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How to Give Your Dog a Pill

April 1 2015

One challenge that every pet owner is bound to face sooner or later is the task of getting a pet to take pills. Our canine and feline friends are very much like furry children in many ways. It isn’t always easy to get them to do something they don’t want to do! In this article from your local McHenry vet, you’ll read some tips on how to give your pet a pill.

Sneak It Into Food

This is the most common tactic for giving pets medication. Choose something that has a strong odor and flavor, as this will help mask the presence of the pill. Hamburger, sausage, liverwurst, cheese, tuna, and fish are a few good examples. Cream cheese and butter may also work: they don’t smell as much, but they’re slippery, which will help. If this tactic works, consider yourself lucky! If not, read on for some more advanced methods.

Treat Pouches

You can buy pill pouches, or make your own. There are several variations of the recipe for treat pouches. Look for dog-friendly ingredients like sodium-free chicken broth, peanut butter, ground meat or fish, wheat flour, and fish oil.

Catch The Treat

Here’s another sly tactic: teach Fido to catch a treat in his mouth. If you want to be extra sneaky, play this game randomly and without pills. You can use treat pouches, and just fill many of the pouches with yummy bits of unseasoned meat or cheese. Fido won’t be expecting the pill, and may gobble it down before he realizes what happened.

Don’t Announce Yourself

Our canine friends are very good at reading our intentions. If you approach your dog carefully, Fido might know something’s up before you even get close to him, never mind hold out the pill. Act naturally!

Basic Technique

If subterfuge doesn’t work, you may as well stop trying to trick Fido, and just tell him he’s getting a pill. He may not like it, but he’ll at least relax. Coat the pill with butter, olive oil or fish oil to make it slippery. Next, fill a syringe with low-sodium chicken broth. Put the pill into his mouth, and immediately squirt the broth through the side of his mouth. Follow with a yummy treat!

Do you have any questions about your dog’s health, care or behavior? Contact us, your local McHenry, IL vet clinic, any time!