There are several ways to medicate your dog; today we are going to tackle the oral administration. Oral medicine can be contained in forms such as tablets, capsules or liquids. If it is needed, some capsules can be dissolved and introduced into your dog’s organism with the aid of a syringe. Likewise, tablets could be crushed to make the process simpler. Your dog’s veterinarian will advise the best method to give medications to your dog, as well as, the appropriate conditions and moments to give the medicine. For example, on an empty stomach or with foods.

Before giving you some “hacks” on how to give your dog an oral medicine, there are some things that you must remember:

  • There are a few dogs that will take medicines with ease, but definitely, they are the exception! Be patient, and remember that rejecting pills is a normal behavior for your 4-legged friend.
  • Dogs can detect and understand our emotions, if you are anguished, it would only make it harder for your dog.
  • Rewarding your dog after giving her/him the medicine is a great idea, it will probably make your dog collaborate more and more each time that you provide him/her medicines.
  • If you have clear instructions from your veterinarian about how you should provide the medicine to your dog, follow them carefully. Changing the method to give your dog a medicine could end up in a variation of the consequences of the pill itself. Remember that no matter how difficult it is, your dog is a living being that deserves patience and good care.

If it is appropriate to give the medicine with foods, you can study the possibility of preparing your dog´s favorite food and introduce the medication into it. For example, canned food or a meatball with the capsule inside. We recommend you do a sample test first and then evaluate if your dog chews or swallows the meatball directly. If your dog does swallow the meatball directly, it will be easier to proceed with the “pill meatball”, because she/he will not notice the texture nor the flavor of the medication.

If your dog chews the meatball, it will be harder to proceed with the “pill meatball”, he/she will probably reject the characteristics of the pill. Moreover, the contact of the pill with the saliva will start to produce disintegration on the pill, which will make the process messier. For this reason, we recommend this method for dogs with great appetite. Study your dog’s behavior before starting with any procedure.

If the meatball process does not work on your dog, or if your veterinarian prescribes a medicine that should be given on an empty stomach, you should consider another method to introduce the pill. Below you will find a step-by-step guide of how to administer pills  (capsules or tablets), and even liquid solutions, to your dog.

How to directly give a pill to your dog

  • Using your fingers, grasp your dog´s muzzle. Gently press his/her skin against the teeth.
  • While keeping your dog’s lips against the teeth, slip your thumb inside the mouth and carefully press up to his/her palate. To protect your hand against bites, remember to maintain your dog’s lips folded over the upper teeth.
  • Place the pill on the base of the tongue at the back of the throat. If you are not able to get the pill far enough over the base of the tongue, the dog will spit it out. You may need to use your fingers to push the pill over the back of the tongue.
  • Once you feel that your dog swallowed the pill, you should examine the inside of his/her mouth to ensure that the medicine is not still there.
  • After you felt that she/he swallowed, examine inside his/her mouth to ensure that the pill is not still there.

How to provide liquid medicine to your dog

  • Fill a syringe with the adequate amount of liquid medication (or dissolved pill).
  • Carefully elevate your dog´s head.
  • Form a pocket with one of the lips, try to pull them up so that the liquid can enter into the mouth between the teeth to reach the throat.
  • Administer the liquid carefully, make sure that while you do it, your dog is swallowing it.