They say you can teach a puppy to do most things – run, sleep, go number one and two, pick up their own toys – even save your life. But, the real question is – can you give your dog a pill and have them understand that you do it for their own sake? Not likely. Well, not without the right give-pill-to-pup tips up your sleeve, that is.
The tugging, drugging, and spitting can be avoided with a number of simple tricks that you can use with almost every pup – tenacious as the little beast may be.
The pains of giving a pill
Pills may be given to dogs for a range of reasons and as a dog parent, you should get used to administering them. When medicating a sick dog, your first responsibility is to make sure you understand the directions given. Then the real battle starts.
When dogs need to ingest a pill, they behave like a little child taken to the dentist. They will most probably run away or spit the tasteless pill. Whether the tablet is for routine health care or as a treatment for an ongoing illness, it’s helpful to know these handy techniques.
Some “don’t do” rules
There are a few things to remember when it comes to administering a pill to your dog or in other words, some basic “don’t do” rules:
- Settle your dog down before you try giving them the tablet. The task will be much trickier if they are overstimulated.
- Don’t let them see or hear what’s coming.
- Don’t ct too nervous or express frustration.
- Don’t let them smell it on your hands or their ultrasensitive nose will foil your sneak attack plan.
- Don’t force-feed them.
Does your pet need a pill? Here’s the drill:
The basic rule is trick or treat.
Hiding the pill in foods they can’t resist
This is the easiest and fastest way to make your puppy become an obedient patient. “Oh, delicious”, the puppy thinks, seeing a big meatball in front of it, “It smells like lunch! Come on hooman! Don’t be shy! Give it to me!” That’s the moment you place the meat in the bowl and your puppy eats it to the last bite, happily wagging its tail.
But before starting to cook some meatballs, there are easier and more effective foods you can sneak the pill to such as peanut butter or cream cheese (preferably low sodium and low-calorie cheese). Unless your puppy has intestinal and digestive issues, that is. In that case, you can use bland foods such as a piece of bread rolled up or boiled, boneless skinless chicken or even pasta to hide the pill in. just lay that tasty food at your dog’s feet and watch them indulge themselves, not realizing they’ve just been tricked into it.
Play a food game
No dog will say no to a good fetch game, especially if it involves fetching some treats. Start with a few real treats to catch and then just add the pill in between. They won’t even notice, trust us.
Use chewable or liquid dog medications
Feel free to search for chewable ‘treat’ pills or flavored compounded medications to make it easier for your dog swallowing their tablets. Nevertheless, bear in mind that these compounded and flavored medications can be quite costly and reduce the effectiveness of the active substance.
Use pet pillers
This method can be highly effective and spare you the accidental bites and grudges. Once you’ve managed to place the pill behind your pup’s tongue, close their mouth and rub it gently against the neck. Stroke the puppy’s neck in a downward motion to encourage them to swallow the pill more easily.
Buy pill pockets
There are a number of manufacturers offering these easy-to-use treats which can trick your puppy into eating their pills. These pill pockets come in different flavors and with a hole the size of the pill. They’re usually balanced and have low levels of sodium and sugar. Not to mention you can order them online and have them delivered to your doorstep – with your pup welcoming the package.
Let them eat the pill off the floor
Let’s face it: your dog is a mini vacuum cleaner who can’t resist any food scraps off the floor. So why not use their special skills to do just that? Drop the pill on the floor while cooking or eating. They will definitely want your scraps.
Take them for a walk
There’s nothing like a distracted dog to execute your sneak attack. The fresh air, along with their natural curiosity, will help you to give the pill in a stress-free environment.
Pretend you’re eating the pill
Their begging routine will do the rest, that’s for sure. They’ll always want what you’re having and in this case, it could be a win-win situation.
Mission accomplished? Time for a treat reward
Don’t forget to reward your pup with a small treat once the pill reaches its final destination. Vets suggest taking the following steps before rewarding your puppy with a treat:
- Gently grab your puppy’s muzzle and place your thumb behind the canine teeth
- With a soft yet strong grip lean your puppy’s head against the ceiling
- Place the pill as far back
- Close his mouth and stroke the neck downwards with care
- And now – snack time!
Just before you leave, 3 important rules when it comes to pills:
- Use the medication as directed. Read and follow the specific direction.
- Always finish the prescription. Stopping an antibiotic early can contribute to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.
- Never share medication between pets. Cats metabolize drugs differently than dogs and some medications that are safe for dogs can be toxic for cats.