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How to Get Your Dog to Take His Pill

September 15, 2018

Getting your dog to take a pill can often be one of the hardest parts of owning a canine companion. Many of our dogs are very finicky about this sort of thing! Here are some tips and tricks from a Salem, VA veterinarian to help your dog swallow his pill with minimal fuss.

With Food

Oftentimes, the easiest way to have your dog swallow a pill is to hide the medicine in food. Try pressing your dog’s pill into a glob of wet dog food, into the center of a treat, or wrapping it in a roll of deli meat. With luck, your pooch will gobble up the tasty morsel without even knowing there was a pill there! Just check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog’s pill is safe to be taken with food; some medications are meant to be taken on an empty stomach.

The Tossing Trick

If your dog is the type to catch treats mid-air as they’re tossed at him, try using it to your advantage. Gather a few dog treats in one hand and your dog’s pill in the other. Toss a treat or two to your pooch, then the pill, then another treat or two. Do it seamlessly enough, and your dog will be totally fooled!


In some cases, you’ll be able to crush or grind up your dog’s pill into a powder, then sprinkle it over meals or stir it directly into Fido’s food. Always check with your vet first before doing this, though. Crushing a pill may make it ineffective, or—in the case of timed-release capsules—it might introduce too much medicine to your dog’s system at one time. This can prove very dangerous!

Chewable Pills

Were you aware that many pills, as well as dietary supplements, preventative medicines, and vitamins, now come in chewable and/or flavored varieties? They’re most often made to taste like a dog treat, so our canine companions tend to gobble them up happily. Check with your veterinarian to see if your dog’s medications happen to come in a chewable version.

Manual Administration

Especially picky dogs will just have to take their pill the old-fashioned way: manual administration. Gently pry open your dog’s jaws, drop the pill in the mouth, close the jaws tightly, and stroke the throat to stimulate swallowing.

Need help giving your dog a pill? Call your Salem, VA vet clinic today!

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