Any tips or tricks for giving a particularly wily dog a pill?

asked 2014-11-10 16:45:12 -0600

My very old dog has become a big grump about taking pills. He used to tolerate the "pop it down the throat" method, but now he absolutely refuses to allow that. He is also not fooled by Pill Pockets. I think he associates the smell with being tricked into taking a pill and has decided it's not worth it...he won't even eat them when they are empty. He's also pretty skilled at separating out pills from pieces of cheese. Such a wily old guy. ;) Any tips for how to get him to take a pill?

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Easy! First, get the dog into the "food frenzy" mode just like a shark gets. LOL. Toss him little balls of cream cheese or Velvetta or balls of rolled up soft american cheese. Let him eat 3 or 4 or 5 plain. THEN toss him one food ball with the pill wrapped up inside. change it up - one time use one kind of cheese, then next time use a different flavor. You can also use hamburger meat. Just get him into a food frenzy mode first. It's best to do this right before meal time when he is HUNGRY. Dogs tend to not chew much, so hopefully he will just swallow the food ball.

Carrie B.'s profile imageCarrie B. ( 2015-05-06 14:30:02 -0600 )edit

Food frenzy is the key... Use his favorite food. My dog will separate the pill out, have him sit, give food with their head back then quickly give food wrapped pill with head tilted back with another pill free food item. I use turkey or ham lunch meat since I have a picky eater

Kathy T.'s profile imageKathy T. ( 2015-07-05 14:57:45 -0600 )edit

you can use flavored pill pockets or with the owners permission a piece of ham. they will just eat it whole. they love ham

Alfredo R.'s profile imageAlfredo R. ( 2015-12-04 11:48:03 -0600 )edit

Yes, you can try liverworse cold cuts. It is very easy to make a livetworse pill pockets.

Luibov B.'s profile imageLuibov B. ( 2017-10-25 18:18:25 -0600 )edit

I tried EVERY thing with my 160 lb male Rottie! He would eat whatever the pill was in, then spit the pill out. He's so laid back, I could open his mouth & shove it down his throat, but I HATED to do that to him! Now, I wrap each of his pills in a small piece of Braunschweiger--works great every time

Diana G.'s profile imageDiana G. ( 2017-10-26 18:00:31 -0600 )edit

I have a "pill-er" in my utensil drawer, that has never been used. My dog is nearing 14 years and we adopted her the day she turned six weeks. Hips out as a pup, grew from cartilage. I tried to force pills down but peanut butter was better.

Deirdre and James C.'s profile imageDeirdre and James C. ( 2017-10-27 01:39:58 -0600 )edit

I simply grab top of muzzle, open mouth, place pill way back on the tongue, close mouth and blow softly at their nose.

Dee J.'s profile imageDee J. ( 2017-10-27 11:44:20 -0600 )edit

My method as taught by my GSD breeder is similar to Dee's. While keeping their mouth closed with one hand, gently rub their throat with your other hand for a couple of seconds until they swallow. Easy peasy!

Ana Maria and Diana K.'s profile imageAna Maria and Diana K. ( 2017-11-06 07:27:29 -0600 )edit

24 Answers

answered 2015-07-03 12:39:15 -0600

I have found that peanut butter works very well too. My late dog wouldn't go for cheese at all, but put the pill in a lump of peanut butter on a spoon, and he'd like the spoon clean. I've used this with several of the dogs I've cared for via Rover (with owner permission of course) and it's never been a problem.

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Peanut Butter works every time - easy peesy!! Our two girls will do anything for PB. Cock-a-poo is 10yrs and Poodle is 5yrs - lived their lives of getting pills with PB.

Debra W.'s profile imageDebra W. ( 2017-10-25 19:22:11 -0600 )edit
answered 2014-11-16 18:34:18 -0600

Try tossing the pill (wrapped in something yummy that's also moldable and tossable - velveeta is a good option, maybe things like cream cheese, liver sausage or pate' cat food too). A pill-savvy dog will normally check anything handed to him, but catching it he will normally swallow it without thought. Change up the things you wrap the pill in daily. Toss him the tasty things without pills in them too, so he never knows exactly what has a pill in it.

I'm not sure if you've tried a Pill Popper, but if he won't allow you to pill him - he probably wouldn't like that either.

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answered 2014-11-10 19:05:34 -0600

You can always crush it and mix into food.

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Please check the medication bottle first for any warning labels as some medications must not be crushed.

Ana Maria and Diana K.'s profile imageAna Maria and Diana K. ( 2017-11-06 07:35:42 -0600 )edit
answered 2014-11-19 07:11:52 -0600

If you're giving it with food, always make sure to have a 'chaser' that you present right after the pill-containing food is in their mouth. Then they usually rush to swallow the pill so they can have the next bite of food.

My old dog who passed a year ago got to the point where he didn't want to eat much of anything, so we ended up using one of those plastic 'pill guns' that we could load with all his pills and just shoot them down his throat. I know that sounds a little rough, but it was a quick and painless process, much more so than trying to negotiate how to get 6-8 pills in him one at a time!

Best of luck.

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answered 2014-11-25 09:14:07 -0600

Give the dog several pieces of the hot dog or soft cheese (Velveeta or cream cheese) FIRST. Always do this before dinner time, when he is very hungry. After the 3rd of 4th piece, give the one piece containing the pill.

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answered 2015-07-05 21:00:18 -0600

I second the peanut butter! I had a boarder that would eat the "cover up" and then spit the pill out. With peanut butter, the dog has to work so hard to swallow it (instead of chewing) that the pill usually goes down too.

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answered 2014-12-05 15:28:42 -0600

I have a dog that will chew through mostly anything and then spit the pills out. She's a freakin' genius. But I found the trick is it should be something SO GOOD that they just MUST inhale it lol Pill pockets have worked wonders for me, not sure why so many people downvoted Andree for it. Other then that I would try a teaspoon of bacon grease with the pill stuffed inside or put it inside a piece of turkey/chicken and have them do tricks. Then when they get the 'treat', they're not expecting the pill because they worked for it.

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answered 2014-11-11 10:40:54 -0600

Pill covered in gushy substance like wet food, cream cheese, yogurt, or similar, then wrapped in high value item such as deli meat or cheese slice is my best suggestion!

Even if you can get the morsel into the mouth this method, then just do the old "hold mouth closed and gently stroke neck until a swallow or three has happened" it might all go faster.

Good luck with your old man!

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LOLA C.'s profile imageLOLA C. ( 2017-10-25 14:02:54 -0600 )edit
answered 2017-10-11 23:02:01 -0600

My old corgi got so good at not eating his pills and realized what pill pockets were very quickly.

If you don't want to give your dog food like peanut butter simply put the pill in the dogs mouth. Hold your hand gently around his mouth to keep it closed so they can't spit it out. Cup your other hand around their nose and blow strongly into their nostrils and this will make them have to swallow the pill. It kinda tickles them so they move their tongue and swallow even if they don't want to. You may have to blow into their nose a few times but it always does the trick with every dog I've tried it with

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answered 2017-10-05 19:31:30 -0600

Hello! I have always resorted to a small chunk of REAL meat as a last effort. I find if they are cut a little thicker, you can make a nice clean pocket for the pill with a knife. This helps slide the pill in with little handling which helps mask any scent from the pill. Even the most stubborn dogs will like this method because even the pill will have meat flavoring.

I am not advocating for raw or natural diets, but I fully believe there is no better taste to a dog than meat so it's always an option to keep in mind.

Ham, almost any LEAN red meat trimming, cooked chicken/turkey....All work well.

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