Rex has been on thyroid medication for years. He also takes a glucosamine tablet and an aspirin for his arthritis. He’s 11 and although he has slowed down the last few years, he’s still very agile and gets around well. I’ve never wanted to fight with Rex to take his medicine, so I buy Pill Pockets – beef or chicken flavored pockets you can stick a pill (or pills) into. I actually break each of the large ones in half and that gives me two for the price of one. And since Rex takes his pills both morning and night, I’m always looking for ways to save a buck. This has worked for me and for Rex, but it might not work for you. Here are some alternatives from the newsletter.

Tips on Hiding Pills! by Lynne Turnquist

I’m giving several of our cockers a tablet medication that is broken into small pieces and is difficult to get them to take because they have learned how to suck off the treat and spit out the bitter tablets! When I tried to have the pharmacy crush and dispense in capsules (which the dogs don’t seem to mind taking) the price doubled. Needless to say, I knew there had to be an in-between to this situation.

My pharmacist friend suggested that he could provide to me very cheaply just the empty capsules to fill myself with the tablets as I broke them up…total cost was $2.85 for 100!!! I just wanted to remind people that if you ask enough of the right kinds of questions, there is always a pet friendly solution out there. We have a house of four rescue cockers and all but one take medication of some kind due to age or other unfortunate situations, but we love them just the same (they are our kids) and we would do most anything for them, but any time we can save a dollar or two in the process, it just means one more dollar for another coming into rescue.

Flavored Medications by PetPlace Veterinarians

If you have a finicky pet that needs medication and just refuses to take it willingly, there is some help available. For children, physicians and pharmacists realized long ago that adding certain flavors to medicine could greatly increase the child’s willingness to take the medication. This was a great help for parents who for years had to fight to give their children much needed medication. Finally, veterinarians and pharmacists have realized that what works in children could also work for pets.

Some of the flavors available for dogs include beef and chicken. For cats, chicken, sardine, tuna and seafood are available. There are even fruit flavored ones such as apple, cherry, etc. for rabbits and rodents.

If you are interested in obtaining flavored medications for your pet, ask your veterinarian about getting medicine from a compounding pharmacy.

How to Administer Pill Medication to Your Dog by Dr. Dawn Ruben

Frequently, medications are required for treatment for illness or injury and dogs are sent home with prescription medication. Once your dog is released from the veterinary hospital, administering these medications can be scary, confusing and, sometimes difficult to do. With practice, giving pill form medications can be quick and easy.

Some medications can be hidden in a small amount of food such as marshmallows, peanut butter or cream cheese but you must make sure that the medication can be taken with food and that your dog actually swallows the medication. Some dogs will eat the food and spit out the pill. If hiding the pill in food is not working, try the following:

  • Gently grasp your dog’s head using your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, use your left hand. Place your hand on top of the muzzle with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Avoid holding the lower jaw, and do not hold it so tight that it is uncomfortable or the dog cannot swallow. You may need someone to help hold the front legs and chest of the dog to hold him/her still. Wrapping the dog in a towel or blanket is a good restraint technique.
  • Once his head is held in place, raise his nose to point toward the ceiling and firmly squeeze in just behind the upper canine teeth. The mouth should then open.
  • Use your other hand to administer the pill. Place the pill between your thumb and forefinger. Use your little finger, ring finger or middle finger to lower the jaw by applying pressure to the teeth between the lower canine teeth.
  • After the mouth is fully open, place the pill as far back in the mouth as possible. Avoid placing your hand too far into your dog’s mouth. You may stimulate the “gag reflex” and this will make the experience unpleasant and make future medication administration attempts more difficult.
  • Close your dog’s mouth and hold it closed. Gently and briefly rub your dog’s nose or blow lightly on the nose. This should stimulate him to swallow.
  • The quicker you perform this procedure, the more cooperative your dog will be.
  • Always remember to praise your dog and offer a treat after receiving medication. This will help make future medicine times easier.
  • * * *

    I hope these tips helped you. If you have a tip of your own to share, please do! We’re all ears.

    Getting a Dog to Take His Medicine

    8 thoughts on “Getting a Dog to Take His Medicine

    • April 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      I try to avoid cheese, since I think milk fat may not be good for my dog. Peanut butter works really well. The dog cannot taste the pill if it is smeared in PB and offered on the tip or your finger. You’re all right if your dog is a licker and not a chomper. Otherwise, use a finger that you can do without. Certainly not a middle finger. If you are like me you need that all the time while driving.

      • April 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        Peanut butter does work very well. I used to give Rex a pill on a smear on my finger (he was not a chomper). Good advice for everyone.

    • June 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

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    • January 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      Seeing as how this is my dog’s “pill day,” your timing is perfect. The pockets probably won’t work, because she’s pretty much toothless now and can’t chew.

      She gets a capsule, that we usually break open and mix into her food, but I’m worried she won’t get the full dose if she doesn’t finish her food, or some clings to the side of the bowl or scatters when I open the capsule.

      The instructions I was given to make her swallow pills (force her mouth open and jam it down her throat) weren’t nearly as helpful as your detailed directions. THANK YOU! I think I’ll try it today. 🙂

      • January 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

        Catrina, I hope it works to get those needed medications into your pooch. Thanks for sharing and letting us know what you’ve tried. It helps us all to learn from each other.
        Have a great weekend,

    • January 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

      My dog loves “cheeseballs”. She gets all excited when I ask her if she wants a cheeseball. I roll her 3 pills a day inside a thin slice of chedder cheese. She gulps it down without even chewing it. Once in awhile a pill will drop out, but most of the time it gets down first try. My kitty is on 1/4 a pill of thyroid. I crush it up in her wet food and mix it up so she can’t smell or taste it. It works so much better then trying to force the food down her.

      • January 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        Hi Debbie,
        Most dogs love cheese, like yours, but get this — my Rex doesn’t! Go figure! So I turned to the pill pockets. BUT he does love peanut butter, so once in a while I’ll stick his pills in that and he licks it right up.
        Thanks for sharing what works for your darlings!


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