Category Archives: administering pills

Use Pill Pockets for Dogs to Administer Pills

If you have ever had a dog that needed medicine, you can appreciate how difficult it is to give pills to someone who doesn’t want to take them. If the medicine is not available in liquid form and your dog really resents your attempts at trying to force a pill down his throat, consider hiding the pill in a special treat. For many dogs, the treat is just so tempting that they readily swallow it, along with the medicine.

Some common foods to hide pills in include:

  • Cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Piece of hot dog
  • Braunschweiger
  • Big marshmallows
  • Bread – mash around the pill
  • Canned cat food (just enough to cover the pill)
  • Canned dog food formed into a little meatball
  • Bologna

Here some suggestions:

Pill Gun

The pill gun was developed in response to difficulties giving pills to pets. This device is a long thin piece of plastic with a rubber tip and a plunger. The plunger is pulled back to allow room for the pill to be placed in the rubber tip. After the pill is correctly placed, the gun is placed far back in the pet’s mouth, the plunger pushed, and the pill is dispensed in the back of the mouth. Having the pill gun in the mouth will generally stimulate the swallowing reflex. A good thing about the pill gun is that the pet can bite all he wants on the gun. The gun will still work.

Oral Syringe

Liquid medications come with either an eyedropper or an oral syringe, with dispensing amounts written on the syringe. Usually, both teaspoon and milliliter are listed. Just draw up the prescribed amount of medication and administer with the oral syringe.
Even pill medication can be given with an oral syringe. Take the pill and place in a pill crusher (or crush between two spoons), place the powder in the syringe and add water. Shake the syringe to suspend the powder and give to your pet.
Pill Crusher
Pill crushers work well with medication that cannot be given in pill form. Most crushers come in 2 parts: The part that the pill sits in and the part that is placed on top of the pill. The majority of crushers have threads on the device. The top and bottom pieces are simply screwed together. As the top and bottom become closer and closer together, the pill is slowly crushed into powder.

Pill Cutter

Some prescriptions require only part of a pill or tablet to be given. In these situations, a pill cutter comes in handy. Some tablets do not have score marks, which makes breaking the pill in half with your hands very difficult. Using a kitchen knife can be dangerous. Pill cutters can safely and effectively cut a pill to the proper size.
Place the pill in the V section of the pill cutter base. The top of the cutter typically has a razor blade firmly attached. Close the lid on the pill cutter. As the lid is completely closed, the pill is cut by the razor blade.
Another option would be to ask your veterinarian if the medication is available in a flavored form. Some pharmacies can add certain flavors to encourage your dog to want to take his medicine. If none of these work, contact your veterinarian. The medication is likely very important and your veterinarian can help determine other alternatives.
Pet stores also sell “Pill Pockets”.  These are doggie-flavored treats shaped like a little pocket that you can hide a pill in.  They work pretty well.
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Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372