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  • Writer's picturemichael raff

How To Give Your Dog A Pill

How to Give Pills to Dogs (the written version for those that prefer)

At some point in their lives, most dogs will need medication of some sort whether it is

antibiotics to help heal an infection or more long term medications due to a chronic condition

or aging. Here are a few tips to make sure you are maximizing the benefit and minimizing the

stress of your dog’s medications.

1. Check the medication label and ask your vet if the pills should be given with food or

separate from meals. This will affect how you choose to deliver the medication.

2. Set a daily reminder alarm on your phone to help you remember to give doses at a consistent time each day.

3. Use a weekly pill organizer like the one pictured here to help keep track of whether your dog has received their daily dose of medications. This is especially useful if there are multiple family members in the house who may be assisting with giving medications. It is a quick and easy way to see if a dog has received their daily dose of medications.

If your dog does not happily and easily take their pills, try the following suggestions:

  • Deliver the pill in a tasty and sticky disguise like peanut butter or cream cheese or a soft pill pocket. If your dog still manages to spit the pill back out or refuses to eat the pill in their meal you may need to hand-deliver the pill into their mouth and ensure that they swallow it....easier said than done.

  • Here are some helpful hints for hand-delivering a pill to your dog:

    1. Stand behind your dog with their body securely between your legs, or if your dog is smaller, have them sit in your lap with their head facing AWAY from you. If you approach your dog head on to try to put a pill in their mouth, they are likely to turn or move away from you to express that they are not interested in taking medication. You don’t want to end up chasing your dog around and stressing both you and them out just to give them a pill. Securing them from behind creates less visual stress and prevents them from moving away.

    2. Gently open the dog’s mouth with one hand by placing the thumb on one side of the muzzle and fingers on the other side at the corner of the mouth. Gently press on both sides to ask the dog to open their jaws a bit.

    3. With the other hand, place the pill as far back in the dog’s throat as you can. If you place it too far forward the dog will quickly use their tongue to push the pill out of their mouth. You want to place the pill behind the tongue at the back of the throat.

    4. Quickly and gently close the dog’s mouth and hold it closed with one hand wrapped around the muzzle while the other hand strokes gently on their throat to encourage swallowing. Once you feel the dog actively swallow you can release the dog and offer them a tasty treat as a reward and a way to be doubly sure they actually swallowed their pill.

  • If you tried following these steps and are struggling to deliver the pill far enough back in your dog’s throat, consider purchasing a veterinary piller like the one pictured here:

A piller can assist with gently opening the dog’s mouth and delivering

the pill far enough back in their throat without having to put your hands around the dog’s muzzle. In addition, you can use a piller to draw up some water and gently deliver it into the dog’s cheek pouch to help encourage swallowing immediately after giving the pill.

And remember, always give your dog praise and a yummy reward after giving a pill. You want to make the process as stress free as possible for both of you.

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