You would do anything for your pet, especially when it comes to their health. However, giving your pet medicine is often easier said than done. From the dog that runs and hides to the kitty that won’t come down from the highest shelf, pets can be stubborn. But you can’t give up, because your pet needs his medication, whether it’s for monthly flea prevention, an acute illness, or a chronic disease. So, what do you do?
Before you stress yourself (and your pet) out, try these tips for giving medicine to your pet. From creative tricks to helpful products, you’re sure to find one that makes the process easier.
Tricks to Help Your Pet Take Medicine
If giving your pet medicine has you pulling your hair out, try some of these tricks before you have to schedule an emergency appointment with your hairdresser.
Disguise the Medicine
A popular way to trick your pet into taking medicine is to make it look, smell, and taste like something else. For pills, you can try slathering peanut butter over them or try stuffing them into a piece of bread, bacon, or cheese.
You can also mix it into your pet’s food bowl during their regular mealtime, although doing so with canned food might be best. It is not unlikely for an incredibly headstrong pet to eat their entire bowl of kibble, only to leave behind the one solitary pill. Therefore, always ensure your pet has actually consumed the medicine when giving it to them in disguise.
Use the “Sandwich Method”
If your pet has a treat that they absolutely adore, you can use this to your advantage by employing the “sandwich method.” Before you start grabbing the bread and mayo...this isn’t about making an actual sandwich. It’s about how you give the medicine to your pet.
Start by feeding your pet a few bits of the irresistible food item. Then, sneak in the pill and immediately follow it with another piece of their favorite food. If your pal tends to be a fast eater, this might be a perfect method for you.
Try Changing the Delivery Method
Some animals struggle with taking pills for reasons beyond simply not liking the taste. For example, if your furry friend has sensitive teeth, chewing a hard tablet could be quite tricky. Talk to your vet about alternative forms of the medication, like a powder or liquid.
Or, ask your veterinarian if you can crush the pill into a powder and mix it with something like peanut butter, cream cheese, or yogurt. You can then place the mixture in a small bowl for your pet to enjoy. The critical point here is to ask your vet. You should never alter any medication for your pet unless you get the green light from the doctor.
Instead of making this a stressful task, turn this into a game. Take a handful of treats and throw them one at a time into the air. After a few throws, swap a treat for their medication. Your dog will be having too much fun catching the treats that he won’t notice the difference. This method will work best for dogs.
Products That Make It Easier to Give Your Pet Medicine
Sometimes, trying to trick your pet just won’t work. Somehow, there are always those pets that just know, no matter what you try. Luckily, the struggle to give pets medication is one that many people face, so several products are available to help.
For example, for liquid medications, it’s typical to use a small syringe device, like this one from Essential Pet. Your vet will usually give you one along with the medication, but if not, you can buy one at any drugstore.
Fill the syringe with the liquid, then place it in your pet’s mouth, gently close their jaws, and stroke their throat as you dispense the medication to encourage them to swallow. You can also make your pet want to lap it up right out of the syringe by mixing it with a tasty liquid. Just make sure to check with your vet first to ensure you don’t throw off the dosage.
You can try making your own pill pockets out of some of your pet’s favorite treats, but you can also purchase ready-made ones that come in irresistible flavors for your pet. These pockets mask the texture and the taste of the medicine, with flavors like liver, beef, and other pet temptations. You simply put the pill inside the pocket, pinch it closed, and give it to your pet.
Here are a few pill pockets you can check out to see if they’re right for your pal:
- Greenie Pill Pockets Canine Chicken Flavor (also available in other flavors, like peanut butter, cheese, and hickory smoke)
- Greenie Pill Pockets Cat Salmon (also available in other flavors, like tuna & cheese, and chicken)
Of course, some pets have mastered the art of eating the pill pocket and then spitting out the pill. If this applies to your beloved furry friend, then you’ll have to go with one of the other tips or tricks.
In some cases, your pet might not eat a pill because it’s too big. If this is the only problem, then you are in luck. You can purchase a pill cutter at any drugstore to easily cut the pill down to a more manageable size for your pet. It’s also possible that your vet will cut the pills for you when you fill the prescription.
If none of the above tricks or products are helping, you can ask your vet to demonstrate how to use a pill gun. It’s a syringe-looking device that allows you to place the pill in the back of your pet’s mouth.
Although you might not prefer it to other methods, if nothing else works, it’s better than putting your whole hand in your pet’s mouth and risking a bite. However, it might make your pal a little nervous at first, so if you plan to use it, train your pet to get used to it first.
Let them see it, smell it, etc., without trying to actually use it on them. Then, put some yummy stuff on the end of it, like peanut butter or tuna, and let your pet lick it. Gradually put it a little further into your pet’s mouth until they seem to be more used to it. Once you’ve reached that point, you can attempt to give the meds with the pill gun.
Here are some pill guns you can try:
- Jorvet Pet Pill Gun for Dogs and Cats (comes as a 12-pack)
- VetOne Pet Piller for Dogs and Cats (comes as a 12-pack)
After a little trial and error, you’re sure to find a way that will be the perfect “spoonful of sugar” for giving medicine to your pet. Knowledge is power when it comes to being a pet parent, which is why at Neater Pets we like to fill our blog with all sorts of helpful tips and resources. Instead of dreading challenging pet-related tasks, you can breathe easier, and rest assured your pet has what he needs to stay happy and healthy. Now that’s an easy pill to swallow.