How to Pill

Learn the safe and easy way to pill your pet … 

Natasja makes it look easy!    

Sooner or later you will probably need to get your pet to swallow medication in pill form. Luckily, most of the meds these days have a taste your dog or cat actually likes. In other cases you can hide the pills in some food. We highly recommend pill-pockets because these treats are specially made for pets. You can also try using a small piece of hotdog, peanut butter or cheese to hide the pill in.    

CAUTION!! Never give a dog with pancreatitis, ANY fatty foods (not even a pill pocket). Even a small piece of fatty food could aggravate the condition and cause vomiting and severe abdominal pain. ALWAYS read the prescription or information label carefully.     

I’ll never forget this lady who came into the clinic with her dog who had an ear infection. We sent them home with antibiotics. A week later, the lady came back — upset — because the medication obviously wasn’t working. It turned out that the lady was putting the medication in the dog’s ear, even though the instructions clearly stated to give the medicine by mouth. I’ve heard stories of this happening to children as well!!    

In addition to Natasja’s great “how to” demonstration, you might also want to consider the following tips:    

Tip 1: Try not to call your pet to you in order to give her medicine. You don’t want her to associate being called with being dosed! Always seek her out yourself.    

Tip 2: A second person to help may come in handy if your pet is especially large or difficult to control.    

Tip 3: Stay nearby until you know the pill has been swallowed. You will be able to see the swallow reflex by looking at your pet’s throat. Especially dogs are adept at concealing their meds and spitting them out later. Also, try to get the pill as far back as possible (without getting bit).    

Tip 4: If you’re having difficulty, check with your vet to see if it’s safe to give your pet a pill concealed in food and ask which kind of food he recommends (for example: cheese, cream cheese or peanut butter). “Pill Pockets” can also be used to conceal tablets and capsules and are available for dogs as well as cats (see the link below). Some foods interact badly with certain medications. Let your pet lick your fingers after you feed her the pill—that will ensure she swallows. Don’t hesitate to ask your vet or a technician to show you how to give your pet a pill. We sometimes need to wrap a towel around the cats who have front claws or use a loose muzzle on the dogs who are particularly prone to biting.    

Tip 5: If your pet still doesn’t fall for the pill-in-the-food trick, crush the pill, mix it with a little sugar water. We discourage the use of syringes to squirt liquid into a dog’s mouth. Time and time again, animals end up with aspirate pneumonia from the fluid going down into the lungs. If this happens, you will have a much larger problem to deal with!!    

Tip 6: Try a pet piller (available via the link below) to easily drop the pill in the back of your pet’s mouth without getting bit.    

Tip 7: When the pill is all gone, praise your pet, and offer her some water and an appropriate treat to take away the taste and trauma!    

Tip 8: Sign up to receive our newsletter with more useful “how to” tips and pet care recommendations. To start with, we’d like to offer you a free copy of our “How to medicate your Pet Guide” with the hope that you’ll also share this with your family and friends. No cost. No spam. Sign up here:    

Click on the following images to order some of the products that we use and recommend, if you need them:

Click above for Pill Pockets

Click above for the Pill Case

Click above for the handy Pet Piller

Click above for the Pill Crusher

One thought on “How to Pill”

Comments are closed.

In-depth pet health care information