VCA Animal Hospitals

Tips for giving your dog a pill

Published: Jun 29, 2012

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A number of dog illnesses can be cured with pills and other forms of medicine, so it is a good idea to understand the basics of giving medication to dogs.

If your pet is prescribed a medication, ask your veterinarian if it can be given with food, since concealing a pill inside a piece of cheese or a scoop of peanut butter can be one of the best and easiest ways to make sure the dog swallows the whole thing.

If you cannot use this method, there are ways to grasp your dog's muzzle to get her to swallow the pill without causing any harm. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends sitting your dog in a safe and comfortable area and lubricating the pill with butter so it slips down the throat easily. Hold the pill in your dominant hand and gently grasp your dog's muzzle with your other hand, then open her mouth by placing your thumb behind the teeth on the upper jaw with your fingers on the other side.

When you tilt your dog's head toward the ceiling, the lower jaw will usually drop open, and you can use your dominant hand to open her mouth widely and place the pill as far back on her tongue as possible, VCA reports. Then allow her mouth to close and gently rub her throat to help her swallow. Giving a small treat after the medication will ensure she swallowed the pill. Always observe your dog for several minutes after this process to ensure she doesn’t spit the pill back out.   

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