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.   


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.