the blowing in the nostrils idea, but I think it will be a waste of time. This little lady is one that doesn't approve anyone touching her mouth with your hand.
Eve Mitchell
26 Oct, 2021 at 08:09 pm
I loved your idea about turning medication into a game. My dog need compounded medicine for his intestines. I'm hoping I can find a way for him to actually eat it.
Thomas Clarence
24 Jun, 2022 at 06:26 pm
I appreciate the advice about making it a game when you give your dog medicine. My dog needs to take some pain medicine. I will have to find the right game for my dog so that I can make sure he actually eats it.

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