You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but that same rule doesn’t apply to the dog’s owner. If your pet simply refuses to take medication, you may feel exasperated and helpless. Fortunately, there are probably some tricks for giving your dog medication that you haven’t tried yet.
1. Peanut butter
Dogs love peanut butter; this fact is almost universally true. As a pet owner, you’ve probably learned by now that peanut butter is a great way to get your dog to do practically anything – and taking his medication is no exception. If the med is in liquid form, simply mix it into a tablespoon of peanut butter and let your dog lick it right off the spoon. If it’s a pill, you will need to crush it into a fine powder before mixing it with the peanut butter.
If you’re giving liquid meds and the peanut butter trick doesn’t work, try using a syringe. Just squirt the medication directly into your pup’s mouth, using one hand to keep his mouth open. Make sure you aim the syringe towards the back of your dog’s throat so he can’t spit the liquid back out.
3. Hot dogs
What dog can resist a hot dog? To use this method, just cut a hot dog frank into bite-sized pieces for your dog. Then take the pill and shove it into the center of the hot dog. With any luck, your dog will chew the hot dog quickly and swallow the pill without ever knowing it was there.
If your dog doesn’t like hot dogs, cheese may also do the trick. Grab a cube or chunk of cheese, then push the pill into the center. Hopefully, your dog will eat the whole thing without noticing the pill.
5. Pill Pockets
Pill pockets are a fairly new invention for administering meds to your dog. They’re available at your local supermarket, and they come in all different flavors. You simply shove the pill into the center of the pocket, then give the treat to your dog.
6. The “3 Treat” method
If the tricks above don’t work, try combining one of them with the “3 Treat” method. First, offer your pet a normal treat, such as a cube of cheese. Then, offer your pet a cube of cheese with the pill in it, without letting him see you put the pill in the treat. Finally, offer another plain cube of cheese. By sandwiching the pill treat in between the regular ones, your dog will never suspect that anything is amiss.
7. The Manual method
If all the above tricks don’t work, you will need to resort to the manual method. This isn’t necessarily fun for either you or your pet, but it doesn’t have to be traumatic if you stay calm and talk softly throughout the process. First, gently open your pet’s mouth, then quickly place the pill on the back of his tongue. Shut his mouth again, then hold it closed while you rub your dog’s throat with your other hand. This helps him swallow the pill more easily. Finally, check to be sure he actually swallowed the pill.
Hopefully, your pet’s medication is easy to administer. Pills are notoriously difficult, while ointments like Terramycin are much easier. If your dog has difficulty taking a medication in one form, you can ask your vet for alternatives. With any luck, you’ll find a medication that’s easy and effective.