How to help your dog take its medicine

how to help your dog take its medicine

It can be one of the most frustrating things in the world to see your dog in pain, knowing that if they’d just play along and take their medicine that they would begin to feel much better. However, an aversion to swallowing pills or other medication is not uncommon among dogs and there are a few ways to make it less of a struggle.

Before you try any of our sneaky tricks, you should try the most basic method of getting your dog to take a tablet or capsule by mouth. First get your dog to sit upright, tilt their head slightly back and open their jaw gently. Now, place the medication relatively far back on their tongue and close up their mouth. Next, keep your hand over the top and bottom of their mouth with one hand while you gently stroke their throat with the other – this will encourage them to swallow it up. Now, if your dog has managed to get through the process reward them with praise or a treat.

In the same way that many parents like to sneak vegetables on to their children’s plate to make sure they get some nutrition, we can do the same thing with our pets. Sneaking medicine into your dog’s food bowl so that they gobble it all up together can be a great way to ensure that they get their dose.

You can also encourage them to take it by dressing up the medicine with a piece of food that they really enjoy, whether that’s smothering it in peanut butter or something else that they won’t be able to help themselves from devouring on sight.

Another way to encourage your dog to take their pills or medication is to have some fun with them. You can make a game of the situation by asking your dog to obey a command such as beckoning them over to you, getting them to sit, or another command. You reward them with treats when they do the task you’ve set, however upon the third or fourth time you can switch the treat for the medication that they so desperately need.

It’s important to remember that before you administer any medication to your dog you need to first read all the instructions and ask your vet if you have any concerns. Equally, if none of these tactics have worked for you then you should contact your vet and let them know that you are struggling. They may be able to help, whether that’s finding another form of medicine that your dog will prefer or offering to administer the medication for you.

For further tips and advice and for more information about dog behaviour therapy sessions, training classes, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and more please visit alternatively call us on 0116 244 2455 to book a session.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists