How to Pill Your Dog

April 13, 2022

So, the veterinarian has sent you and your not-so-well dog home with a bottle of pills and some instructions.

Don't worry. Giving pills to your dog is just a matter of know-how and plenty of praise. Here are the steps to follow. Note: Giving a pill to your dog is not the same as giving a pill to your cat.

Pilling a Dog

  1. Gently take hold of the head from above, placing your thumb and fingers on either side of the muzzle. Squeeze firmly in and up just behind the canine teeth ("fangs"). The dog's mouth should open.
  2. Use your free hand to hold on to the pill while lowering the animal's jaw. With the mouth open wide, place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, pushing it even farther with your index finger.
  3. Gently close and hold the muzzle while your dog swallows. You can encourage this by stroking the underside of the throat downward.
  4. Finally, give your dog lots of praise and reinforcement each time he swallows a pill.

Here are additional helpful tips for pilling your dog:

The more quickly you perform the above steps, the better.

Film-coated pills are best. They go down more easily and don't dissolve as quickly, which is important if it takes you more than one try.

If you can't get the pill down, try disguising it in something your dog loves (example: peanut butter or cream cheese).

Check with your veterinarian, because some medication should not be given with food.

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