How to Give Your Dog a Pill

No pills, please!

Sooner or later, your dog is likely to need some sort of medication during their lifetime. Whether it’s antibiotics for an infection, an oral flea and tick medication, or a simple vitamin, the art of giving your dog a pill is a skill that every dog owner should master.  Green Dog Dental has some tips to get you through this!

What is it with Dogs and Pills?

Some dogs will take a pill without a fuss (many dogs, especially greedy ones, won’t even look at what’s in your hand before they scarf it down). Other dogs won’t notice a pill added to their food, so you can simply slip it into their kibble.

But for many dogs who simply won’t accept a pill, it comes down to two basic methods: disguise and trickery.

Hide It In Something Tasty

Many dog owners find that simply hiding the pill in something really tasty is an effective way to give their dog medication. Peanut butter, a small piece of cheese, and a little bit of rolled up turkey are all great options (provided your dog doesn’t have any dietary restrictions).

Simply hide the pill in a little bit of peanut butter, roll it up inside the turkey, or shove it inside a small piece of cheese, and offer your dog the food as a “treat”. With any luck, your dog won’t notice the pill and will accept the treat willingly.

Sneaky Dogs Require More Thought

Some sneaky dogs can identify a pill from a mile away, though, and will masterfully eat the treat and spit out the pill. In these cases, a little more effort is required.

A great way to trick your dog into taking their pill is the “one, two, three game”.  For this game, you need three pieces of the bait (once again, chicken, turkey, or cheese work great). Two of the three pieces will be just the food, while the third piece will have the pill hidden inside.  First, offer your dog the untainted food. He’ll begin to trust you, and with any luck he’ll take the third piece with the pill without suspecting that anything is amiss.

Force Pilling

If your dog still doesn’t fall for it, you may need to resort to more drastic measures: force pilling. This is unpleasant for both you and your dog, so should really only be utilized as a last resort.  You should ask your vet about the most appropriate way to give your dog a pill by force, and they can also train you in the safest technique.

And, as always, don't forget to clean their teeth regularly.  For more tips on taking care of your pet visit the Green Dog Gazette and learn about the different between tartar and plaque.