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How to Give Your Dog a Pill

Being your dog's best friend means getting her to take her medicine when she needs it. Here are a few tricks to help the medicine go down!


  • Step 1: Make dog sit Make your dog sit.
  • TIP: Never call a dog to you in order to give her medicine. You don't want her to associate being called with being dosed! Always seek her out yourself.
  • Step 2: Pry open mouth Use one hand to pry your dog's mouth open. With your other hand, pop the pill way back into her mouth. Make sure the pill goes behind the back of her tongue.
  • TIP: A second person to help may come in handy if your dog is especially large or wriggly.
  • Step 3: Hold mouth closed With one hand, hold the dog's mouth closed, snout pointing up, while gently rubbing her throat with your other hand.
  • Step 4: Wait for swallow Once the dog swallows and licks her lips, you can be sure that the pill is safely down.
  • TIP: Stay nearby until you know the pill's been swallowed. Plenty of dogs are adept at concealing their meds and spitting them out later.
  • Step 5: Check with vet If you're having difficulty, check with your vet to see if it's safe to give your dog a pill concealed in food and, if so, try hiding the medicine in something soft like cheese, cream cheese, or peanut butter. Let the dog lick your fingers after you feed her the pill—that will ensure she swallows.
  • TIP: Be sure to tell your vet what food you might try—some foods interact badly with certain medications.
  • Step 6: Crush pill If your dog doesn't fall for the pill-in-the-food trick, crush the pill, mix it with a little sugar water, and use a baby syringe to squirt the liquid into the dog's mouth.
  • Step 7: Try pill gun Still not working? Try a pill gun (available from your vet or local pet store) to propel the pill down the dog's throat.
  • Step 8: Give a treat When the pill is all gone, praise your dog, pat her, and give her a nice treat to take away the taste!
  • FACT: Blowing on a dog's nose will encourage it to swallow.

You Will Need

  • A pooch in need of a pill
  • Dog pills
  • And some dog treats
  • A helper (optional)
  • A small amount of cheese
  • cream cheese
  • or peanut butter (optional)
  • Some sugar water (optional)
  • An infant medicine syringe (optional)
  • And a canine pill gun (optional)

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