Getting Pets to Swallow Pills

Do you find it difficult to get your cat or dog to swallow a pill when they need to take medication? Put a small amount of butter or margarine on the pill. After putting it in your pet's mouth, rub his throat and blow air into his nose, this helps the pill go down much easier.

By Arle12 from Petersburg, IN

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Another idea is to cover the pill with peanut butter...I put the pill in a teaspoon covered with peanut butter and let them lick the spoon....

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My dogs are not the problem but the cats can be! lol

Butter is a good idea for them, I've been doing this for years :-) Thank you for the suggestions!



Northern Virginia

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It would be better to get a soft treat that is good for the dogs and place the pill in the treat.. Butter or margerine is a fat and can cause a panceratic attack amoung other things. I have a Yorkie who is very sensitive to foods other than her dog food and shredded carrots so this is first hand knowledge. Ask your vet the next time you visit! They will tell you to avoid human food if possible!

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I grind pills up with a mortar and pestle and put it in canned food. It's painless for both of us.

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For years we have been very successful, with our vet's blessing, wrapping the pills in a piece of sliced cheese or hiding it in peanut butter. Our oldest dog is now suffering from liver failure after years of being on phenobarb and all of a sudden decided not to eat. Most food including the prescription diet from the vet is upsetting her tummy. I bought a special plastic syringe from the pet store that helps get the pill to the back of her throat. If she's being cooperative I prefer to use my thumb to push the capsules to the back of her tongue. Neither method appears to cause her any distress or choking.

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Our Australian Shepherd, Drover, isn't fed people food (except when a neighbor lady sneaks him some leftover roast beef!). He is estatic when we give him a tiny, 1/2 inch square, of Velveeta cheese. The silly boy has no clue there was a pill in that treat he just gulped down! My sweet cat "Little Girl" was a different story! I could not hide a pill in anything. She'd find it and spit it out! I thought for sure sticking it in a chunk of yummy tuna would do the trick but she found it. Giving her a pill meant holding her, poking the pill as far back in her mouth as I could, then gently holding her mouth shut and stroking her throat until she finally had to swallow it! It also meant I got scratched and bit! Thankfully we didn't have to do that too often. She was a beautiful, tiny, calico cat. I had her for 19 years. She had to be put to sleep when her kidneys failed and she was in pain. That was 6 years ago. I still miss her a lot and find myself automatically "not stepping on her" at the kitchen sink. She constantly did figure eights around my ankles there.

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My German Shepherd has to take anti-anxiety capsules every day and I hide them in cheese. I roll the capsule up in the cheese, hold it in my hand until the cheese warms up then give it to him. He gulps it down quickly. When I'm out of cheese, I mearly open his mouth, push the capsule as far down his throat as I safely can, gently hold his mouth closed and rub his throat until that tongue comes out. When I see that, I know he has swallowed the capsule.

The best way to get your dog to swallow pills is to get them use to you opening their mouths while they are young. You can check their teeth, gums, etc. without getting bitten. Same thing with trimming toenails. Get your little one accustomed to you handling their feet while they are still young. It's best to trim nails when the dog has been exercised and tired. They are less likely to fight you.

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Push the pills into a (raw or cooked) meatball. This is what my parents used to do, for our pets. It worked well.

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I was using peanut butter. But that stopped working when the dog got wise to it. I'm not sure if he tasted the pill. The vet said the dog has to finish all the antibiotics, but there has to be about 50 pills in there! :o Now I just resort to pushing it as far back in the dogs mouth as I can and holding it down. So frustrating!

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We tried everything with our husky. Only liverwurst seems to work. It smells so much; it disguises the smell of the antibiotics.

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In This Article
A puppy scratching at fleas.
Giving Medication to Pets
Pets AdviceApril 6, 2006
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