Tips for Giving Your Dog a Pill

How Do I Give My Dog a Pill? (Dima V. Photo)
How Do I Give My Dog a Pill? (Dima V. Photo)

At some point, every dog will need to take a pill, whether it’s medication, a vitamin or a supplement. But when it comes time to give your dog a pill, do you know how to do it?

You could spend twenty minutes wrestling with your dog, trying to pry his jaws apart (good luck – they’re the strongest muscles in the body!) to give him a pill. And then once you do get it in his mouth, you’ll spend the next ten minutes checking your dog’s cheeks and following him around just to make sure he doesn’t “cheek” the pill or spit it out.

Or you can try the following tricks – easy ways to get your dog to take a pill!

Using Food To Give Your Dog a Pill – The Wrong Way

Food is the best way to give your dog a pill, but beware – you cannot put a pill in your dog’s normal dog food!

Remember, a dog’s nose is hundreds of times more powerful than your own, so he’ll be able to smell the unfamiliar pill in his very familiar food from a mile away!

Trying to spike your dog’s food with pills is also a great way to spur the development of a food aversion, which will mean switching to a new dog food. So in short, don’t try to put a pill in your dog’s food – it probably won’t work. And if it does, you’ll risk the dog refusing to eat his dog food from that point forward after he encounters the bitter pill inside.

Using Food To Give Your Dog a Pill – The Right Way

There’s several great ways to use food to give your dog a pill – you just have to know how to do it!

It’s best to use a food that your dog does not eat on a regular basis. If you use a food that your dog is very familiar with, he’ll have an expectation of how the food should smell. When you put a pill or medication inside the food, it will change the smell of the food and if the food doesn’t smell “normal” to the dog, he probably won’t eat it.

But if you use a food that your dog doesn’t normally eat, he will assume that the pill is part of the food’s normal aroma. In short, your dog won’t know that there’s something “wrong” with the food.

The Best Food for Giving Your Dog a Pill

The easiest food to use for giving your dog a pill is peanut butter, cream cheese or any other thick, “goopy” spread. The one exception is butter or margarine. Do not use butter or margarine to give your dog pills, as this can trigger a bout of pancreatitis in the dog!

To give your dog a pill, put some peanut butter or cream cheese on a spoon and put the pills inside. Then, offer the cream cheese or peanut butter to the dog – most dogs will eat it without any problems.

If your dog does not want to eat the cream cheese or peanut butter, the solution is simple: transfer the peanut butter or cream cheese to your finger and wipe it on the roof of the dog’s mouth, just behind the front teeth.

The second-best food for giving a dog a pill is meat, particularly hot dog or sausage. Press the pill into the meat and feed it to the dog.

Other pet owners find it easy to wrap pills in cold cuts or cheese. This can certainly work well, but the dog must be checked afterwards to ensure that the pill is not still inside his mouth.

Before giving a dog a pill, be sure to double check the dosage. And if you have multiple pets on medications, always double check the pill bottle to ensure you’re giving the correct medication to the correct pet!

Another great tool for pet owners – particularly if your pet has medical problems and takes medication – is a pet log. Learn how to create your own pet log to file important pet information and to help your pet get diagnosed if illness arises!

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

  1. Anne Good
    | Reply

    Peanut butter works like a charm for my 3 dogs.

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