Probably the worst thing about medicating your dog is having to medicate your dog. While some of them are easily fooled into taking a pill like candy and seem to be unperturbed by shots, the majority of them are not fooled by the “oh look your pills a treat” routine and are not fans of being stuck by a needle.
We are all familiar with the “spoonful of peanut butter to make the medicine go down” trick. However, not all dogs like peanut butter, and some are very good at licking around the pill and leaving it.
Other options include:
- Hot dog
- Pill pockets
- Cream cheese
- Wet food
If your crafty canine is wise to the disguised pill trick, you can ask to have the medications formulated.
“There are some veterinary hospitals and pharmacies that are able to reformulate the medication into a treat, a liquid, or even a transdermal gel, depending on the meds,” says Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan pet insurance.
Some pharmacies have even formulated special treats that specifically overcome the bitter taste that many medications have by coating each ‘grain’ of medication in a non-bitter envelope, so they can be crushed up and mixed with food.”
Examples of national pharmacies who formulate medications specifically for pets are:
Some owners have to routinely give their dogs shots, such as insulin. While the needles are so thin they are believed to be practically painless, Dr. Benson still recommends making the experience as positive as possible.
“The trick is to not make the task unpleasant or scary for your dog by speaking in an ominous tone or trying to corner your dog,” says Dr. Benson. “Start by having another person hold your dog’s collar and distract your dog with a tasty treat, giving him plenty of pats and praise. Once you’ve given the injection, reward your dog for being good with another treat or lots of praise and some playtime. He’ll soon learn to look forward to “medicine” time – because it’s fun!”
What NOT to Do
Dr. Benson also has some great tips on what not to do, to ensure your dog does not get overly stressed or grow to really hate medication time.
- Do not attempt to hold your dog down by force
- Do not pry his mouth open forcefully (or anything else that might cause him to bite)
- Do not open an encapsulated medication and sprinkle over food or water. They often taste extremely unpleasant and will just make your dog not want to eat. Plus, your dog may not get the full dosage.
About the Author
Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
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