dog catch treat pill

3 Stress-Free Tips for Giving Your Dog Medicine

There are dogs that will eat anything, including the mysterious glob on the sidewalk.

But most pups need a little convincing when it comes to pills, capsules or oversized medicinal tablets. To your dog, these pills usually have a deterring smell, require too much chewing or are too large to comfortably swallow. And dogs that are typically wary of new foods might have an even harder time gobbling them down. If your dog throws a fuss when it’s time for their daily dose of meds, here are 3 stress-free tips for giving your dog medicine.

Hide the pill in food

The easiest way to make the medicine go down is to hide the pill in wet dog food. Using their daily kibble may not be enough motivation for them to eat, so you want to use food that’s irresistible to your pet. Try giving them a new flavor of their favorite dog food or a base mix with raw meat. You only need a small amount, about a quarter of a cup, of dog food to do this. Submerse the pill into the food and cover it completely. Your goal is to have your dog quickly devour the meal so they don’t detect the smell or taste of it. If you notice your pup is working his way around the pill, remove the food and hold it away for a few seconds. Recover the pill with the remaining food and then give it back. Repeat a few times and your dog will realize he needs to slurp it up quickly or he may miss out! However, you should only try this if your dog isn’t food aggressive.

Alternate the pill with tasty treats

Sometimes you need to use a slight of hand to convince your pet to take his pills. Pull out the big guns. You can use pure fish treats, last night’s left over steak, cut-up hot dogs, or even some of your lunch meat. Take three pieces of your tasty treat. Roll the pill in one of the pieces. Give your dog a treat without a pill first, and then quickly follow it up with the pill treat. Hold the third (empty) treat next to your dog’s nose as he eats the pill treat so he knows another one is on the way. Even though your dog may taste the medicine, he will chew and swallow fast in anticipation of more tasty treats!

Toss the pill in the air

This method works great for athletic or fun-loving dogs. If you often toss treats or balls into the air for your pup to catch, then try tossing the pill into the air. Simple and effective, your dog will be too caught up in showing off his catching skills to realize he just swallowed his meds. You can place the pill in a pill pocket, cover with peanut butter or use the alternating treat method (see #2) for better odds. How do you give your dog their medicine? Share your tip with us in the comments below!

Rebekah Olsen

Rebekah Olsen is a professional writer and wordsmith. She has a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Memphis, and enjoys writing about pet care. You can learn more about her at
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