Getting Your Dog to Take His Pills, What Works?

by on 31/08/10 at 10:27 am

Somehow they sense it coming: maybe they recognize that purposeful stride into the kitchen where you keep the bottles, or the telltale scrape of the childproof lid against the plastic as you open it. They see you coming with that calming smile on your face and they know the next few seconds are going to be difficult. You’ll know it, anyway, as you struggle to get your dog to take his medicine. You may spend the next twenty minutes or so wrestling him to the ground and prying and mouth open, and you may wonder…surely there’s a better way.

We recall as children going through the same thing ourselves. Mom would balance horrible-tasting syrup in a spoon and push it past our shut lips, because it would make us feel better. Your dog is not likely to understand the need to take pills if he truly needs them, so you’ll have to be a bit inventive when that time comes. If you have had trouble administering pills to your dog, consider these tactics to ensure he is properly cared for.

1) Crush pills in food or water if possible. Consult with your vet about the possibility of breaking pills into tinier pieces to mix in with food or water. If your dog doesn’t see the pill, he is less likely to freak when it’s time for his meds.

2) Use a food wrapper. If your dog is perceptive, he’ll sense when the time is near for medicine, but if you come with a dog treat instead you may find success in your endeavors. Check your local pet supply shop for special food wraps like edible pill pockets or dough you can use to hid the pill. Some pet owners may also use peanut butter or cheese to mask the pill and taste of medicine, but these products are caloric and could cause stomach problems for your pet if you’re not careful.

If possible, too, mix up “pill time” so it doesn’t fall on the same hour and minute daily. If you’re accustomed to administering meds right at seven, the dog will know to expect something, so talk with your vet if necessary about giving the pills fifteen minutes earlier or later on some days. Your pet may be more apt to accept a treat if he’s certain it’s not “that time.”

Above all else, be patient with your pet and don’t let your frustration transfer to him.

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