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Giving Pills to Dogs

Category Health
Dogs may need medication for various reasons, but most dogs hate to take pills. Getting them to not spit out their pills can require some creativity. This is a page about giving pills to dogs.
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September 7, 2011

One of my dogs suffers allergies during the warmer months due to pollen and pine needles. After being checked over by our vet, I was advised to give Rosie 2 Benadryl a day. As soon as I find a way to sneak it to her with food she figures it out and has learned to spit it out and then she runs off because she knows I'm going to give it to her anyway.

I've tried several different ways and accidentally figured out a way to give Rosie her pills without her knowing it. I have no idea why, but it seems I come up with my best ideas when I'm totally exhausted, late at night. I was putting the dishes away and caught a sideways glance of a mixing beater. I cut up a hot dog into 4 pieces and inserted the beater into the hot dog piece and it made a very snug hole in which I inserted a Benadryl. The pill fit perfectly and did not fall out and Rosie swallowed it without even tasting it. In the past I had been slicing the hot dogs to put the pills in, but they always fell out.

Sometimes I even surprise myself with what I come up with and I thought this was well worth sharing with all the dog people who enjoy and learn from ThriftyFun.

By CPJ from Madison, AL

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October 7, 2005

A spoonful of PB&J helps the medicine go down. When giving a pill to a dog that doesn't like taking them, try putting some peanut butter and jelly on a spoon and hide the pill in it. Most dogs love peanut butter, and the jelly helps it slide down.

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By Don

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Dogs have always been a part of my life. Having pets means that it's likely you will have to give them a pill sometime throughout their lifetime. Generally, the dogs I've had have been pretty cooperative when I give them a pill. I've had a few dogs that I needed to hide the pill in peanut butter or cheese to get them to take it.

However, I have one dog now who is the most difficult "pill-taker" I've ever had. She is very suspicious of anything that is a little different such as peanut butter. She even suspects there's a pill in a piece of hamburger or chicken if I try to sneak the pill into something like that. Although I'm sure there are those who will disagree with the method I have found most successful (not 100% but close) in giving this dog her pill, I'm sharing this tip in hopes of helping someone who may find themselves frustrated at medicine time.

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I make three balls out of 1/2 teaspoon of canned cat food each. I hide the pill in one ball. Then I feed the cat food balls, one at a time, to my dog. She always examines the first one so I never put the pill there. I vary whether it goes in the 2nd or 3rd ball of food. She only gets this pill every other day so ultimately she is not consuming very much cat food.

By VeronicaHB

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I mix my dog's pills in cream cheese and haven't had him spit it out once. I know for a fact that this works really well.

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To give my dog medicine, I dip a spoon into the peanut butter and lay the pills on the sticky peanut butter which my dog then devours. The pills go right down and it's funny to watch her licking her lips!

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April 17, 2011

For dogs who need Cosequin (or other dry medications) but spit the pills out, take a small piece of regular cheese and cover it with 'squirt cheese'. Next, grind up the pills into a powder and sprinkle it so it sticks to the squirt cheese.

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My vet told me to start giving my dogs regular pumpkin for the fiber. I give it to them in the evening meal. At the same time, I give medications.

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Some of the medications I have to get very tricky with to get them to take it.

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Wrap pills in the sandwich cheese slices to get your dog to take them easily. Mash the cheese around the pill and form a small ball. Mine gulp it down and don't even realize they just took a pill.

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When I give medicine to any of my dogs, I crush them in a bowl and spread them on the food. Then, I put a small dollop of any pure meat (beef, chicken, etc.) in the bowl with about a teaspoonful of warm water.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 2, 2012

We have a Yorkie that's 1 yr 7 months old. The vet found that Bella has a abnormal liver problem and now she has to take Denamarin everyday. She has been put on a vegetarian diet and cannot have any protein.

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Before we realized that she could not have protein at all we were wrapping her pill in cheese and that worked great. Now we have tried putting it in bread and she spits that out. I have put it at the back of her throat and rubbed her throat area with her mouth closed and that worked a few times. She has caught on and gets very upset and has growled at me and tried to bite. I don't want her going thru this everyday and I don't want to either. Is there some other item I could put it in without spending more money. Her food is not cheap and has to be purchased at the vet's office.

By Tammy

Answers

April 2, 20120 found this helpful

Can you grind it up and put it in water or milk or some other liquid? One he's allowed to have of course. Or the food maybe? Is there a canned food you can give? Good luck figuring it out!

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April 3, 20120 found this helpful

I'm not sure if these products will fit in with your dogs diet, but I use peanut butter or creamed honey liberally on a small piece of toast. I grind the tablet up 1st but you could roll the toast in a ball with the honey & pill inside.

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April 3, 20120 found this helpful

I also had to give my doxie Denamarin for a liver problem. I used the chewable, which I broke in half (so one bottle of 30 pills lasted 2 months), according to her weight. Up to 6 lbs -1/4 tablet. 7 to 15 lbs. -1/2 tablet. 16 to 30 lbs. -1 tablet. It's chewable liver flavor so that might be the solution to your problem.

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My picky dog didn't like the taste so I got Pill Pockets and she liked those.

Of course that would cost you more money for the Pill Pockets but I believe the Denamarin added years to my dogs' life so it was worth it to me. She left us last year at age 17. Good luck!

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April 4, 20120 found this helpful

My husband and I have used whipped cream to give our cocker spaniel his pills for years. Just put the pill on your finger, put a dab of whipped cream large enough to cover the pill, with a little extra on top to make it hard for them to spit it out. Don't let them lick it off your finger, just slide it into the back of their mouths. You don't even have to open their mouth with your other hand (hopefully). Works every time!

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February 17, 20140 found this helpful

I have a 4 year old chihuahua/corgi mix with a seizure disorder. He has to take a 100 mg pill twice a day. Peanut butter was making him gain weight, so I switched to instant mashed potatoes. I don't know if it has too much protein for your dog, but it's worth a look. Just nuke about 1-1 1/2 Tbsp of water in a small bowl for about 15 seconds. Add just enough potato flakes so that it absorbs dry within about 5 seconds and stir really well. I use the handle of the spoon. It molds like a play dough and makes a cheap, easy pill pocket substitute.

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February 2, 20160 found this helpful

It's amazing how fast dogs can pick up on a pill being hidden. It looks like Bella has figured out the pill game and she's such a small girl.

This may sound silly but have you tried cooked / mashed sweet potatoes? They taste great and with Bella being so small you could probably get a good week's servings out of one and it is a vegetable. It's tastier than mashed potatoes and I haven't met any dog that doesn't like a taste of butter.

With any luck, Bella will absolutely love it and won't be suspicious.

Have you researched making your own dog food there is so much a person can do with vegetables.

You could make weekly batches and refrigerate them, it only takes a second or two to warm them up. Check the ingredients on the food you buy from the vet and perhaps you can buy edible dog vitamins and give her one as a treat.

You could count the small serving of sweet potato as part of a meal. My dogs get breakfast and dinner.

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October 7, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you for your tip and my dog just started this medication too. My dog has not only liver situation but a heart murmur, she is turning 7 yrs old this month. She is very hard to give pills as she is a very picky eater. Been breaking the pill up and I hold her in my arms and my husband pushes it as far back into her mouth. Makes me sad but it say to give on empty stomach. Also just want to say sorry for your loss, I know our fur babies are family. Still mourning the lost of our previous dog 6 yrs ago. They are forever in our hearts

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Anonymous
October 7, 20180 found this helpful

DEMARIN Can not be crushed and has to be given 1 hour before your pet gets breakfast.

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Answer this Question...

February 7, 2019

How much water do I mix with a 500mg amoxicillin capsule to give to my pup?

Answers

February 7, 20190 found this helpful

Did the vet say it is ok to mix with water? Our vet always tells us to use a pill pocket or cottage cheese. That also sounds like a huge dose Is that what was prescribed? I guess I am just used to dosing for tiny dogs. Prayer for healing!!!!

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 14, 2010

Tips for giving dogs their medication. Post your ideas.

Answers:

Peanut Butter

Trying to get a pill down a pet's throat is a real chore and like me, sometimes my fingers got a little "chewed" up trying. I learned a neat trick! Using a standard syringe I put Peanut Butter on the tip of the syringe, then I stick the pill in the peanut butter and stick it in my dog's mouth turning it to make sure the peanut butter (and the pill) sticks to her tongue or roof of her mouth. The peanut butter causes the dog to constantly lick and swallow therefore she can't spit the pill out! Works great!

By Debi (03/15/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Giving Dogs Pills

Make a meatball out of canned dogfood and stick the pill in the middle making sure that the entire pill is covered. OR Depending on the size of the pill and if your dog likes fig bars, shove the pill into the middle of a fig bar. (03/15/2005)

By D. Ann

Giving Dogs Pills

Pills are no problem to get "down" a dog especially Lady, our cocker spaniel. She is like a garbage disposal container. If I give it to her, it's down immediately. When she was expecting her first litter of puppies (she had 12 puppies) the vet recommended to give her a human calcium tablet each day. Calcium tastes awful and it comes in a huge pill. With a piece of bread squished around it, it was swallowed immediately by Lady. If I feed her, then whatever I am offering her she thinks must be good and no questions asked, it's eaten, immediately.

(03/15/2005)

By brenda newton

Giving Dogs Pills

Break up a wiener, and stick the pill inside a piece of the wiener. I usually give our dog a few pieces extra, both before the piece with the pill and after so she doesn't get suspicious! Cheese works well too, dogs love cheese.
(03/15/2005)

By carolb

Giving Dogs Pills

I place the pill on top of a cracker, then smear a dollop of peanut butter on top to cover and hide the pill. Works every time.
(03/15/2005)

By Darween

Giving Dogs Pills

There is a product I buy online called Pill Pockets made of chicken liver and other good stuff. They work very well and are relatively inexpensive. Also if using hot dogs, use a plastic straw to push through the middle of the hot dog. It will make a neat little tunnel in which to put the pill, then push the other part in after the pill. Voila! (03/16/2005)

By Marcie

Giving Dogs Pills

We've tried a lot of methods. Spreading peanut butter on a thin strip of ham, and rolling the ham around the pill seems to work the best for us. She likes the ham and the PB keeps the pill in place until swallowed. (03/28/2005)

By wbuck341

Giving Dogs Pills

My dog, 286, has a chronic disease that requires medication every 12 hours. We have both come to enjoy this particular delivery system. I place her pill in the palm of my hand and cover it with canned 'squirt cheese'. With the pill stuck to the cheese, she gladly laps it up being sure to clean clean my palm. If she has ever detected the pill, she has kept it to herself. (03/29/2005)

By Dorothy Harrell

Giving Dogs Pills

Just a dollop of peanut butter will do. I just recently had to give my little puppy a pill twice a day. She just loved the peanut butter and actually was looking forward to taking her medicine. (04/07/2005)

By msgolden_angel

Giving Pills to Dogs

If your dog hates taking pills, try hiding the pill in the middle of a chunk of cheese or slice of hot dog. Most dogs will wolf down the "treat" and never notice the pill inside!

By Becki in Indiana (04/14/2005)

By ThriftyFun

Giving Dogs Pills

I second (third?) the peanut butter! I just dip a clean finger in the "dog peanut butter" jar and put the pill in the center of the glob. Both dogs bite the whole glob of peanut butter off my finger and swallow it, never realizing it is anything but a treat. They are hilarious -- they keep licking their mouths for 5 minues or more trying to get all the peanut butter from their noses and roofs of their mouths! Entertainment and medicine all in one! (04/14/2005)

By guest

Giving Dogs Pills

These are all great tips that I never thought of before. I have to give my three Chihuahuas pills nightly. I have been using the pill popper that the Vet uses, but it is still a battle. But my Vet would have a cow if he saw these tips, cause he is a strong advocate that people's food is for people only, not made for dogs. That it is extremely harmful, and in some instances can be deadful. So I have been always afraid to give them any people food. He said that once you start them on even just a little taste of something, then they expect it all the time, and usually you give in and give it; but it can do a number on their digestive system and some human foods are very toxic to animals. So if you don't know what you are giving them is toxic, you could kill them. I am curious on you'lls intake on this.
(04/14/2005)

By Edie

Giving Dogs Pills

Hi Edie, because peanut butter is a common ingredient in many dog biscuits, I think it would be safe. You could also use some dog food the same way. Human food tends to be too salty or sweet (especially chips, candy and sweets) so are not good for dogs. I don't think a little peanut butter would hurt but then I'm not a veterinarian.

Because your chihuahuas are tiny dogs and a little of something bad for them could make more difference than with a large dog, best listen to your vet.

(04/14/2005)

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Giving Dogs Pills

Thanks Susan. :)
(04/14/2005)

By Edie

Giving Dogs Pills

I use the meatball method using the canned dog food. I just say meatball to Nikki twice a day and she runs to the kitchen and waits. She gets 2-4 pills twice daily and I never have a problem. Once, without realizing it, I told my husband I was going to make meatballs and she ran to her spot and waited. It took me awhile to figure out why she was sitting there and waiting. I never realized how attentive she is when I talk. (04/15/2005)

By it's.only.me

Giving Dogs Pills

I use a mortar and pestle and grind up the two different batches of pills then I pour the powder on the canned dog food and mix it a bit both dogs wof it down They are on to the pill in the wiener no luck (04/16/2005)

By Susan from Hamilton

Giving Dogs Pills

I always use peanut butter when giving dogs pills. Much healthier than hotdogs. (04/19/2005)

By Renee

Giving Dogs Pills

I have 2 Yorkies and the only "people" food they get is cottage cheese or raw carrots for a treat. When giving Binky or Barkley a pill, I just mash it up in a tiny bit of cottage cheese. They never hesitate about eating it. This works great for us. (05/04/2005)

By Carmen

Giving Dogs Pills

Easy method to give pills in a pinch if you have no treats, or have a dog that detects pills in treats like mine. I place the pill as far back as I can and hold the muzzle shut and blow in their nose. Be sure to allow enough room for the dog to lick it's nose. If he licks his nose, he's likely swallowed it. If he hasn't you can use a clean spritz bottle with plain water and squirt water in the corner of his mouth so it runs down the back of his throat. Do it slowly, so the dogs don't aspirate the water and it should encourage them to swallow the pill. Be sure to praise afterward.

My dog hates pills, and refuses at all costs to swallow. But we are persistent and now, he swallows without the water or having to blow in his nose, simply place the pill in the back of the throat and wave a satin ball under his nose and it's gone and he's off with his cookie.
(01/12/2006)

By Cinthia

Giving Dogs Pills

I've been trying to give my Shih Tzu a pain pill for post-op pain. All my usual tricks failed and the pill would come out on the floor. Just tried your syringe trick and it worked. Thank you. She'll be more comfortable, now. (07/28/2007)

By Ellie

Giving Dogs Pills

Just say "Cheese Ball", I do believe my MinPin would eat a rock if I hid it in Velveeta Cheese. Heart worm pill, or his allergy pill, good old Velveeta, works every time. IMA3 (10/18/2007)

By Ima James

Giving Dogs Pills

Hola! Just wanted to share with you all that prunes are also bad for our doggie friends, just as grapes and raisins are. As pet owners we only want the best for our four legged companions. Let's not undo the benefits of their medications by putting their pills in foods that are bad for them. Be well everybody! (06/18/2008)

By Odarpi

Giving Dogs Pills

My dog has allergies and we have to give him 2 benadryl pills. I take a piece of cheese (Kraft singles) and break it in half. I put the pills in there and fold the cheese over it and smash it all together so the pills are secure. Works every time. (09/22/2008)

By aj

Giving Dogs Pills

We have tried multiple ways to give our dogs pills. I've tried making a very small meatball out of canned dog food and hiding the pill in the middle, but our one dog doesn't tolerate fat well so the canned food gave him diarrhea. I've also tried the peanut butter trick, but that gave him diarrhea also. I usually take a small round Baby Bell cheese cut it in quarters and hide the pill in one of the quarters, which does work well.

However our vet doesn't want us to do that with some antibiotics are cheese is a dairy product and you can't give some antibiotics with dairy. We tried bread and that didn't work too well either. We do use white rice made in chicken broth, but sometimes if the rice isn't sticky enough you can't make a ball out of it and then you can't hide the pill. I'm afraid to use the "pill pockets" as my vet isn't a fan of anything made by Greenies as they tend to not dissolve well and stay in the stomach. Does anyone have any other ideas? (02/18/2009)

By J.D.

Giving Dogs Pills

My dog needs a pill every day. I just wrap it in a piece of lunch meat like ham, bologna, turkey, whatever I have in the house. I just use 1/2 a slice or even 1/3 if it's a large slice. Works every time. (02/18/2009)

By OliveOyl

Giving Dogs Pills

I have a dog who has taken twice daily medication for years. She currently has to have six pills a day, and she's a very crafty dog in getting pills out. She'll eat the cheese around the pills and spit the pills out. Peanut butter doesn't work either as she'll lick out with her tongue to get the pill out and then eat the peanut butter. You also can't shove the pills down her throat as she'll gag them up every time.

Have a similar problem? The trick is, you have to give them the treat 1-3 times before sticking the pill in. That way you build up trust, as they will be suspicious and probe around. For example, if I put it in canned food, I let her lick it off my fingers twice, and then I hide the pill in it the third time and she'll lick it right down.

The best thing to do, though, is boil some chicken. Cube it and then feed them a piece or two, and then hide the pill in it. I've found that even if she tastes the pill, she will still eat it because she loves the chicken.

Hope that helps someone. (02/21/2009)

By Jonathan

Giving Dogs Pills

Whenever you need to give a dog pills, I found that string cheese" works best. I tend to buy the white because that's what I like. Slice off a little bit of it (depending on pill size). Either stick it in the cheese OR wrap the cheese around it. I haven't had any trouble Giving Pills since. (04/03/2009)

By Kathaleen Ray

Giving Dogs Pills

I have never had any problem giving my dogs pills.

I simply open the dog's mouth wide, put the pill on the dog's tongue and then push it well back to almost the throat. Gross? Maybe, but I don't have to deal with all the treats and wrapping meats and cheeses and such. It doesn't hurt the dog, it doesn't make them choke, they don't wince in pain, they simply swallow the pill - providing you have shoved it back far enough, and that's it.

Okay - the aftermath is slimy dog saliva all over your hand. Whatever, just wash your hands well. I JUST got done doing that with a guest dog - I do a dog sitting service and an owner brought a dog that is on antibiotics. It is so easy, though, with guaranteed results versus everything I have read here.
(07/25/2009)

By BenB1

Giving Dogs Pills

I never had any trouble with my beagle and pills until just recently. He hurt his neck in deep snow and will not take a pill. If I try to open his mouth and put it in, he resists and yelps from the pain. He will not take them wrapped in cheese or other food. I finally crushed the pills and added a tiny (very tiny, a few drops) bit of water to make a thin paste. I can get this on my finger and wipe it in his lips and gums and he gets his pills this way. It works, thank God. (02/21/2010)

By Stephen Roedel

Giving Dogs Pills

Liverwurst is fabulous for this. MediCrunch is a product that my vet offers - that you can buy online. The outside of the treat is hard, the middle is soft so you tuck a pill into the middle. The dog can't lick off the coating you've added, so you might surprise him with this new treat! I wish the same thing existed for liquid medicine! (03/13/2010)

By Pet Lover

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January 30, 2010

Giving Pills to Dogs. My Jack Russell has been given amoxicillin 250mg capsules that he must take twice a day.

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April 15, 2011

My chihuahua hates to take pills and I was afraid to hurt her by placing the pill down her throat. I put the pill in a pill cutter and pulverize it to a powder.

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March 2, 2011

We take a small bit of bread, place the pill in the center of the bread, and press with our fingers around the pill.

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November 18, 2010

How can I get my dog (a 9 year old Westie) to take her pills? I have tried hiding it in every food possible. She always eats the food and dumps the pill on the floor.

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