A Spoonful of Sugar: How to Get Your Pet to Take His Meds

give dog medication

No one likes taking medications, and it can be much harder to get your dog to take his meds. After all, you cannot reason with him, so you won’t be explaining the best way to proceed. Instead, you usually will have to employ a few tricks of the trade and pull a fast one on him. Some medications come in chewable form and taste like a treat, but if the dog medication your pup needs do not come in this form, you will need another technique. We’ve got your back!

The Way to His Heart

Food is a great motivator for all.  Wrapping your dog’s meds in a piece of food is a tried and true method of pilling your dog. Always be sure to check with your vet before going this route to be sure that the particular medication can be given this way. Use soft food that can be molded around the pill. Cheese, hamburger meat, peanut butter, and cream cheese are all good choices. Some medications can be crushed and mixed with your dog’s regular food, more so with tablets versus capsules.

It is a good idea to wait until your dog’s regular meal time so that he will be hungry and pay less attention to something foreign. Some dogs will become very adept at eating the treat and spitting the pill out.  In this situation, another method may be unavoidable.  Some commercial products are available that have a sticky consistency, making the pill harder to separate from the food. Pill Pockets and Flavor Doh are two good choices.

Open Wide and Say Ahhh

If your dog simply will not take pills with food, or becomes wise to your tactics and finds a way around, you may have to resort to simply placing the pill at the back of the tongue and getting the dog to swallow it on his own.  Place your hand at the back of the muzzle where the top and bottom jaws come together.  With your thumb on one side of the mouth and your fingers on the other, press in on the lips until your dog opens his mouth.  Place the pill at the back of the tongue as far as you can towards the throat in the center of the tongue.  Close the dog’s mouth and stroke his throat to encourage swallowing while holding the mouth closed.

The Shell Game

Another technique is to give multiple treats, with only one having the medication inside, making it harder for the dog to pin point med time.  This involves giving the dog several treats without a pill to get him used to taking the treat without suspicion, then slipping one in with a pill inside, followed by another “empty” treat.

You can prime your dog for this technique by building up to it.  Begin giving treats in a certain fashion several times a day, or several treats at one time.  Do this daily for a period of time (amount of time will depend on how quickly your dog warms to this procedure) until your dog is acclimated to the routine.  Once the pattern is established, give the medication in one of the treats, along with the plain treats before and after.  If you are lucky, your dog will not catch on to the trick.

Giving meds to dogs can be tricky, but with a few techniques to choose from, you are sure to find one that works for you and your dog.

Photo Credit: istockphoto.com

How do you give your pup his dog medication?