Giving dog medication.

Almost all pets will require medication at some point in their lives, whether it’s to relieve pain, treat an infection, or manage a chronic health condition. Administering medication—and doing it on a reasonably routine basis—can be especially challenging if you have a pet with a picky palate. Cats, in particular, are suspicious of new odors and flavors. If your pet has been prescribed medication, try these tips and tricks from our team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.

Hide the Medication in Food

The simplest strategy is to hide a pill inside a spoonful of smelly pet food or people food that your pet finds appealing. Just be sure to avoid foods containing toxins like xylitol, chocolate, or raisins. 

Some foods to try:

Make it a Game

Using your pet’s favorite treats (or treats made just for medications like Pill Pockets), feed your pet a treat that does NOT contain any medication and follow it up quickly with a treat containing the pill. Then reward your pet with another medicine-free treat. 

Or try playing “catch” with your dog. Toss him a couple of treats to catch in his mouth and then toss him a treat that contains the medication.

Learn How to “Pill” Your Pet Without Food

Knowing how to give a dog a pill when he’s not eating is an important skill, since many illnesses can cause pets to lose their appetites. We are happy to demonstrate how to pill your pet using only your hands or a pill pusher. The trick is placing the pill in the back of the mouth so your pet will swallow it. 

How to Get a Dog to Take Liquid Medicine

Some medications come in liquid form, making them easier to mix into something yummy like peanut butter or cream cheese. You can then smear the food on top of your pet’s paw or on a small plate. Just be sure your pet licks up all the food and doesn’t wipe it on your sofa! Or, if your pet is fairly calm, you can insert the dropper of liquid medication directly into his mouth.

Follow the Instructions Closely

Your pet won’t get well if he isn’t getting his medication as prescribed. 

Be sure to:

  • Read all instructions first.
  • Ask your veterinarian before crushing a pill, as this can alter the rate of absorption. 
  • Administer the exact dosage for the prescribed number of times per day.
  • Complete the regimen as prescribed.
  • Give your pet extra praise and cuddles after he takes his meds.
  • Contact your veterinarian right away if you notice side effects or if you’re unable to get your pet to take the medication.

We understand how stressful it can be to give medications to your pet. Our in-house pharmacy is staffed with trained pharmacy technicians who are happy to demonstrate how to safely administer medications. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.