Medicate Your Stubborn Pup With These 6 Super Helpful Strategies

Written by: Zoe Costello

September 12, 2015

Some dogs gleefully swallow just about anything as long as it has a smear of peanut butter glazed across its surface. Others would sooner die in the heat of battle than swallow that funky-smelling, lozenge-shaped capsule of evil you are wielding. Having a sick pup is scary and stressful enough without having to wonder how you’ll manage to get their medicine into them. Here are 6 techniques to help you medicate your pooch and get him cruising down the road to recovery.

1. The ole’ drug smuggle

Hide the pills in your dog’s favorite noms, or whatever it is that makes your doggy drool the most. (I have actually wrapped dog pills in pizza before.) If your pup ain’t falling for the pill-in-the-pizza technique and you really don’t want to give your pup any more of your pizza, a lot of people actually recommend butter. It’s slippery consistency makes it easier for dogs to swallow.

2. The ole’ antibio-trick

This one works great with playful pups. Gather up a handful of small treats and start throwing them one by one at your dog so that he/she catches them mid air. Sneak a little pill in one of those tosses and it will be down the hatch before your pooch even knows what hit him… in the mouth.

3. Pill Pockets

A lot of companies make these first two methods even easier by making treats that are built to hide a little pill.

Fun Fact: This is also the name of my autobiography.

4. A syringe

Pawsonally, I’ve never used this technique, but if you can get your dog’s medication in liquid form it seems pretty foolproof. I mean, if it works for my one year old nephew it will work for dogs right?


Just be sure you know how to do it correctly or it will be a big ole mess. I learned that the hard way with my one year old nephew.

5. The Flintstones Vitamins Technique

Man, I would eat those candy-flavored, cartoon-shaped, vitamins for dessert today if I could. And let’s be honest, dogs don’t have the most sophisticated palate, so a lot of dog medicines come in a chewable form. Some are even meat flavored, which in dog land equals deliciousness.

6. The ole’ man handle

Of course, if you have one of those suspicious dogs who can’t be fooled by some sleight of hand and peanut butter then you’re just going to have to do it the hard way.


The ASPCA gives these step by step instructions:

1. Hold the pill in the fingers of one hand. Place that hand on your dog’s lower jaw and the other hand on his upper jaw. Lift his head up toward the ceiling.

2. Open your dog’s mouth and twist your hand around so you can insert the pill. Place the pill to the side of your dog’s tongue as far back as you can reach, and then quickly withdraw your hand as you close your dog’s jaws. (The action is similar to feeding a baby bird small wads of moistened bread.)

3. Continue to hold your dog’s jaws closed with one hand while keeping his nose pointed up at the ceiling, and gently stroke his throat downward with the other to encourage him to swallow.

4. As soon as you think your dog has swallowed the pill, offer him the tasty treat so that he takes it and swallows again when he takes the treat.

Right after pilling your dog, keep an eye on him for a minute or two. Some dogs learn to hold the pill in their mouth and then spit it out when you’re not paying attention.

Here’s a demonstration from Valley Veterinary Hospital’s Instagram:

Happy pill popping! And don’t ever give your pet any medication without talking to your veterinarian first!

Feature image via Dogs, Cats and Pets.

Written by: Zoe Costello

September 12, 2015

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