How to Give a Dog a Pill: Ways to Make the Medicine Go Down

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how to give a dog a pill vet giving dog pain medicine

How to give a dog a pill, a common dilemma in any doggy’s home. We’ve all had that sneaky pup who seems to have swallowed the pill, only to disgorge it in secret when you turn away. We’re left with a soggy mess of meds and a suspicious doggy. But there are options, dog-lovers!

From fun games to a more forceful approach: read on to find out how to give a dog a pill! 

Knowing How to Get Dogs to Take Their Medicine is a Must for Every Pet Parent! 

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. This rings very true when dealing with animals since each pet brings its own set of idiosyncrasies.

Pet Parents who acknowledge this will have an easier time coping. The best avenue is to try suggestions that have worked for others, and see which one your pup falls for.

What You Should Do First Before Giving Fido a Treat with Dog Pain Medicine 

The obvious answer is to always check with your vet before administering pain medication to your dog. As important, however, is to ascertain that your pooch is in fact in pain and that pain treatment is what is required. It could very well be a life and death act.

You may have missed the mention of ‘Dog’ in the Dog Pain Medication heading. Do not administer human medication for a dog in pain unless specifically indicated by your vet.

Over the counter medicine as harmless as an aspirin could cause serious damage if given in the wrong dosage or to a dog with any pre-existing medical conditions. Always double check the label on meds and check with your vet whether it’s advisable to use on Fido.

sick jack russell sniffing at pill capsules and dog medications

Looking for Alternatives to Pills for Certain Doggy Ailments? Try CBD Oil! 

Mother Nature knows best when it comes to pain relief. When it comes to Mother Nature, Honest Paws is there for pet parents and pups. Honest Paws offers many options for more than just pain relief.

CBD oil is extracted from cannabidiol, but you don’t need to worry that it will make your dog high! The chemical compound doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the ingredient that gives the buzz.

CBD oil is very calming, fights inflammation, relieves pain and slows the progression of arthritis in pets. Research into side effects of CBD oil on cats and dogs shows only rare cases of lethargy.

CBD Oil Comes in Many Delicious Varieties! 

Any concerns that your pet might not take to the taste of CBD oil can be dispelled at the outset. CBD Oil drops are available in three Purity levels. Purity Level 1 is best suited for pets under 25 lbs, Purity Level 2 for pets weighing in at between 25 and 50 lbs and Purity Level 3 suits pets over 50 lbs.

Honest Paws spoils you for choice when it comes to CBD treats for your pet ailments and contain only the best, all-natural ingredients:

  • Joint Support CBD Soft Chews come in delectable poultry flavor.
  • Tasty Turmeric Flavored CBD Dog Treats are perfect for dogs living with pain and discomfort. Made with 100% pure CBD Oil & Fresh Turmeric.
  • CBD-Infused Coconut Oil is an effective treatment for inflammation, allergies, aging brain function, poor immune systems, unhealthy skin/coat, and parasites in doggies.
  • Creamy CBD-Infused Peanut Butter offers a tasty, creamy source of protein, fiber, potassium, heart-healthy fats, and antioxidants for your pets.

Choose the Flavored Pain Pills for Dogs if You Can 

If you can give Fido the option of a tasty pain relief, why not! A doggy who wants to eat the pill will be happier, more trusting and have a much more content pet owner.

Honest Paws offer an array of tasty oils, creams and chewy treats to alleviate puppy pains. Many commonly used puppy pain pills are available in flavored form, readily accepted as treats by gullible pets.

These include some prescribed for arthritis, oral flea preventives and behavioral modifiers and treatments for separation anxiety.

Hide the Dog Medicine in Something That Smells Glorious and Tasty! 

When you have to trick your pet into swallowing that medicine, it’s okay to be sneaky to be kind. You can make your own tasty concealer using whatever your pup loves the most.

Whatever you use, we suggest the tastier and stronger the flavor, the better, since this will best mask the smell and taste of the hidden meds. It is important that the treat is small enough for the dog to swallow without chewing first!

Biting into the decoy treat will only serve to expose the medicine, and no trusted pet parent wants to be exposed as a trickster.

Dog Pill Pockets: Perhaps the Greatest Invention of Time!

Who says deception need not be delicious? Dog pill pockets are the delicious deceivers into which you sneak the yucky pills to get Fido to take his meds without force. How to give a dog a pill has never been easier than with pill pockets!

They mask the smell and taste of the meds and you can make them with whatever you have in the kitchen. You can also buy them ready to use in irresistible flavors. This is definitely a stress- and mess-free option to medicating your dog!

GREENIES Pill Pockets! 

Simply drop a capsule into the Greenies pill pocket, pinch the top half closed, give it to your pup, and watch them swallow the medicine. Why wouldn’t they? With real peanut butter, hickory smoke and duck and pea flavors, they’re delicious.

No mess. No fuss. And, well… little to no deception. But Fido will be none the wiser and you get to keep his trust.

Earth Balance Pill Buddy! 

Earth Balance Pills are Bacon flavored, putty-consistency treats can be molded to hide any shape pill or liquid medication. It just looks good enough to eat, too.

Vetoquinol Pill Wrap Treats! 

Vetoquinol Pill Wrap is made with natural ingredients and is pliable, to hide any size or shape pill, while masking the smell and taste of the medicine. How to give a dog a pill with this wrap is very easy. Pinch whatever size of the Pill Wrap is required and completely cover the pill before offering it to your pet as you would a normal treat.

sick golden retriever with fever needing dog antibiotics

Make Things Fun with the Catch-a-Treat Game!

Very few dogs will forego the chance to play catch. Use this to your benefit by adding meds into a swallow-size treat. Throw a meds-free treat or two for the unsuspecting pup before throwing the loaded treat once he has trustingly devoured the decoys.

Timing is Everything: Wait Until Your Dog is Distracted 

What works for toddlers throwing a tantrum works equally well on doggies when it comes to being tricked into taking their pills. A lot of how to give a dog a pill depends on WHEN to give a dog a pill.

A renowned veterinary behaviorist suggests waiting for leash-walk time to give meds. Doggy will then be happily preoccupied with the sights and scents of the outdoors and suitably distracted for the event.

How to Give a Dog a Pill When All Else Fails 

Sometimes pets are quite simply smarter and you cannot fool them with your deceptive ways. Unfortunately, you just have to get these smart types to take their meds without deception.

Act normal. Showing that you’re up to something will only alert your pup to your supposed nefarious intent. Approach your canine patient calmly, talking soothingly and try to serve the medication in a relaxed manner. Small dogs might be placed on a heightened platform.

How to Get a Cat to Take a Pill? The Same Rules Apply for Our Feline Friends! 

You may not get away with feline fury as easily as canine, but there are ways around medicating your cat. What works on your pooch may also work on your cat. Trial and error is the way to go!

You Can Even Buy Pill Pockets Designed for Cats! 

Feline Greenies Pill Pockets Cat Treats are available in chicken flavor and are a claw-free alternative to getting kitty to take medicine, tablets or capsules.

Not even the smartest kitty will know the treat is hiding a nasty pill since it masks the smell and taste of what’s sneaked inside.

Pill Stuck in Throat? What to Do When Your Dog is Choking on a Pill 

vet giving dog medicine by force

Check whether you can see the obstruction in the dog’s airway, by looking beyond the tongue. If you can see the pill, carefully remove it so as not to cause injury. If you can’t do so, try dislodging it using the canine Heimlich maneuver.

For small dogs, carefully place the dog on their back and apply pressure to the abdomen just below the rib cage. Keep thrusting until the pill is dislodged.

For a large dog which is standing, put your arms around the belly, joining your hands. Make a fist and push firmly up and forward, just behind the rib cage. Place the dog on hits side afterward.

If the dog is lying on its side already, place a hand on the back for support and use the other hand to squeeze the abdomen upwards and forwards towards the spine. In both small and large dogs, check the dog’s mouth and remove the dislodged pill, taking all due precautions.

Every pet owner will be a little uncertain about how to give a dog a pill at some point. Luckily, there are so many ways of getting our dogs to take their meds and get better!

Common Questions on How to Give a Dog a Pill

What’s the alternative for a poodle who won’t swallow a monthly flea preventative, no matter how I disguise it?

Are there pill pockets for cats? 

Is it safe to use CBD oil for pain treatment on an elderly dog?

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