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How To Give A Dog A Pill: 5 Tricks From A Veterinarian!

If you’ve ever had a hard time giving your dog a pill then you know that a struggle that it can be!

While my go-to trick has become a heaping glob of peanut butter, I decided to ask a veterinarian what they recommended and was surprised to learn just how many tricks she had up her sleeve!

If you are having trouble giving your dog their medication, try these 5 tricks to help make pill-taking easier. After all – it’s for their own good!

Trick #1 – Add It To Their Dog Food

One of the easiest ways to give your dog a treat is to add this medication to some canned dog’s food.  Because many dogs do not regularly get canned dog food, it can feel like a special treat!

By giving your dog canned food and adding their medication to this food, they will quickly eat the food and take their medication.

Trick #2 – Put It In Human Food

Some dogs are very smart and realize that there is medication in their food. You can offer them a pill tucked into some human food.

Popular food items are cheese or pieces of hot dogs. These are usually something that dogs love and will quickly take their pills in these treats.

You may even be able to crush their tablets and mix them into something that is very tasty. Things dogs love are ice cream or yogurt, scrambled eggs, or bread. 

Figuring out what your dog loves that also hides the pill can sometimes be a challenge.

As always, the key is using food in moderation to avoid increasing their caloric intake or upsetting their stomach.

Trick #3 – Pill Pocket

There are also products that are specifically made to put your dog’s pills in. These are usually called pill pockets or pill paste. 

This is a dog treat that is very soft and can easily be formed into a ball around your dog’s pills. These are usually very flavorfully, and most dogs will eat them very quickly!

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Trick #4 – Three Treat Technique

If your dog is very smart and knows when there is a pill in their treats, I have developed a trick I call the “Three Treat Technique. 

To do this, get three treats that can be easily used to wrap around your dog’s pill. I frequently use pill pockets or pill paste as this can be molded to cover the pill. 

Make sure that the treats are all about the same size. Put the treat in one of these treats and give the treats to your dog in this order:

  1. Treat without any pills
  2. Immediately give your dog the treat with the pills
  3. Immediately give the 3rd treat without the pill

Many dogs will take the first treat and realize that you are just giving them a treat. 

When you hand them the second, they will be less worried about a pill, and since you immediately follow up with the 3rd treat as quickly as possible, your dog will swallow the 2nd to get to the 3rd treat. 

This tip does work better if you also have another dog around wanting a treat

Trick #5 – Poke the Pill Down

When everything else does not work, you may just have to poke the pill down if you will open your dog’s mouth and put a pill as far back into their mouth as possible after this, hold their mouth shut and rub their nose or blow on their face. 

This will cause them to want to lick their nose, thus causing them to swallow their pill. Even with this method, it may take a few tries at first for you and your dog to get this method down without a fight.

Some dogs are very good and spitting their pills out!

Other Tips To Make Pill-Taking A Breeze

These are a few different things that you can do to make things easier for you to give your medications.

  • Ask your vet for liquid medications: If you have a small dog, there may be a liquid medication that you can give to your dog instead of a pill.  Many larger dogs will need a large amount of liquid which makes it even more of a hassle.

  • Ask about injectable medications: There are some medications that can be given as an injection so that your dog does not have to take a pill every day.

  • See if a neighbor can come help: Sometimes, it takes more than one person to get your dog to take their medication.  Ask your friend or neighbor if they can come help.  Some dogs even do better when someone else gives them their medication.

  • Bring your dog to your vet:  You will not be the first person who has to take their dog to the vet twice a day for them to give your dog medications.  Ask your vet if they can give your dog these medications if you bring them every day.  They may even have a technician that would be willing to drop by your house to help, especially if you live very close to the clinic.

If you are having trouble getting your dog to take their medication, talk with your vet about your struggles. They are great at giving you tricks and tips. 

They have seen many of the same issues that you have been having and know all the secrets on what to do to get your dog to take their medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it OK to crush pills for dogs? Many times, it is okay to crush pills.  If your dog’s pill has a coating on the pill, then you should not crush these pills. This coating allows the pill to be slowly released to your dog.  This can cause your dog to receive too high of a dosage at first, and then the medication not stay in your dog’s system long enough to be effective.

  2. Can I dissolve my dog’s pill in water? Just like with crushing a pill, you can mix it with water to help make it easier to give to your dog.  There are some pills that should not be mixed with water as it causes the pills not to work effectively.  If you are going to mix your dog’s medication with water, it would be best to ask your vet if it is okay to mix the medication with water.

  3. How to give medicine to a dog that bites? If your dog is in pain or hurt, they may bite when your try to give them medications.  Some dogs hate taking medication and may also put up a fight.  For these dogs, it may be best to mix this medication with food to help sneak them their medication.  If your dog still does not take their medication, you can also try using a dog piller.

  4. How to give liquid medicine to a dog? Many times, people find that liquid medication is easier.  If the medication tastes horrible, then your dog may put up a fight.  Most liquid medications have been flavored to taste very good.  If your dog is taking liquid medication, give them a small amount every few minutes and allow your dog to swallow this medication.  Liquid medication can easily be added to the top of your dog’s food or mixed in with something that is very tasty to help entice your dog to want to take this medication

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling with your dog getting them to take a pill, follow these few tips, and in no time, you will be able to quickly get your dog to take their medication. 

Before crushing your dog’s medication or mixing it with water, talk to your vet as there are certain medications that should not be broken or crushed.  Your vet can also help show you the easiest way to get your dog to take a pill.

They have a lot of experience giving even the hardest dog medications every day!

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2 thoughts on “How To Give A Dog A Pill: 5 Tricks From A Veterinarian!”

  1. Couldn’t see an edit option so this is a follow on from previous comment…

    Regarding putting the pill in there day to food I advise anyone to be aware that because you can’t crush pills unless it says you can or the vet says can, 9/10 there will be the pill left on its ones still in bowl with everything else eaten around it but the risk you take by putting meds in their food is that sensitive eating dogs are known to stop eating their food knowing or thinking there is something in it! You can also unintentionally turn a dog in to a picky eater, so please be aware of this and no your dog and what there currently like with food!

  2. My frenchton is so smart, she knows what I got, and knows there is a pil inside. She won’t come near me. I wrap it in so many things and if she crunch it she spits it out. Then won’t come near me.


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