Struggling to get your dog to take medicine? Here are hacks for every pet parent whose dog won’t take a pill!
For almost as long as we’ve had Judy, she’s been on allergy medication. It never gets cold enough Hawaii for allergens to die off, so one of the roadblocks we’ve come to accept is a specialized diet and medicine.
6 Hacks To Get Dogs To Take Medicine
Now that Judy is a little bit older (how did that happen?!), she’s gotten a bit picky about taking pills. She was never this way before, but after getting her medicine every morning for seven years, she’s on to our tricks.
She will launch a pill across the room like a cannon and it can be really frustrating. If you are a pet parent experiencing the same issue, here are some hacks for dogs who won’t take pills:
What To Try If Your Dog Won’t Take Pills
Hide It In A Treat
Our first attempt to get Judy to take her medicine was just hiding it in a treat, or putting it in her slow eater when she got her breakfast. How hard could it be? we naively thought. HA! Judy ate around the pill every single time, but we know plenty of dogs who don’t and are super cooperative. The trick is not making a big deal about it and throwing it in (or so I’ve been told). No amount of “not making a big deal” could convince Judy to just eat it.
Chicken, beef, and miniature sausage or hot dog pieces, with the pill firmly pressed inside, was the first recommendation we got from our veterinarian after failing miserably with the treats. Unfortunately, Judy can’t have chicken and she would eat the meat pieces and spit the pill out.
Peanut butter is a go-to for so many dog parents, us included. But first things first – you need to make sure that the peanut butter you are using is safe for pets. Xylitol is an extremely dangerous sugar-replacement found in peanut butter, so be sure you are reading labels thoroughly!
To be honest, peanut butter tricked Judy into taking her pill nicely for many years. She licked it right off the spoon with a smile on her face!
Recently, Judy had surgery on her eye which required her to take an additional daily pill in conjunction with eye drops. It was a whole…thing. She was already spitting out her peanut butter covered allergy pill, so we knew there was no way she was going to take her pain pill and antibiotic.
While cream cheese should never be given to dogs in large amounts (it’s rich and high in calories), we tested out low-fat, plain cream cheese after getting the OK from out vet. It was just enough of a treat – and something she had never experienced – to get us through the post-surgery pill influx. For the short term, this would be great!
People RAVE about pill pockets and to be honest, they work great for our other Labrador, Bill. But Judy turns her nose up at them. We have no idea why, but it’s worth testing them out with your dog!
This is my least favorite, but frankly, it’s the only surefire way to make sure your picky dog takes their pills. Our vet shared that sometimes the only way to get a dog to take their medicine is by placing it as far back as you can in their mouth, closing their jaw, and gently massaging their throat. For us, this can be a two person job, and I always feel a little bit badly while doing it, but I know it’s for her greater good.
Tips For Success
A couple things we have learned in trying to
wrangle Judy for pills get Judy to nicely take her medicine, is:
She cannot see us go to the basket where her medicine gets kept. Otherwise, it’s game over. To combat this, we prep the pill while she’s eating her breakfast on the other side of the kitchen and we are out of her line of vision.
You have to wash your hands after touching the medicine or she will smell it on you like a shark and just go hide.
I know all of this probably sounds like crazy talk for anyone who doesn’t own a pet, or have a particular dog. The theatrics in getting Judy to take her medicine are all worth it knowing our sweet pup is healthy, but sometimes I need the reminder when it’s 6AM and I’m trying to gently massage her throat 😉
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