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How to Give Your Dog Pills - Quick and Easy

How to Give Your Dog a Pill or Medicine: Quick and Easy


Does your dog hate taking medication? Will he take off running at the mere sound of pills clinking in the bottle?

Some owners get lucky with a canine who will swallow medication with little hesitation. But others…they are plagued with a picky pup who’s able to sniff out the presence of a pill in even the thickest peanut butter coating. For those types of dogs, only the most thoughtful pill delivery methods will succeed. In order to successfully give your dog a pill and save your sanity, follow this all-inclusive guide below.

How to Give a Dog Pills?

The process of medicating your dog is always the same, regardless of how you ultimately need to administer your dog’s pills or medication. Try to pick a time when your dog is relatively relaxed and unexcited before starting this step-by-step guide. Added stress will only cause your dog to panic and make it harder to give your dog his pills.

Get Her Attention

Use a calm, gentle tone to call your dog over. Try to eliminate any distractions as this could cause her to snub the medication in favor of watching her surroundings. Once she is focusing on you, move to the next step.

Offer a Treat

Tuck the pill in your pup’s favorite treat. If it’s something he usually enjoys, then he should take the medication quite easily. But if he suspects something, be patient and continue encouraging him in a gentle tone.

Let Her Explore

If your dog hesitates, allow her to sniff the offered treat. This will allow her to trust you and the offering. Sometimes simply being patient will overcome any lingering reluctance your canine may have.

Give Him Love / Treats

After you watch him swallow the pill, give him another treat that he will enjoy. This will solidify the trust he has for you, which will make giving him a pill easier next time.

Giving dog a treat

Best Foods To Hide Dog Pills In

While the list of foods you can deceive your dog with is truly endless, there are some tried-and-true favorites that pet owners find themselves reaching for again and again.

Easy Fixes

These are the foods that dogs love, and their owners love to hide medication in. If your canine has never taken a pill before or is simply a laid-back kind of guy, consider hiding the medication in these foods first: cheese, marshmallows, peanut butter, and wet dog food.

Moderate Effort

If the most obvious treat choices don’t work, consider tucking the medication for your pup in a treat he doesn’t get to eat very often. The newness may cause him to scarf it down without inspecting the food for any hidden pills. Tucking the medication into items such as hot dogs, a small chunk butter, or a piece of bread should do the trick for the moderately picky pup.

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Special Orders

For a particularly peculiar pooch, you may have to go out of your way to ensure he takes his medication. This may call for some pots and pans, but your dog will certainly thank you for your dedication. Cook him up some meatballs, liver pate, or even just roll the pill up in some leftovers like chicken or lasagna. These meaty treats will certainly pique your dog’s interest enough for him to give them a taste.

However, some dogs can sniff out even the smallest pills tucked inside a juicy morsel. For those pups, you may have to increase your efforts and follow the tips and tricks included below.

How to Give a Dog a Pill When He Won’t Eat?

Some dogs simply will not take a pill regardless of the meaty temptations wrapped around the outside. It may be the smell and taste of the medication, or the fact that your otherwise perfect dog is just plain stubborn. Instead of standing there with your arm out all day, there are some things you can do to speed along the process.

First, you should stop waving the food-coated pill in front of his tightly closed mouth and wait 30 minutes before trying again. The time lapse should “reset” his brain, allowing him to effectively forget how suspicious he was of the delicious treat the first time around.

If that doesn’t do the trick, then try covering the medication in coconut oil. This should resolve the issue if your dog simply doesn’t like the bitter taste of the pill itself. Some owners will even dip the pill in coconut oil first and then wrap it up in a treat listed above before offering it to their dog. This double-flavor whammy should eliminate any picky taste buds your little guy may have.

But if waiting and double-flavor wrapping the pill still doesn’t work…it may be time for a little extra help.

Dog Pill Gun

A dog pill gun (also known as a pill popper) is a vet-approved plastic apparatus that works as a syringe for solid medication. It’s fast, simple, and effective for the majority of pets who refuse to eat and/or require multiple medications per day.

Although using a pill gun to medicate your dog may sound extreme or traumatizing, it doesn’t have to be that way. Using a calm, gentle tone when talking to your dog is the key to keeping his anxiety away. When you are confident and calm, he is confident and calm.

Then, simply take the pill gun and place it inside your puppy’s mouth. The tip should be placed right at the entrance to your dog’s throat. Pet him gently as you release the medication into his throat. When you pull out the pill gun, check that the pill has been released and that your dog has swallowed thoroughly.

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For a visual on the process,  check out the video below.

How to Give Liquid Medication?

If your dog has been prescribed liquid medication, there are still some tips you can use to make the process easier. Most often, these types of medications are given by syringe. In order to avoid your dog inhaling the liquid, do not tilt back her head. Instead, simply slide the syringe between her teeth and cheek as closely to the back of her mouth as possible. Release the medication and hold her mouth closed as you remove the syringe. You may even stroke her throat or blow cool air on her nose while you are doing this to encourage swallowing.

The liquid medication can also be mixed into wet dog food if desired. Simply combine the liquid medication with half the amount of wet food your dog usually eats. This will ensure that she eats it all at once instead of getting full too quickly and leaving an immeasurable amount of medication behind in her bowl.


Although giving medication may seem like a stressful situation, it doesn’t have to be that way. Regardless of whether you roll the pill in a treat or stick it in a dog pill gun, using a calm and confident voice will help ease your dog’s anxieties. And a calm dog is much easier to medicate than an anxious one.

You should also always end the session with a treat for your canine. It can be a small lump of cheese, his favorite snack, or extra time outside. Not only will the treat make up for taking medication, but it will also build essential trust between you and your dog. This extra trust and understanding allows for easier medication administration in the future.

Lingering questions? Comment below.

How to Give Your Dog a Pill or Medicine: Quick and Easy was last modified: November 28th, 2018 by Lilly Jones
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1 Comment

  1. Stefanie jafay on October 8, 2018 at 4:57 am

    The only thing that has worked for my picky dog is vanilla ice cream but am unsure that it is a good idea? Nothing else has worked! Giving her 4 different herbs, mushrooms and Chinese med for her hemangiosarcoma. Is ice cream that bad, its organic??

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