We all know that dogs are attracted to the smell and taste of many things, “pill-flavored” food is not one of them. Having to give medicine to your dog can go one of two ways: the easy route or the complicated route. Some dogs will voluntarily swallow a pill or won’t even notice it amongst their food, while other dogs actively avoid the medicine at all costs. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones whose dog doesn’t mind taking their medicine, there are other ways you can convince or trick your dog into getting it down.
1. Choose tasty, strong smelling food
A trick that works for many people is hiding the pill inside food. Even if your dog likes a food like cream cheese, its mild taste and smell may not be strong enough to mask the medicine odor. Choose a tasty treat that has a strong enough smell and a texture that distracts your dog from the trick you’re trying to pull. It’s important to make the treat coating is thick enough to disguise the pill, but yet, small enough that your dog doesn’t need to chew it up and can just swallow it. There are also commercial pill-hiding products out there in the form of treats or toys where you can slide the pill in and your dog will unknowingly digest it. These can be expensive, but if your dog needs to take several pills they can be handy resources.
2. Try flavored medicine
Most recently, common medicines are designed in flavored forms that dogs may accept as treats on their own. Certain meds can be custom prepared by your veterinarian in these flavors your dog is willing to eat. This isn’t an option with all medicines or with all veterinarians, so be sure to ask if it’s a possibility. It may have extra costs associated with it.
3. Pick a time when your dog is distracted
When giving your dog a pill, you may benefit from giving him his meds when he leasts expects it. A good time to do this may be when you’re out on a walk with your dog and he is preoccupied with various scents or investigating which type of grass he wants to eat. Mixed in with his surroundings, he may not notice or care that a pill will be gobbled up along the way.
4. Put it in your dog’s mouth
When all else fails, you may have to prepare yourself for battle and put the pill in your dog’s mouth. Have your dog sit upright, tilt his head back, open his mouth and drop in the pill. You can massage the neck and throat area after to help him swallow the pill. Be careful as you do this because you don’t want want to cause choking or scare your pet. Gently blowing air into your dog’s nostrils can also induce a swallowing effect. Another option for putting the pill directly in your dog’s mouth is a device called a pill dropper. This is a small plastic tool that looks similar to a syringe that drops the pill into your dog’s mouth. The directions are essentially the same as using your hands: tilt his head back, open his mouth, and gently guide the pill drooper into the mouth and drop the pill. Afterwards, massage the neck to encourage swallowing.
Giving your dog medicine can be an unpleasant experience, but having several options to get the job done will help you with any difficulties that may arise along the way. Although your dog may not enjoy his medicine, it’s essential to his health that he takes the proper dosage and types of medication. If you can’t get him to eat a delicious treat that disguises a pill, you can always try the pill dropper. Medication, like joint supplements can be beneficial to aging dogs who suffer from ailments such as arthritis. To learn more about helping your dog age gracefully, download our free eBook by clicking the image below.