Cropped View Of Man Giving Vitamins To Golden Retriever At Home

How To Give Dogs Pills

Dogs are no better than kids when it comes to taking their medicine.

Your dog won’t take pills? Here are some tips to make giving your dog pills a bit easier.


At some point in your dog’s life—at the very least, after their spay/neuter surgery—your pet will need to take some kind of pill. Most dog owners know the struggle of giving your dog pills and although it’s not as easy as liquid medications, it doesn’t have to ruin your day either. Whether you notice the pill is all that’s left in the food bowl or you’ve continuously watched your dog spit the pill right back out, some dogs just don’t take oral medication well.

We know how much pet parents love their dogs and want to keep them in good health without making them miserable. If your dog won’t take pills, don’t worry. We’re about to show you how to give your dogs pills so that they can get the medicine they need and everyone can feel a lot less stress.


How To Give Dogs Pills

Before you use force, try to give your dog pills using one of these gentler methods.


Hide It In a Treat

Some medicine you shouldn’t take on an empty stomach. If your dog has a healthy appetite, hiding a pill in their food will often do the trick. Just be aware this trick doesn’t always work because dogs have a very keen sense of smell.

Insert the pill into a small amount of peanut butter and let your dog lick it up. Other food treats that work are cheese, hot dogs, deli meat, and baby food. However, always be mindful of any food allergies your dog may have.

Peanut Butter In Wooden Spoon And Peanuts

Give your dog the treat without the medication once or twice to ensure it won’t make them sick and so that they’ll be excited for it once you’ve snuck the medicine inside.

Also, check that whatever food you decide to use won’t interfere with the medication and create unwanted side effects. Dairy, for example, can bind to antibiotics, meaning they can no longer be absorbed appropriately.


Pill Pockets

Pill pockets are designed specifically to be appetizing to dogs and to make it easier for you to give them their medicated treat. They are dog treats in various flavors with a pouch for you to push the pill into. That way, your dog merely thinks they’re getting a treat, and they’re small enough that you don’t have to worry about your dog spitting out half of it.

If sneaking the pill into food is your go-to option, pill pockets are a great choice. Because pill pockets are made for this exact purpose, you can worry less about the added fat content, artificial sugars, and more.

You can also whip up a batch of your own homemade treats and stick the pills inside.

pills next to dish of dog food


Mix It With Their Food

If your dog eats well and isn’t too picky, hiding a pill in their food bowl will usually get the job done, especially if their food is rich in flavor. Simply bury the capsule under their regular serving of food. Just check to see that the pill wasn’t left behind when your dog has finished.

If you’re worried your dog will see the pill and avoid eating it, grind the medicine into a fine powder. Pills that come in a capsule are usually easy to open. You can more discreetly mix the medication in with your dog’s food.

Again, the richer flavor of the food, the more likely your dog will not notice the added medication.


Distract Your Dog

If you’re playing with your dog or getting ready to take them for a walk, they likely won’t be too focused on what you’re feeding them.

Folding a pill in a treat or tossing it to them before heading out for an adventure can do the trick if your dog is excited enough not to be bothered. If they think they are getting a special treat, but instead are swallowing a pill, everyone wins.


Pill Poppers

If your dog is a picky eater or has nausea issues, hiding medication in their food likely won’t work. Luckily there are some devices to make giving your dog a pill an easier task.

Pill poppers or dispensers are a quick and easy way to force the medicine to the back of your dog’s mouth to prevent them from spitting it out. This is easier than having to open your dog’s mouth with one hand and reach into their mouth with your other hand. You don’t have to worry so much about an accidental bite with a pill dispenser.

Owner Giving Medication To His Dog Undergoing Thyroid Treatment


Your Dog Still Won’t Take Pills?

This is never anyone’s favorite thing, but some dogs are just averse to taking pills, so it’s vital to ensure they safely get their medication.

  1. Ensure your dog is comfortable and in an area where it can easily be handled.
  2. Lubricate the pill with water or wet dog food, so it’s easier to swallow.
  3. Grab your dog’s muzzle (or upper jaw), gently open its mouth, and tilt the head backward.
  4. Place the pill back as far as you can on your dog’s tongue.
  5. Close your dog’s mouth and hold it closed while you lower it and gently rub your dog’s nose and throat. When your dog licks his nose, it’s a good sign that the pill has been swallowed.

It’s important to offer extra praise and affection to your dog after this to make future pill experiences smoother and more positive. You want to think about the long term and keep this a positive experience for your dog.

If this method sounds difficult, ask your veterinarian for a demonstration before trying it yourself.


Ask Your Vet for Help

Whether your dog is recovering from an illness or is showing signs of having an allergic reaction, there will come a time when you have to give your dog medication.. Your vet knows better than anyone how difficult giving pills to dogs can be, so we are a great resource. We may be able to prescribe a more palate-friendly option or even turn the pills into liquid or chewable options.

At Westmonte Animal Clinic, we love your pets as much as you do and want what’s best for them. If you’re having trouble with your dog’s and cat’s medication or post-surgical recovery, give us a call today. Or schedule a pet wellness exam and we’ll help you get the job done.