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 image Carrie 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 image Kathy 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 image Alfredo 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 image Luibov 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 image Diana 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 image Deirdre 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 image Dee 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 image Ana Maria and Diana K.  ( 2017-11-06 07:27:29 -0600 ) edit

24 Answers

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answered 2015-12-04 10:46:42 -0600

My dog has to take anxiety meds everyday. He tends to get board with peanut butter, eats only the cheese, and pill pockets are expensive. I have been making my own pill pockets or other no bake dog treats and I have been altering the recipe here and there to make it interesting for him.

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answered 2014-12-04 18:08:17 -0600

My previous dog had a medicine cabinet rivaling most nursing home residents' when he was being treated for cancer. Pair that with a declining appetite and his 2-3 times daily pill routine was a nightmare. He started out being fine with pills, allowing us to place him at the back of his throat, and swallowing with only a little coaxing. Sometimes he'd take them with food. He inhaled his kibble generally, so we could sometimes just toss small pills in the middle of the bowl and he'd suck them up with the rest. Later on it got harder. When he wasn't hungry and was having trouble keeping things down, the easiest solution was to put the pill as far back as I could, tilt his head back, and use a plastic syringe to trickle a small stream of water into his throat. This almost always forced a swallow that took the pill with it, though for his chemo pill he'd often resist until bright yellow chemo drug water oozed out the sides of his mouth.. ugh. You may also ask your vet if this medication (or something comparable) can be given as an injection. Subcutaneous injections are often easier on human and dog alike, if you're comfortable trying it.

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answered 2014-11-11 12:47:07 -0600

Greenies Pill Pockets are awesome

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Agreed- Pill Pockets are great!

Judi E.'s profile image Judi E.  ( 2014-11-17 14:47:37 -0600 ) edit
answered 2014-11-19 11:03:39 -0600

I second the Greenies Pill Pockets! I haven't found a dog they don't work with!

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