If you’ve recently taken your dog to the vet and were given medication to treat an illness or ailment, chances are good that the medication came in the form of a pill. But suppose your dog hates being given a pill because of the taste or for other reasons. If you have an intransigent and uncooperative dog, here are some clues on how to give your dog a pill.
Probably the easiest way to give your dog a pill is to hide it in a piece of its food. If that doesn’t work (and many a dog is smart enough to eat the food and spit out the pill) try putting the pill in a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese. This usually provides a good incentive for your dog to take the medication without being aware of it. If you decide to put the pill in the dog’s food, feed a small amount of the food separately before inserting the pill.
One mistake some people make is to crush the pill and mix it into the dog’s regular food. The problem with this approach is if the dog doesn’t eat the whole meal, it won’t be getting the benefit of the correct dosage of medication it needs.
If your dog refuses to take the pill in its food or the medication cannot be administered with food, you’ll need to try a different tack to get your pet to take its medicine.
One way is to hold the pill between your thumb and index finger. Holding your dog’s muzzle with the other hand, gently grasp the dog’s muzzle from above, placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other side.
Squeeze behind the dog’s upper canine teeth and tilt its head back over the shoulders so it’s looking at the ceiling. This will cause the lower jaw to automatically drop a bit.
Place a finger between the lower canine teeth (the long front teeth) and push down to lower the dog’s bottom jaw.
Quickly put the pill as far back in your dog’s mouth as possible, getting it over the ‘hump’ of the tongue. Be careful not to put your hand in too far or your dog may gag.
Close your dog’s mouth. While holding the mouth closed, lower the head to a normal position to make it easier for your dog to swallow the pill. If your dog will not swallow the pill after this action try rubbing or blowing on your dog’s nose to help stimulate it to swallow the pill.
When your dog finally swallows the pill, praise it and offer a treat. This will make it easier the next time you need to administer a pill.
If this seems too difficult or confusing to you, ask one of the veterinarian staff to demonstrate this method for you. Then when you’re at home and need to give your dog a pill you’ll know exactly what to do.