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Giving Pills to Your Dog: How Do You Do It?
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The Rainbow Bridge

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13 March 2010 - 5:37 pm
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There's a lot of talk about pills and supplements here at Tripawds, like this conversation from 09/08. And as you all know, pills don't exactly taste good. Most of us dogs will do anything we can to avoid taking them.

Today I saw this recommendation for giving pills to a dog, by Cesar Milan (People Tricks: Give Pills Like a Pro):

  • Hold the pill in your dominant hand between your thumb and forefinger.
  • With your other hand, gently squeeze your dog’s back teeth and lift his jaw toward the ceiling.
  • Using a free finger on your dominant hand, lower his bottom jaw, place the pill on the back of his tongue, then hold his mouth closed.
  • Blow on his nose. If he licks it, the pill is gone!

Hmmm…seems easy enough for us to tolerate. What do you tink?

So I wanted to ask you all,

How do you give pills to your pup?

Cream cheese? Peanut butter? A Kong? Pills hidden in pizza?

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13 March 2010 - 5:49 pm
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well I’m gonna be watching this topic! Magic used to be really easy til the bone biopsy when I was giving pain pills three times a day, three antibiotics twice a day and his rimadyl…which was chewable so he generally ate that. I used to roll the pill in some raw hamburger or ground chicken (I get a chicken/liver ground mixture that i microzap and mix with some benefil wet food then I package it in the benefil containers and mix it with about a cup of kibble…trying to take a bit of weight off him before this happened) I also roll it in thin cut lunch meat. Worked like a charm til last wed, the day he went to the vet…then he would take the ball of hamburger or lunch meat, open his mouth and let it drop on the ground…uhoh….and right now he isn’t eating damn it….so I’m going to be watching for ideas….and I shall try getting it on the back of his tongue…do i sound uncertain? yep, i am

Here and Now

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13 March 2010 - 6:19 pm
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We’ll repeat what we said in this post about getting dogs to take pills …

Check out this existing topic has great suggestions for getting dogs to take their medication.

We were lucky enough to have Jerry gobble up all his K9 Immunity pills with his morning meal. For other supplements given without food, however, we simply placed them down the back of his throat by hand. If your dog is Ok with this, it may work best. And if you mom is not OK doing so, she can try using a Pill Gun …

We found this Pill Gun at, for about $2.90 each…

Pill Gun

Liverwurst and cream cheese are other suggestions that often work, as well as the Pill Pockets.

Dr. Patty Khuly also wrote about Drug delivery methods for picky pets and why they matter in her Dolittler blog a while back.

Got lots of pills to give? Save on bulk six-packs of Pill pockets from Entirely Pets

6PK Pill Pockets LARGE Dog 47.4 oz (180 Chicken pockets)
6PK Pill Pockets LARGE Dog 47.4 oz (180 Chicken pockets)

Now in a convenient 6-pack! Every day millions of pet owners are faced with the task of medicating their pets. How many ways have you tried to trick your pet into taking medication? Like most pet owners you’ve poked them down, ground them up, hidden them in any number of unhealthy foods and pleaded with your pet to swallow its medication, only to have your pet spit it out, eat everything but the medication, drool and foam at the mouth, and resist you, tooth and claw! Now there is a better way. Pill Pockets® are healthy treats with a patented pocket to safely conceal the medicine – it’s as simple as that. Pill Delivery treat Chicken Flavored No Mess, No Stress Made from human-grade meats Highly palatable flavor Eliminates need to use fattening substitutes such as cheese and peanut butter Does not promote table food begging No refrigeration needed Easy to use re-sealable pouch Veterinarian designed and recommended

Kirkland, WA
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13 March 2010 - 10:01 pm
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I've tried pill pockets, deli meats, peanut butter, regular butter, and cream cheese.  The only one that had a zero success rate was the pill pocket.  I am sticking with the cream cheese because it sticks to the pill so you can use less of it, and it comes in a variety of flavors! 

Las Vegas, Nevada
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13 March 2010 - 10:05 pm
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I'm a peanut butter fan, myself.  My trick is to use a plastic knife (the kind for picnics) and use the handle portion to glob the peanut butter (while holding the ridged end).  When they open their mouth, I scrape the knife handle behind their teeth so the peanut butter sticks to the roof of their mouths.  I've never had a pill fall out yet.  And I never had anyone complain.  Plus, I don't have to touch any slobber or gooey stuff!

I used to do sliced cheese but that didn't work with tramadol since it is super bitter.

I know someone that cuts up bite size wieners and make theirs own pill pocket with their fingernail.   I'm too cheap for hot dogs every day!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Pahrump, NV
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13 March 2010 - 10:21 pm
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Sadie never had trouble with pills. A little peanut butter was all it took, until….tramadol. I put it in peanut butter, hot dogs, hamburger, cheese, I crushed it and put it over wet food (that was the worst) Finally I discovered pill pockets. I think every dog is different, but for Sadie it was all about the pill pockets. There was one day after her surgery while she was still in the hospital that all she would eat was pill pockets. So, give them a try and if they don't work, sand them to Sadie!

Sadie is my 9yr old Rott/Shepherd mix. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her right scapula 1/28/10. Our brave girl had her amputation 2/13/10 and her last chemotherapy on 6/6/10. Unfortunately, a tumor appeared in her back right leg and on 10/7/2010 Sadie's earthly journey came to an end.  On 10/24/2010 we adopted Ranger, a handsome Rott/Lab mix tripawd (got hit by a car) I think Sadie sent him to us.

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14 March 2010 - 11:57 am
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Holly’s usual is peanut butter. But the tramadol didn’t always work in that, and she wasn’t liking her anti-nausea pills in that (I’m wondering if they’re bitter, too?) (she took metoclopramide). Once she gets something that tastes bad in peanut butter she won’t take it again for a few days. Then I use the pill-on-the-back-of-the-tongue method, which usually works. Sometimes she gets really stubborn, though, and will not swallow! I’ll have to try the trick of blowing on her nose – maybe that’ll work! Stroking her neck/throat sometimes helps, too.

Great suggestions here, though – I feel like now I’ve got lots of options to try – hot dogs, pill pockets, deli meats – all worth trying if PB won’t work!

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

Coquitlam, B.C. Canada
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14 March 2010 - 12:47 pm
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For Tehya I bought the big box of perogies from Costco and would cut them in half and hide the pills in the middle. I always let her see that there was more to come and she would just gobble them down without chewing (but then she was a Golden). Worked like a charm and very cheap to do. It just took a little bit of time to boil up a few every couple of days.

Los Angeles
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14 March 2010 - 2:19 pm
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I’ve had the best success with the Pill Pockets for Mackenzie (as noted above, they come in two sizes – one for capsules and one for tablets and two flavors – chicken and beef.) What I found to be good about Pill Pockets is that even if they don’t want to eat them you can put them in the back of their throat and then they will swallow them cause they’re soft and slippery. I’ve found this to be the easiest way for us. Some of these other suggestions like the perogies :), hot dogs, peanut butter, etc., seem like they would work well too. Kami (Mackenzie’s Mom)

My sweet golden Mackenzie.  She became my angel on Dec 29, 2010 at the age of 8 1/2  although she was always my angel from the time we brought her home.  She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in Sept 2009 and officially became a tripawd (front leg) on Nov 5, 2009.  She will be forever in my heart and now she's running free with all of our other tripawd heroes.  I love you Mackenzie!

Las Vegas, Nevada
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14 March 2010 - 2:30 pm
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her anti-nausea pills in that (I'm wondering if they're bitter, too?

OH, Holly's mom I dare you to TRY ONE! 

I've taken a Tramadol to see what kind of effects it had so I could understand what she was experiencing! Plus, I needed it for pain one day. I made the mistake of telling my vet I took one of hers and now I get a great big warning label on the bottle that says it's illegal to take meds not prescribed for the person on the label!  (I'm no joking about it either)

Generic Cometdog

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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14 March 2010 - 6:29 pm
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Oh, dawg – she took her last anti-nausea pill so I can’t taste it to see how bitter it is. Not that I’m really that disappointed, mind you! Hilarious that your vet now plasters Comet’s pills with warnings…

And you’re anything but generic to us, Cool Cat Comet!
Holly and Holly’s mom

Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

14 March 2010 - 9:52 pm
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My biggest challenge in the past with Maggie is that she chews almost everything. Once she finds a pill hidden in any food she won't eat that food for weeks. And she is so little that pill pockets are to big for her- she chews them up and finds the pill (that is when she used to even try them).  I have found lately that the back of the tongue method works the best when she won't take food, which is frequently the case now. I call it pill stuffing.  I have tried hiding pills in all kinds of foods, sprinkling on food, and pill shooters, she has always been really difficult. 

The trick with Maggie was to get the pill hidden in something small enough that she would swallow it, not chew it. I have had to split pills in the past since almost anything is too big for her not to chew. 

What has worked for us sometimes is melting a little piece of cheese (I use cheddar)  in the micro for a few seconds- just to get is soft and oily.  Then wrap the pill in just enough cheese to cover it.  I give Mag a small, clean piece of cheese first, and if she swallows then the piece with the pill.  The advantage with this I have found over cream cheese is that the melted cheese is not sticky, and is in fact slippery.  So even if she won't take it on her own is slides down pretty easy when I have to stuff it down.

Karen and the reluctant pug girl (and the other one who is easy- pill wise)

Northern Indiana
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15 March 2010 - 9:39 pm
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We have used cream cheese, liver sausage, peanut butter, and Paris’ favorite was bananas….she loved her fruits and veggies!!  You have to get creative, I know what Karen means, if Paris chewed too much and found the pill that was it, we had to start over.

Grateful for every moment we had with Paris… regrets!

Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!

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