As a pet parent, I know how much harder to give pills to my dog. Forget dogs. I don’t like pills too. Believe me or not, even today, if I swallow a bitter pill, I always ending up at the kitchen eating sugar. So I can feel the frustrating feeling what my dog has. Is your dog one of those Pill hater types too?
Well, feeding a pill to your dog can be a Pandora box of difficulties. Things can get messy and challenging for both of you once you try to give the dog a pill.
Here I would love to share my experience in this regard and love to share some tips and tricks you may find useful in medicating your dog. Many people are using different techniques. You may be too. If you think you are doing something that no one else would even think about, please don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comment section.
Before we dig into this topic, remember you need to be an actor and a performer to tackle a dog.
I would say dogs are genius creatures in avoiding what they hate.
Why Dogs Resist Their Medicine?
Dogs avoid pills mostly because of their bitter taste, smell, or texture. So its nothing to do with medicines. They don’t know whether it is medicine or not.
And some dogs can be fussy about what they put in their mouth, making it even difficult for the owner to give them medicine.
Here are a few tips and techniques to get your dog or perhaps trick your dog into taking his pills.
1. Seek Advice From Your Vet
This must be your first step and the most recommended way. Veterinarians are dog scientists, doctors, and psychiatrists all at the same time.
A good veterinarian can give you with a pile of alternate ways and medicines to lower your headache of providing pills.
A veterinarian will understand the reason behind your dog resisting his medicine.
Even in human medicine, we know for those who have allergic to some pills will be replaced by alternative pills. So your veterinarian Might find some enjoyable alternative flavored tablets that may love by your pet.
Medicines like carprofen (for arthritis) and fluoxetine(for separation anxiety) comes with different flavors that your dog may love. But those will know only by your VET, and you can’t give anything by your wish because it may be poisonous for your dog.
2. Don’t Open the Pill Bottle In front of Your Dog
Forget the dog. Remember our childhood? I can still remember how I hate Paracetamol. When I see a lot of Paracetamol pills in one card, it scared me. The hard part is not swallowing but seeing the pills. There is no difference between dogs and us. Dogs will feel-good vibes when you are trying to give them something tastier.
If you are giving sweety biscuits to your dog ( Which is wrong. Don’t give any sweets to your dog), you probably know how your dog act to the sound coming from the biscuits cover when you try to open it.
The same goes for the opposite, where opening a pill bottle or the sound of foil over the pill bottle may offend them. To avoid this, you must take the pill away from your little smarty’s eyes and ears.
3. Make Sure Your Hands Don’t Smell Like Pills
Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell. They are about 10000 times better at it than humans.
Police and Bomb disposal teams using dogs to catch thieves or to find drugs and explosives because of this exceptional sense of the smell.
So if your hand smells something that they don’t like then definitely they will not come near you.
Therefore, it is important to properly wash your hands with soap and lukewarm water to completely vanish the scent of medicine before you close to your dog.
4. Hide the Pill in Dog’s Meal
One day my dog got a stomach ache. We went to the VET, and he gave us a large pill. It had a great smell. I loved the scent that came from it and got a feeling to swallow it by myself. Haha. So I put it on the floor near to my dog. First, he sniffed it, but then he went away. So keep in mind that even though pills that advertised to have a likely dog smell sometimes not work for your dog. There is nothing wrong with it. Manufactures cant make products that suit everyone, right? So then I bake a slice of small chicken meat and put it inside (Without crushing. The whole tablet) and gave it to him. Then he ate the meat, but dropped the pill—silly me.
Then I again crushed the pill. I made a hole in the meat and put the pill powder inside the hall and closed the hole. Then he ate it.
Keep in mind that your little intelligent friend is really smart. So you need to treat him even smartly. There is no right way or wrong way. But just don’t give bad foods even though it will hide the pill like chocolates. See my topic on chocolate and why it is bad for your dog.
Moreover, if you have more than one pup in your home, you need to make sure that they are fed separately. This will ensure that the right dog will get medicine.
5. Try Pill Container
Pill container is just another smart way to give the dog a pill. This technique involves hiding the bitter taste pill in a tasteless, empty, edible gel capsule just to mask its texture and taste.
If your pill is a big one, you may need to cut off, or you can hide a few tablets inside this by pressing gently.
So, you can put the complete dosage for a day into a single gelcap, and your dog won’t even know about it.
Speaking of pill containers, you can try this link to check it by yourself. Honest with you, I didn’t use this method by my self because hiding inside a slice of meat is simple for me. But people who tried this method never said a bad word about it. How ever, cards are on the table. You can try it. Let us know your thoughts. Let’s move on.
6. Trick Him With a Pill Treat
If there is something typical food that every dog loves, it is “Treats”. Take your dog’s favorite flavored treat and hide the pill inside it. Make sure you hide it properly, or your smart pup will reject the entire treat. Other than treats, you can use below food to hide the pills. Earlier I said I hid inside a slice of chicken meat.
Some others are
- Chunky Peanut Butter
- Thick Plain Yoghurt
- Pill Pockets (Kind of a dog treat with a hole. You can put the pill inside and close the hole)
- Tasty Marshmallows
- Pieces of Hot Dogs slightly larger than the tablet itself ( You can open an indent and pull the pill inside)
- Chicken Hearts or Turkey Hearts for a larger dose
- Liver Pate wrapped around the pill
Make sure whatever food option you use it should has a tasty scent stronger than the pill itself.
When you want to medicate the dog, you can first try to give food without a pill. Do this a few times, and at the right time, you can give the food that has the medicine. Because if you offer many foods that don’t have pills, he will not worry about your next food will have a pill. To do this trick, all the foods should be the same. If you are giving stakes, all portions should be steaks. Don’t mix it up.
7. Medicate Him With Your Daily Walk
Have you ever notice how busy and distracted your dog when he is walking with you on the road or park? Because there are a lot of things happening around him, and everything is exciting to him. So movement by movement, he is enjoying the view. He sees other dogs, seeing cars and other animals. So this will be the right movement to medicate the dog. So you have to take a treat or pre-prepared food with you in this case.
But no need to pull out the pill from the sealed card right from home. If the tablet exposes to the air for a longer period, it will reduce the effectiveness of the medicine. You can hide the pill inside the food while you are walking, or your dog is busy with sniffing.
When your pup gets excited along the way, feed him the treats. He will be less focused on what he eats at that time and will gulp the food without noticing the pill.
To give a dog pill, you have to master all such techniques, or your dog will trick you by dodging the pills.
8. Make Your Dog Earn It and Reward Him
Who hates being rewarded?
We all know that majority of little kids don’t like books or do homework. Instead, they love to play. But If we gifted nicely wrapped books on their any celebration time like a Birthday, like being the first one from a race, even though they don’t like books since we are giving books as a reward they will like the books.
That’s the trick that we are going to apply here.
Instead, we force him to take pills. We are rewarding him with a treat (Pill inside) when he does some extraordinary or funny activity.
Sometimes I suddenly make a noise to my dog and running away. Then my dog chases me very fastly. After he came to me, I rub his head gently and giving food whatever I have at that time. Again I do the same thing, and it provides fun for him and me too.
So he thinks that if he chases me, I will rub his head and give food. So it’s a kind of reward he gets from me if he does that activity. So after a few repetitions, you can reward him with the medicated food this time. His excitement of earning the reward will allow him to eat it without noticing the pill inside. Give a pill to your dog should do smoothly as possible.
But, what if your dog knows no tricks?
Well, then it’s a good time to make him learn some. And believe me, that’s far easier than you think it is. Just make sure to focus more on the reward wanting part rather than the trick itself.
9. Pretend Offering It to Another Dog
It seems a bit rude, but yes, it works.
Dogs don’t like it if their owners are giving attention to other dogs. And this behavior of your dog can help you feed him his medicine.
I had two Pomeranian dogs a few years back. They are mother and daughter. But if it is food time, there no mother and daughter relationship. Two of them are rushing to each other to have the food. So like I said, every dog likes if the owner is giving attention to him only. So if I feed one dog only, others may become mad.
So all you have to do is start to offer the food to other dogs who doesn’t need medicine. Concentrate on the behavior coming from your dog. Once your dog feels others are taking his food and attention, he’ll want it even more.
Then instantly, you should give the food that has the pill to your dog. Since he is excited to such a level, he won’t bother to chew it.
Believe me or not, my dog once ate a piece of carrot because I offered it to a sparrow outside.
10. Crush It to a Powder Form
Not all medicines are meant to be crushed. By doing so, it will reduce the effectiveness of the drug. But if the veterinarian confirmed that its ok to break the pill, you can go ahead and mix the crushed powder to your dog’s food.
As the powder is edible than a solid tablet, your dog won’t notice. I am using a small hammer to crush the pills, but I saw some handy gadgets sell on eBay and Amazon. Its called a Pill crusher. Maybe you can try them. But you do not need such devices to do this little simple task. Don’t over complicate things.
11. Make Him Want It by Pretending to Eat by Yourself
Your dog is always craving to have your food. He will like to taste whatever you eat.
Most of the time, they sit by you near the dining table and watch you with such wanting, cute puppy eyes.
When I eat food, sometimes I get the food to my hand, pretends like throwing it to him. But I am not releasing the food from my hand. When I do this a few times, he becomes more curious about what I am going to give him.
So what you can do is you can have your pill mixed food inside your food container and suddenly provide the item at the right movement.
This can also be a great way to trick them into getting pills.
All you have to do is just pretend his food is a part of your diet, and once he perceives the idea the way you want him to, offer him his medication.
He will consider it a privilege and will eat it in a single gulp.
12. Use a Pill Gun to Give a Dog a Pill
Most of the methods I am discussing here are based on mixing the medication with food. But what if your dog doesn’t like to eat food? What if your dog is very sick and he don’t have the strength even to stand up?
On that note, you have to put the medication directly into his throat. Don’t worry. You do not need to be scared. Pill gun is a tool that you can use here.
Take a pill gun, get someone to assist you as you put the pill in the throat of your pup.
This works well for small breeds such as Yorkies. However, it can be used with larger breeds too.
You just need to master the technique, that’s it.
13. Putting Pill Directly to the Throat and Close the Jaws
I am doing this all the time. But keep in mind that don’t try this method on someone else dog. The dog should be very much obeyed and very friendly to you to do this trick. I saw some pets from my friends’ houses, that doesn’t have a good relationship with their owner. Some dogs are scares to the owner. But I can even place my hand inside the dog without worrying. He will never bite me. You need that much for trust to do this.
Here you are simply taking the pill and putting inside the throat. You should open the mouth widely, shove your hand deep inside the throat and release the tablet. Then close the jaws for like 3 seconds until he swallows it down. That’s it. The pill will go directly to the stomach.
Give a pill to your dog may be the best or worst experience you may have faced based on the dog and type of the techniques you used. So in this article, I focused on 14 methods to give pills to your lovey dog without even he knows it.
Mastering these techniques, along with training your pet to enjoy taking his medicine, is the key to success, rather than fighting.
Do you have any method or trick to share? Comment below. Let others know.