Senior Golden Retriever Taking Daily MedicationAlthough administering pet medication may seem like a daunting task, nearly every pet will require this at some point in his or her life. In fact, we’re fortunate to have so many effective options for disease treatment, pain management, and preventive care.  

However, when it comes to convincing your reluctant cat or dog, it’s a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve!

Knowing Your Pet Medication Options

If your pet absolutely refuses to take a pill, it’s better to understand all your options rather than forcing the matter. If a pet is medication-averse, he or she has already formed negative associations with whatever method you’ve been using.

Making a pet swallow a pill not only sets you up for a bite or scratch, but the experience can also cause your pet to fear you (quite possibly the worst outcome for a loving pet owner). Instead, positive reinforcement or reward-based tricks are the best bets for making the medicine go down.

Also discuss your options with The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital. We may be able to find more suitable alternatives for your fur friend.

Helpful Tools

Referred to as pill poppers or pillers, this method allows you to dispense a pill by placing it into a piller and angling it toward the back of your pet’s tongue. Of course, the best way to get your pet to cozy up to the piller is by using it to also dispense soft treats.

If you don’t have a piller, use the dispensers that hold peanut butter or banana flavored filling for Kong toys (or something similar). Simply cut the nozzle large enough to contain the pill (hidden in a tasty substance), and dispense it directly into your pet’s mouth. To do this:

  1. Stroke your pet’s chin to angle his or her head upward, looking at you.
  2. Compress the muzzle and the mouth by placing pressure on either side of the jaw (between the upper and lower teeth).
  3. Angle the compressor toward the back of the mouth and dispense.
  4. Close your pet’s mouth, holding the jaws shut for a few seconds while stroking his or her throat to encourage swallowing.
  5. Love and praise your pet!

If your pet is comfortable, you can administer pet medication orally without the dispenser – just be mindful of avoiding an unwanted bite.

Delicious Tricks

If all else fails (and especially if the medication is short-term), you can always fall back on treats as the best option.

Simply crush the pill or dispense the liquid (if instructions allow) into one of the following foods:

  • Dollop of peanut butter
  • A bit of hot dog
  • 1-2 teaspoons of tuna fish or pate
  • ¼ cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • A few teaspoons of mashed sweet potato or pumpkin (unsweetened)
  • Piece of rolled up tortilla
  • Mixed in with your pet’s wet food

You can also use pill pocket treats, which are made to conceal pills.

For more information about pet medications and your options, please give us a call.