Some dogs will eat anything and everything - including their medications.
However, most dogs are reluctant to gobble down pills and capsules, especially if they’re large or require chewing and taste odd or smell a little different to them.
Some dogs are wary of anything unusual and will refuse all types of medications but sometimes its medication that they need to survive so it’s so important that they are getting them and not spitting them out once out of sight of you!
Here are a few tricks that can make giving your dog medication easier for you and for them:
l . Whenever possible, purchase chewable medications from your vet. They’re flavoured, so they taste just like treats.
2. Try mixing your dog’s medication into his meal. If he eats his food enthusiastically, he might not even notice the pill is in there. If you feed your dog kibble, add a small amount of canned food or a soft treat, like a cube of cheese, and push the pill inside. Alternatively, you can simply stick your dog’s pill inside a soft treat or wrap it up in a soft cheese food slice and offer it to him.
Nine times out of ten these methods will work.
You can also try using special items on the market, such as beef flavoured hollow treats that you can put a pill inside of and the dog would never know.
If your dog tends to chew treats rather than swallow them whole, make them small. Give him a few unmedicated treats first, one right after the other, and then give him the one with the pill inside – so your dog doesn’t have time to notice that you’ve just sneakily fed him a pill.
Dogs who enjoy catching treats tossed to them will often catch and swallow a pill if you act as though you’re tossing a treat. Grab a handful of small treats and toss them to your dog, one right after the other.
Somewhere in the midst of the treats, toss the pill or toss a soft treat with the pill hidden inside. With any luck, your dog will catch and swallow it before he even notices it was different.
The downside of this method is of course if the dog doesn’t catch the treat and its wasted or another dog gets it so we recommend this method only be used in sole dog households and in an area that the pill can be retrieved if missed.
If All Else Fails...
It’s best to use the tricks above to avoid causing your dog unnecessary stress. However, if those procedures fail, you’ll need to open your dog’s mouth and insert the pill directly. Before you start, get a tasty treat and keep it within reach.
1. Hold the pill in the fingers of one hand. Place that hand on your dog’s lower jaw and the other hand on his upper jaw. Lift his head up toward the ceiling.
2 . Open your dog’s mouth and twist your hand around so you can insert the pill. Place the pill to the side of your dog’s tongue as far back as you can reach, and then quickly withdraw your hand as you close your dog’s jaws. (The action is similar to feeding a baby bird small wads of moistened bread).
3. Continue to hold your dog’s jaws closed with one hand, while keeping his nose pointed up at the ceiling, and gently stroke his throat downward with the other to encourage him to swallow.
4. As soon as you think your dog has swallowed the pill, offer him the tasty treat so that he takes it and swallows again.
Right after giving your dog the pill, keep an eye on him for a minute or two. Some dogs learn to hold the pill in their mouth and then spit it out when you’re not paying attention.
If your dog requires daily medication for a period of time, he might run and hide from you when it’s pill time.
To avoid problems, you can teach your dog in advance that whenever you open his mouth and put something in, it’s almost always a tasty treat. There are also ‘pill givers’ available on the market.
* Next week I will cover giving tablets to a cat!