Home Dog Health How to Give a Dog Medicine

How to Give a Dog Medicine

Most dogs are notorious for refusing to take medicine, vitamins, supplements, and anything else they deem suspicious and not appealing in smell or taste.

A few tricks can help you give your dog a pill without having him spit it out.

I'll also share a few things you must remember when forcing pills on your dog.

In my video above on how to give a dog medicine or pills, I demonstrate a few proper and safe methods.

Remember that no matter which method you choose, you should keep the experience a positive one for him.

This is important for the future success of giving your dog a pill.

You both must master this technique; it'll really take time to learn how to give/take medicine pills.

How to Give a Dog Medicine

How to Give a Dog Medicine Safely

Mix Pills with Food

The easiest way to give your dog a pill is by mixing them into his dog food.

Wrapping the medicine in a food source with a potent odor will entice almost any dog to consume it.

Feeding canned wet food makes this easier since you can mix it into the meal, and your pet is unlikely to notice.

If you're feeding homemade meals, that's an even easier option – just mix it in when cooking.

But most of us are probably using standard kibble. So as I explain in my video above, I recommend using sliced deli meat.

It provides a strong odor and is easily malleable.

You can wrap the meat around your dog's pills. Your pup will likely swallow it whole without even noticing the medication.

But if you've tried this already, you must know that it doesn't always work.

Maybe your dog is clever, like my Boxer, and he probably figured out your trick and eats the food but spits the pill out.

In this case, let's discuss your next easiest option.

Use Pill Pockets Treats

Pill pockets for dogs are special tasty treats specifically made to wrap around a pet's medicine. They are pliable, so you slide the pill inside and pinch both ends to hide it.

Personally, I love dog pill pockets. It's my favorite method since they work 100% of the time in our household.

However, the main drawback is their expensive cost.

Generally, dog pill treats are an excellent solution for pets that only need medication for a short period.

But if your dog will be taking many medications or vitamins, it won't be cost-effective to feed him pill treats multiple times a day.

Here are the best dog pill treats for dogs that I've reviewed and liked in the past:

Play a Game

When dog pill pouches don't work, you can try playing a game with your dog.

I like to call it the “1, 2, 3 Game.

You can trick your dog into quickly eating his medication using three dog treats instead of just one.

Here's how it works:

Let's say you're using deli meat. Grab three pieces, then hide the pill in one piece.

Give your dog a piece without the pill, then the piece with the pill, and finally, the other piece with no pill.

Your dog may be suspicious initially, but he won't find a pill in the first piece.

So, he's likely to gobble up the other two pieces of meat without hesitation.

Empty Gel Caps or Crush Pills

If the game doesn't work, try adding the medicine directly to his dinner.

Homemade or canned dog food is a much better option because its odor and consistency will help mask and hide the pill.

If you feed your dog dry kibble, trickery is your best bet. Crush the pill or empty the capsule and mix it up.

You may still need to use homemade or canned food to entice your pup or add some bone broth.

How to Force Feed Medicine to Dogs

Force Feed the Medicine

If your dog is too clever to be tricked, take this approach as the worst-case scenario and your last resort.

For example, our Boxer Chloe takes more than 5 pills every day.

She has a heart condition that requires prescription medication as treatment.

Our tricks with her don't work anymore, so we had to resort to this method.

If your pup is like my Chloe, you can force the pill down your dog's throat.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to force the medicine pills down your dog's throat quickly and painlessly.

If necessary, you can straddle the dog while he stands, but it seems to increase the dog's anxiety and lead to aggression.

Instead, I prefer to lay my dog on her side and gently open her mouth.

The dog will try to pull away, and his tongue will start moving rapidly. It's a natural reaction; most dogs will respond to your actions this way.

Therefore, you'll need to be quick about this. You don't want your pup to flick the pill out of its mouth.

So place the pill as far back into his throat as you can without making your dog gag.

Quickly close your dog's mouth and then gently rub his chin down his neck. This will elicit a natural swallowing reaction in your pup.

After he swallows a few times, the pill will be gone, and your job will be done (see the real action in my video above).

I always like to give my Chloe a healthy dog treat after I give her a pill as a reward. It gives her something positive to associate with taking medicine.

how to give a dog liquid medicine with a syringe

How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine With A Syringe

If your Fido has been prescribed liquid medications, you'll follow a similar routine.

Instead of forcing a pill, you'll squirt the liquid in your dog's mouth, and his natural reaction will be to swallow it.

Make sure you have all your supplies ready and close before opening your dog's mouth.

Basically, lay your dog on his side (or straddle him while standing).

Next, lift your pet's cheek, and you'll see a pocket that forms between the back teeth and the cheek.

Squirt the medicine directly into that pocket.

As soon as your pupper feels the liquid enter his mouth, his natural reaction will be to swallow.

If you had to choose liquid medications or pills, liquid medication is the best bet.

It's usually slightly easier to give a dog liquid medicine rather than trying to get him to swallow a pill.

FAQs On How To Give A Dog Medicine

Is it OK to crush pills for dogs?

It's totally fine to crush and/or mix certain pills and dog oral medication with dog food.

Make sure, though, that it is a medication that can be crushed.

What dog food can you mix with medicine?

Typically any dog food is fine.

You don't necessarily need to feed them dog food with their medicine.

You can wrap/hide dog pills in a dollop of peanut butter (make sure no xylitol), thin-cut meat, bread, or cheese ball.

What is a pill pusher for a dog?

Also known as a pill gun, this was created to give stubborn animals pills or oral medications.

A pill gun works great because it makes it harder for the animal to reject the pill dispensed farther down their throat.

How To Give A Dog Medicine: Summary

So now we've given you some effective methods to give a dog medicine.

To recap, we went through the following:

  • Mixing pills in with food
  • Using pill pockets
  • Playing a game
  • Using empty capsules
  • How to force-feed medicine
  • How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine With A Syringe

Hopefully, this was helpful, and now you have a toolbelt when the time comes to give your dog medication.

READ NEXT: Syringe Feeding a Dog – Pros vs. Cons (And How to Syringe Feed Your Pet)

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Tips on How To Give A Dog Medicine

Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.