Giving dogs pills can be a tricky task, especially if your dog is still a puppy or if they learned to hate pills at an early age. Luckily there are a few tricks and techniques you can use to make it a bit easier. Whichever way you decide is the best way to give pills to your dog, it is important that you keep the process as stress-free as possible. It will be much harder to give your dog pills in the future if you make it an unpleasant experience for it now. So with that in mind, here are some simple tips on how to give a dog a pill.
How to give a dog a pill
Avoid force feeding
The first and most important bit of advice when it comes to how to give a dog a pill is to try and avoid force feeding them the pill if at all possible. This option really should be a desperate last resort when all else has failed. It is very stressful for the dog and they will associate the stress and fear with taking pills, making it just as difficult to give them their next pill, if not more so.
Use tasty, smelly food to hide the pill
The easiest way to get a dog to swallow a pill is to hide it in their food. When you do this, it is best to use their favorite sort of food so that they are likely to wolf it down without giving too much thought as to what might be in it. It is also best to choose a smelly food if you can, to hide the smell of the pill – remember dogs have a much keener sense of smell than us humans!
Peanut butter sandwich
This is a good way to get your dog to take their pills without even noticing. Spread peanut butter on a slice of bread and fold it in half, with the pill inside it. Then cut the sandwich into three pieces, with the pill in just one of them. Make sure this piece is small enough for your dog to swallow without chewing. Feed the first two pieces that do not have the pill in them to your dog as a treat. In this way, your dog will be looking at the third piece as the same as the first two pieces and will not be suspicious about the pill. Give your dog the third piece and they are likely to gulp it down without even noticing the pill.
Hot dog sausage
Cut a hot dog sausage into three or four pieces. Then use a chop stick, the end of an egg beater, or some other implement to make a hole lengthways through the middle of one of the pieces. Place the pill into the hole making sure it fits snugly and will not fall out. Then feed the sausage pieces to your dog one at a time, saving the one with the pill till last. Again, your dog will be anticipating this last piece so much it will not notice the pill as it swallows the sausage.
Crush or crack open the pill
If the pill is the solid type that can be crushed, then you can crush it with a mortar and pestle. Mix the resulting pill powder with a soft treat that is a favorite of your dogs, for example peanut butter, and use a spoon to feed it to your dog. Let your dog lick the spoon clean to make sure it gets all the pill powder.
If the pill is the type that contains liquid, you can crack it open and pour the liquid onto your dog’s food.
Pill pockets for dogs
Pill pockets are commercial dog treats that have a pouch that you can hide the pill in. One of the most popular makes is Greenies. Be aware that these are quite expensive and so it is cheaper to make your own alternative if you can, for example by using hot dog sausages as described above.
If your dog has been prescribed pills and you are wondering how on earth you are going to get it to take the pills, then try the above tips on how to give a dog a pill. All dogs are different, so it is a case of experimenting with different methods until you find the one that works best for you and your dog.