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The Best Ways to Give Medication to Your Stubborn Pet

(April 6, 2022)

Our pets can sometimes be the worst patients! They don’t know that the pill you need to give them will help them feel better, they just know it tastes yucky. Here are some reliable ways to give medication to your pet if they seem to see through your tricks!

Where to begin?

If you’re here reading this, your pet likely doesn’t want to just take that pill and eat it like a treat. The first basic tricks to try are to drop the pill in their food bowl and see if they eat it without noticing. You can also roll it up in a high-value treat like some lunch meat, bread, or peanut butter. Make sure this treat is very valuable to your pet and tasty as well to mask the taste of the bitter medication.

Dr. Westbrook goes into more detail on the FOX 26 and Houston SPCA Pet Pawcast below!

Now what?

Is your furry friend still spitting out that pill? It’s time to take it up a notch.

Pill Pockets

You can purchase treats specifically designed to hide a pill without it falling out. This makes it more difficult for your pet to chew the yummy treat and spit out the medication.

The pill is stuffed snugly into the pocket so that it’s impossible for your pet to eat the yummy treat without also swallowing the medication inside.

Pill Poppers

Also available for purchase are pill poppers, which look a lot like syringes. Once the pill is in place, you can hold your pet’s snout and bring the pill to the side of their mouth where they will automatically open up. Slide the popper behind their teeth and as close to their throat as possible. Then, deploy the pill! Gently hold their snout closed until you’re sure they’ve swallowed and won’t spit the pill back up. This gets the medication directly and effectively where it needs to go.

The more basic version of this method is to just use your hands! If you’re not afraid of a little slobber, you can place the pill at the back of your pet’s tongue and hold their snout closed. Once they lick their nose, you’ll know it’s down the hatch!

Helpful tips to give medication effectively

Still having some trouble? There are a few extra tips to try if your pet is a pro at evading medication.

  • Get a helper! Sometimes an extra set of hands can help keep your pet under more firm control while you medicate them.
  • Have your helper wrap up your cat in a towel to keep them comforted as well as contain their paws from getting in the way.
  • If after a few tries, the pill is dissolving and sticky, throw it away and get a fresh pill. Be sure to tell your veterinarian you may be running out of your medication more quickly.
  • When your pet does take a pill without too much fuss, be sure to reward this behavior! Make taking medication a positive experience for them.

ADOPT: Browse our available pets!

When all else fails, talk to your family veterinarian. You don’t want a daily medication routine to consistently stress your pet out. You can ask about alternative forms of the medication they need or some additional tips and tricks to help even the most stubborn of pets.

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