Creative Ways to Get Your Dog To Take Their Medicine


If you stop and think about it for a second, dogs and kids are kind of the same. I can hide medication in my 4-year-old’s food or drink and she knows before she even takes a bite that it’s in there, even if she wasn’t home to see me sticking it in there. The same is true of dogs. When your dog needs to take medication for a health issue, it’s never fun to make it happen. We all assume we can just hide a pill in a bowl of food, but dogs often sniff that out and give you the, “Do you honestly think I’m that stupid,” sneer before turning up their noses and walking away.


Now it’s time to try something else, but you’re not sure what to try. Perhaps you might try and hold your kids down and force them to take their medication but if you have a larger dog, this might seem scary and probably stupid. All those big, sharp, shiny teeth; they make it seem like less of a genius idea. When it’s time to get creative and crafty, no one like a dog owner or a parent knows more. That’s why we are here to tell you exactly how creative you might have to get to make sure your dog is taking his medication when he needs it most.

Too often, people forgo giving their dogs their medication because it’s easier to give it up than it is to force the dog into something he or she does not want to do. Perhaps he’s already taken half of it, seems much better and you are just over this entire ordeal and you decide that he’s had enough. It’s not up to you to make this decision since dogs need a full dosage of medication as prescribed by the vet. That’s why you have to learn how to get your dog to take his medication when he needs it, and you have to get creative about it. If you’re running out of options and need a little bit of assistance, we have some creative concepts for you right here.

Turn it into a game

Your dog loves to play catch with dog treats, right? This is what you do; take the dog outside or into a large room and start tossing treats his direction. After the first few, he will be so excited that he will probably inhale these small treats instead of chewing on them as you throw them his direction. Throw him five or six, and make number three or four the one that’s actually his medicine, either put into a treat or by itself, depending on your dog and his intelligence level. If he figures out what you are up to, it’s too late.

If your dog seems to be a bit too smart for something like this, just put the pill inside of something he thinks is delicious, like some sort of people food that’s safe for him to consume and that will get him too excited to notice that it’s not all delicious since his pill is in there. Dogs are cute, and they are wonderful, but sometimes they can be very easily distracted by something as simple as a treat.

Make a medicine treat

Oh yes, this is a good one. What is it that your dog wants to eat more than anything? It’s probably something you make regularly, so use that. You know your dog. You know what makes that animal drool with desire when you are in the kitchen; so make it happen. Before you slather a pill with something amazing, however, ask the vet what’s safe for your dog to consume. You might know what ‘people’ foods are good for him already, but depending on his health condition that requires medication he might not be able to eat everything he was once able to consume.

Now, slather that pill in whatever your dog loves and offer it to him like it’s a treat. Just make sure that it’s something so naturally smelly and tasty that the dog cannot taste the medicine in it or smell it in there before he swallows it whole.

Timing is everything

Veterinarians often recommend that you time your dog’s medication correctly. For example, instead of giving the dog his medication when you are in the middle of dinner, give it to him when he is distracted by something excited. Trips to the dog park and long walks are often a great way to get your dog to take medication because he’s too busy with everything else that’s going on to notice that what you just fed him is not actually something delicious, but medication. Try it; you’d be surprised how frequently this little trick works when it comes to tricking dogs into doing exactly what you want them to do.

Ask the vet for flavored medication

Many different medications used for a variety of purposes are flavored, which might mean that you can get your dog to take them because he’s not sure they are even medication. This might not work with all dogs, since it doesn’t work with all people. I can give my kids flavored medication and they still won’t take it, so it’s not a guarantee that your dog will want something that’s designed to emulate a ‘faux’ flavor. However, it is worth a shot and it does work for many canine companions.

Enlist a little help

Do you have a neighbor, friend or family member that your dog just loves? If you do, you might be able to enlist their help in getting your dog to take his medication. How? Well, sometimes dogs are more likely to accept things from someone that does not live with them because they are distracted by this person or because they want to show their affection by doing what they are told to do. It might work for you, so go ahead and give it a try.

Photo by Getty Images

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