Knowing how to give a dog a pill is probably one of the sneakiest tasks of being a parent. Like giving kids their medicine, you have to be creative and hideous when doing so with your dog. You can add it to the dog food or inside a chewy treat. However, if the pooch spits out the pill, you may need to give it manually. Below, I discussed some methods and how to do it to ensure your dog won’t fake you on taking the pill.
Foolproof Ways To Give Dog Pills
Prescription pills are necessary to treat a dog’s health problem. However, the real challenge lies in how you will give it to your pooch without him spitting it out. Just imagine giving a pill to a toddler. Your dog can also pretend to swallow the pill only to spit it out when you’re not looking.
To help you out, here are some of the methods I use when giving a pill to my Golden Retriever Sherlock:
- Don’t let the dog see the pill bottle
The first rule in giving a dog a pill is not to let the pooch see where you’re getting the medication. If the dog hears you open the pill bottle, it will know that it’s medicine time. And since most pills are bitter or sour, your pet will loathe it. You will spend time coaxing your dog out of hiding.
Instead, get the pill when your dog is busy playing. You should also make the pill intake unpredictable. This way, your doggo won’t pick up the schedule. If you added it on their meal, put it on their treat next time.
Once your dog associated the pill bottle’s popping sound to the awful taste, it will be harder to give the pill to your pet. It will be suspicious of the food you will give after hearing the pop. Worse, your dog will dig through the food and find the pill.
- Mix it with food
One of the easiest and widely used methods of giving a dog a pill is through its food. This is the most obvious choice since your dog eats regularly. Also, it’s easy to get a bitter pill lost in a scoop of kibble. If your dog is taking bite after bite, it may not notice the pill. Even if it picked up the taste, the kibble or wet food would mask most of the unpleasant taste.
However, some observant dogs can spot a pill that’s sitting plainly on their kibble. What you need to do here is to add a small amount of wet food to wrap the pill. You can also make a pate out of your dog’s kibble if you don’t have wet food handy.
- Hide it in chewy treats
If the food trick doesn’t work, your next best bet is your dog’s treats. The good thing about dog treats is that some are chewy and easy to mask a pill. Simply press the medicine on a bite-size treat so your dog won’t have to rip it to pieces and reveal the hidden medication.
This tactic is like a Trojan horse. Your dog enjoys the treat, not knowing that there’s a pill inside. Make sure that you seal the pill properly inside the treat. If your dog happens to chew and sort the pill out, your tactic will be unsuccessful.
Some of the best treat options are peanut butter, yogurt, marshmallows, hot dog slices, chicken heart, live pate, and sardine. Try to choose smelly treats so your dog won’t sniff the pill inside.
- Use edible gel caps
If your dog tends to taste the pill easily on any food, it will help a lot if you use a pill gel cap. It’s an empty and edible pill where you will enclose your dog’s medication. This layer will mask the smell and taste of the pill so your dog won’t detect it on its food or treat.
Take note that most prescription pills for dogs are either bitter or sour. Dogs don’t like both of these tastes. Also, some pills have a weird texture that your dog may find uncomfortable to be in its mouth.
Simply place a pill inside a hollow gel cap and dunk it on your dog’s wet food or wrap it on a chewy treat. These hollow gel caps also work with tablets and caplets.
- Do it manually
Sometimes, your dog simply won’t ingest the pill on its own. In this case, you need to do it manually.
You should hold your dog’s head from the top with your left hand. After that, tilt the dog’s head back, then slowly fold the upper lip and open the doggo’s mouth. Make sure that you fold the upper lip of your dog, so when it bites, it will bite the lip and not your hand.
Next, place the pill as far back as you can over the tongue. You have to place the pill as far as you can so your dog won’t spit out. After that, close your dog’s mouth then hold it gently. Blow on the dog’s nose to encourage the pooch to swallow.
- Wash your hands
After placing the pill on the food or a treat, wash your hands before giving it to your dog. This way, the smell of the pill that stuck on your skin won’t be a give-away about the hidden medication.
Take note that dogs are super-sniffers, much so if you own a hound. They can easily associate the smell of the pill on your hand, and the times they tasted the awful flavor of the medication. If you don’t wash your hands, your dog will know that something is up.
Can you dissolve pills in water for dogs?
While diluting the pill and making your dog drink the water seems a genius idea, it’s not really advisable. First of all, diluting the pill means diluting its effects. Your dog needs to get the entire pill at once because some of it has a slow-release characteristic.
And judging the taste of most dog pills, diluting it in water will only reveal and amplify its unpleasant flavor. Your dog will not drink the water, and you have one pill wasted.
Even if you can squirt the diluted pill into your dog’s mouth, your pet can cough and spit the solution out. This will make the method dysfunctional. Also, it will affect the efficacy of the pill.
However, you can ask the veterinarian if you can open the pill and mix it on your dog’s food instead. As long as the vet approves of this method, you can proceed. The same goes for tablets and caplets. The only struggle here is if the pill can’t be opened.
What human medications are toxic dogs?
Take note that human medication is not for dogs. Non-inflammatory steroidal drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, aspirin, etodolac, and paracetamol should not be given to dogs.
Ibuprofen can easily reach toxic levels when given to a dog. Toxicosis will set in as little as 200 mg given to a 25-pound dog. When this happens, your dog will suffer from deadly symptoms like kidney failure, bleeding, and GI irritation. If you want to alleviate your dog’s pain, the smartest and safest choice is to call the vet.
Aside from those mentioned above, the likes of Naproxen, Tylenol, Xanax, and more shouldn’t be given to canines. Any antidepressant and ADHD medications made for humans are not safe for dogs. In general, any human medicine isn’t safe for canines. Besides, there’s a reason why it’s made for humans and not dogs.
Every pet owner should know how to give a dog a pill. It’s a life hack that will save you a lot of time, hassle, and worries. Remember that creativity and being sneaky pays off when it comes to giving your pooch their medication. When in doubt, you can always consult with your dog’s vet.