at some point in your dog’s life they are gonna need to take a pill or two. There are tons of reasons for dogs to take pills; maybe they are sick and need medication, or they are getting a bit older and need supplements. Some dogs will take pills no problem by handing it to them as a treat, or by setting it on their food at mealtime.
However, some dogs won’t take pills as easily or the pill shouldn’t be taken with a meal. That’s where things can get tricky. Over the years many methods of getting dogs to take pills have come up. So here are 5 tested ways to get your dog to take a pill.
1. Hide the Pill in Food
Our first, and probably easiest, method is to simply hide the pill in your pet’s food. Some dogs, even if they only eat kibbles will eat a pill if it’s in the bowl with the food. If that doesn’t work you can always try using a little bit of canned food. If your dog doesn’t normally get canned food this will seem like they are getting the good end of the deal with the fancy food they get.
2. Homemade Pill Dough
If hiding the pill in food isn’t enough you can always try some pill dough! This stuff is super easy to make and hide the pill pretty darn well. The most common recipe to make it is 2:1:1 ratio of flour (rice, oat, potato, etc.), peanut butter, and milk/water. Mix this all together into a dough and tuck the pills inside! The dough should last about a week or so in the fridge, so don’t make too much right off the bat.
A couple of quick things about pill dough; first, make sure that the peanut butter you are using DOES NOT contain xylitol, as this can be deadly to dogs. Second, if your dog doesn’t care for or can’t have peanut butter there are several other recipes to be found on the internet that use freeze dried proteins or broths for a more meaty dough.
3. Empty Pill Capsules
Some pills your dog may have been prescribed, such as Tramadol, can be very bitter tasting. One trick to combat this using empty pill capsules. These will help hide the flavor if you either feed it directly to your pet or tuck in in some food as in method 1. One thing to keep in mind is when these capsules get wet they also get a bit sticky. You may need to check and make sure it was actually swallowed and not stuck in you pet’s mouth.
4. Pill Treats
Another solution is to try one of the various pill treats on the market. These treats are designed to put a pill inside and close up. They also happen to be very aromatic in many of your dog’s favorite smells. This allows the treat to overpower any smell the pill may have and mask it from your dog. Once the pill is securely inside of the treat just toss it to your pup just like any other treat.
5. Crushing the Pill
One more last ditch effort solution you could try is to crush the pill. Now keep in mind, not all pills are able to be crushed. Some are designed to be slow dispersal over a long period of time and if crushed would give too much medication at once. It is recommended that you ask your veterinarian before crushing pills just to make sure.
That being said, there are many “pill crushers” available to purchase, or you could use two spoons. The general idea behind this strategy is to crush the pill and put the powder on a small amount of food. You want to make sure it’s a small enough portion that your pet will eat entirely to get all of the pill.
If you have multiple pets
It is important to make sure if you have multiple pets that the correct pet is receiving the medication. If necessary, you can give a special treat to your other pets as well so they don’t get jealous and feel left out.
How’d it go?
Did Fido take his pill with one of our methods? If he did, why not reward him with a nice healthy treat? Check out our blog post about healthy treats for some good suggestions!
None of our methods worked?
Although all five methods we listed above have been tested and work on a lot of dogs, they won’t necessarily work on all dogs. If that’s the case check out this video from Dr. Douglas Chang from Aloha Animal Hospital on pilling a dog.