dog taking medicine

Almost every pet owner dreads the task of giving a pill to their pet. Some pets seem like professional pill avoiders – the dog that finds the tiny pill stuffed into the big piece of bologna you gave them, or the cat who conveniently goes missing every day right around medication time. Not only is it frustrating, it can be dangerous for pets that rely on their daily dose.

Pill pockets are a popular method for tricking a pet into swallowing their pills, but some pets have learned to get around them. The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital have put together a list of ideas to help the medicine go down.

Pill Pockets and More Tips

If you’ve tried pill pockets and they work for your pet, that’s great! Unfortunately pill pockets aren’t cheap, and many contain fillers and other high calorie ingredients. For pets that take medication daily, we suggest making your own pill pockets for a healthy and less expensive option. 

Besides pill pockets, there are plenty of other options for getting a finicky pet to take their medicine. Try one or more of the following ideas for getting Fido or Fluffy to take their meds:

  • Make it tasty – For some pets, tasty equals wet and stinky. Figure out the most pungent food your pet drools for, and use that to hide the pills (think strongly-scented cheese, canned tuna or salmon, or wet pet food).
  • Make it sweet – Fruit-loving pets may be fooled by a pill hidden in a raspberry, piece of banana, spoonful of pumpkin, or other fruit.
  • Make it a game – If your pet will catch and eat anything you toss to them, you can use it to your advantage when it comes to giving pills. Simply stash the pill in a tasty morsel, and toss it in the air for your pup to catch. Most dogs will swallow whatever you toss them without even realizing what it is.
  • Make it a competition – If you have more than one dog in the home, grab a few pill pockets, soft treats, or bits of people food and hide the pill in one. With one hand give your other dog(s) a treat, and then offer the dog that needs medication the treat with the pill inside. Most dogs eat more quickly in the presence of other dogs and may not stop to think about the pill hidden inside. 
  • Make it random – Randomly offer your pet a nugget of their favorite soft treat, bite of people food  or pill pocket throughout the day. One of these pill pockets or treats will be hiding the medication, but because your pet just thinks you’re just being nice intermittently they may be more likely to eat what they’re given. 

If you’re still having trouble getting your pet to take their medication, please don’t hesitate to contact The Pet Experts. Together we will come up with a plan to get your pet the medication they need with as little stress as possible.