Monday, June 24, 2013

How to Give a Dog a Pill

Welcome to our 200th post!! Today we'll take a look at what can be a very stressful part of pet ownership... getting your dog to take their medicine. At the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, we have become medication administration experts.  Here are our tips to taking the stress out of giving meds.

Go undercover!

Hide the pill in anything and everything.

Pill Pockets:
When we have them donated, Pill Pockets are the easiest and fastest way to give meds.  Pill Pockets are soft, smelly, pliable treats with a hole in the middle.  You just stick the tablet in the middle, close the Pill Pocket around the tablet, and feed it to your dog as a treat.

Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter is our second line of defense.  We take a spoonful of peanut butter, preferably crunchy, smush the tablet in the peanut butter, and then let the dog lick the peanut butter off the spoon.  You can also transfer the peanut butter to your finger if the tablet gets trapped in the well of the spoon.

Make a “meatball”:
Form a meatball made from wet dog food, stuff the tablet into the middle and voila!  You have a medicated meatball sure to be scarfed down.

Hot dogs:
Slice a fully cooked hot dog into ½” thick slices, push the tablet into the middle of the slice and feed it to your dog.

Other suggestions:
Our staff has found other undercover solutions for their foster dogs and/or dogs at home, including:
  • Hiding a pill in store bought cheese cubes
  • Hiding a pill in fig newtons
  • Making tiny peanut butter, cream cheese, mashed banana, butter, or combination thereof sandwiches with bread or crackers.
Tip: Go undercover before meal time for best results

Third time’s a charm

Does your dog get suspicious any time you give him an undercover treat?  Try this technique!

Have three of whatever type of undercover treats.  Let’s say you have cheese cubes.  Take out three cheese cubes, putting the medicine in the third one.  Feed your dog the one cheese cube.  He might search it, and then eat it, satisfied nothing is hidden in there.  Then give him the second cheese cube.  Now he’s starting to trust you.  Give him the third (and medicated) cheese cube.  He’ll be so excited with the game of getting lots of treats, he won’t even notice there’s a pill in there.  This is particularly effective with dogs who like to catch treats in the air. 


Does your dog lick her bowl clean?  Take advantage of her joy for meal time and add her medicine to the bowl.

You can use any of the “undercover” methods and simply add the hot dog slice, meatball, etc to her food bowl.

Another great tip is to mix wet dog food (one with gravy works best) or broth to the dog’s kibble, drop the pill in, mix all around and watch your dog happily lick their bowl clean.  If adding broth to the food bowl, warming the broth slightly will make it smell even more enticing.

*Be sure to watch your dog while fedicating to be sure the dog actually eats and swallows the pill.

And if all else fails…

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and “pill” your dog.  Here’s a video demonstrating how to “pill” a dog:

What tips do you have for giving dogs medication?

1 comment:

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