How To Get Your Dog To Take A Pill

It’s always a pain in the neck when you have to get your dog to take his medicine. You may be wondering if there is any way out of this to make your dog obediently take his pill?

In this post, I will share with you some solution that works well to make your dog WILLINGLY take his medicine.

I believe you might have tried to stuff that pill in his meal and your dog is certainly smart enough to sniff the pill out of his food and leave it back in his food bowl.

If that is troubling you, give the following solution a try.

Getting your dog to take his pills doesn’t have to be hard. You can use cream cheese or hot dogs to camouflage the pill, compound his medicine into his favorite flavor, or to grind the pill into powder and mix it with food. Manually feeding him using a pill gun or using a pocket pill could be an alternative.

Good Old -Fashioned Cream Cheese

This (cream cheese “TRICK”) ALWAYS works for my dog whenever I need him to take his medicine as he simply cannot resist the enticing creamy cheese.

Moreover, he cannot smell anything through the cream cheese (so he doesn’t know that there is a pill “hidden” right in the cheese).

What you need to do is to use a little spoon and scoop some cream cheese. Make a little groove in there and put the pill in it. Do not push the pill all the way to the bottom and you just have to literally curl the cheese around the pill.

You may find the cream cheese to be too big for your dog but don’t worry about it as dogs do not chew on their food. They just gulp their food, especially on foods that they love so much. 

If your dog had never eaten cheese before and you are not sure if he likes it, you can give him a bit of the cheese to prime him first.

If he is reacting well and gets to love it, you can then start to hide that pill in the cheese and give it to him. He is likely going to just gulp that cheese down his throat since he already likes the taste of it.

Another good reason for letting your dog consume cheese is that the thick cream cheese helps to “coat” his stomach and prevent the reaction of the pills from causing him any stomach upset.

And for my dog, he never throws out the pill after unknowingly having it along with his favorite cheese  🙂

So a spoonful of enticing cream cheese certainly makes the medicine go down well for my dog!

You could also make use of peanut butter (replacing cheese) if your dog doesn’t really like the taste of cheese.

What you can do is to scoop some peanut butter on a spoon and stick the pill into the peanut butter, right at the tip of the spoon (this positioning is important, have to be at the tip, not middle or back of the spoon) and then use your finger to lightly cover up the pill with the peanut butter.

Next, go over to your dog and let him lick your finger first as it is still covered with peanut butter, to entice him on the taste.

This will certainly make it easier for you to get him to open his mouth when you push the spoon with peanut butter (hidden pill in it) to him and kind of dump all the butter on his tongue in one shot.

He will likely gulp down the peanut butter without knowing that there is a pill in it.

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Enticing Hot Dogs

Most dogs can’t resist the taste of hot dogs and you can take advantage of this. Cut the hot dogs into small sections and hide the pill in some of these sections.

Start with feeding your dog the hot dog without the pill, followed by the next one with the pill and then finally reward him with another piece of hot dog.

Medicine In Fluid Form

Another approach is to work with your pet pharmacist to get the medicine in fluid form (if that is available) or you can crush the pills into powder (using pill crusher) and mix it with some wet treat such as peanut butter, yogurt or something that is soft.

For fluid medication, you will have to make use of a syringe. Load the medicine into the syringe, lift his lip and place the syringe right behind his teeth and then squirt the medicine in his mouth.

You will have to do it real fast as dogs don’t like people touching their mouth.

As for the pill powder approach, check with your veterinarian first if the medicine can be crushed into powder.

Some medicine cannot be grind into powder and given with the food, or they just simply taste awful and may put your dog off.

You could also talk with your vet to have the medicine compounded into a flavor (such as bacon, beef or chicken flavor) that your dog likes and this will certainly make it lots easier for him to consume them. Of course, there will be additional costs for that.

Feed Him Manually (Do This With Care)

Only do this if you think there is NO risk of your dog turning aggressive. To do the manual feeding, you could carry out the following steps:

1. Get your dog in a sitting position.

2. Gently move his head backward to open his mouth widely.

3. Place the pill as far back as possible in his throat.

4. Close his mouth and gently stroke his neck for a few seconds to make him swallow the pill.

Once you see your dog sticking out his tongue, you know that he has swallowed the pill.

You can certainly make the pill more “tasty” for your dog by swiping it through some of his favorite wet food, peanut butter or yogurt just to give the pill a bit of the flavor so that when you pop that into his mouth, it tastes like a treat rather than a pill. 

This hopefully makes him less resistant and be more willing to swallow the pill.

Use Of Pill Gun

If your dog starts to get aggressive and you run the risk of him biting you when you try to feed him manually, get yourself a pill gun.

Use the gun to hold the pill for you so that you don’t have to put your finger right into your dog’s mouth. 

And you can also load a bit of peanut butter on the pill before placing it in the gun. The smell of the peanut butter will make your dog want to lick on it and as he is licking on the butter, you will have the opportunity to get the gun right into his throat to release the medicine.

Remember to try placing the gun a bit deeper, right to the end of his tongue, so that he doesn’t throw the pill out.

Use of Pill Pockets

You can easily get hold of pill pockets from any pet shop and use it as a treat (to hide the pill in it) for your dog.

They are extremely tasty which makes them tempting for your dog. But if you got a really smart dog, he could outsmart you by just eating the pill pocket and spitting out the pill.

So what you might want to do will be to perform the manual feeding approach with the pill pockets.

Give Pills Right Before Meal Time

Your dog certainly looks forward to his delicious meal, and he is usually in a more submissive mode and willing to listen to you during his meal time. Make use of this to your advantage by manual feeding him the medicine right before his meal.

This is what you will do:

1. Place his food right in front of him but prevent him from eating them.

2. Reach out to him to feed him the medicine.

3. After he had taken the medicine, let him have his meal.

Overtime, he will stop minding on taking his medicine as he knows that after doing this, he will get to enjoy his meal.

This is similar to what you do with your kid when he refuses to eat his medicine. You would tell him that after finishing his medicine, he would be allowed to play in his playground (something that he looks forward to).

So you are making use of something that your dog looks forward to in exchange for him to do things that you want him to do.

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