The Animal Medical Center, New York City
I have to give my dog a pill three times a day for a week. He is impossible! I can’t make him swallow it, no matter what trick I use. I’ve even tried crushing the pill into his favorite treat, but he’ll have none of that. Do you have any advice?
You are not alone; successfully giving medications is a constant challenge. First, ask the assistant or technician at your local veterinary clinic for a lesson in giving medications. Inquire at the clinic if the medication comes in a chewable tablet or a liquid formulation. If it doesn’t, a clever way to give pills to both dogs and cats is to use “Pill Pockets.” Pill pockets are a soft, edible treat with a pocket for hiding the pill. They can be found in most pet supply stores. The treat can be compressed around a pill to disguise it. If your pet doesn’t like the taste of “Pill Pockets”, try peanut butter, cream cheese, Velveeta cheese, or really soft white bread with the crust ripped off. If success still eludes you, ask your veterinarian to have the medication compounded. A specialized pharmacist will flavor a bad-tasting medication with tuna, beef, chicken, or even marshmallow, making your job a breeze.
Dr. Ann Hohenhaus is a board certified specialist in both oncology and small animal internal medicine. She has been a practicing veterinarian for over 25 years at The Animal Medical Center in New York City.