How to give your pet a pill painlessly

Pet parents the world over experience the same stomach-churning anxiety when it comes to giving medication to their dogs and cats.

You know you’re in for a fight and that you, the parent, are likely to come off worst. Giving oral medication to a cat or dog is a huge challenge but there are simple ways to make the task easier.

Hide your pet’s pill in the yummiest foods

Irresistible butter, peanut butter, cream cheese, salami, and spreadable cheese work well as do ice cream or yoghurt. Dairy is particularly helpful in that it aids swallowing too.

It is important to disguise the pill in a small amount of tempting food so it will not be too bulky and require chewing.

But just sometimes even yummy foods don’t work. Cats are particularly clever in separating the pill from the spread and spitting the pill back out onto the floor. In many instances, even using delectable treats does not guarantee success. Before trying a different tack wait at least half an hour between attempts.

Offer your pet a pre-pill treat

If there’s a treat your pet is particularly crazy about, offer it as a pre-pill primer. Make a huge fuss about giving out the treat. Then give the ‘disguised’ pill, followed by a second treat.

Try liquid medication instead

It’s often easier for pet parents to administer a liquid either directly into a pet’s mouth or mix it into canned pet food or table food. Some medications may even be fish or chicken-flavoured which helps with administration.

Pop the pill directly into your pet’s mouth

This is usually easier with dogs but it can be done with cats. Ask your veterinarian to show you how or view ‘how to’ videos on the internet. You could also consider using a pill ‘gun’ or syringe, a plastic device with a long, straw-like barrel and plunger. The pill is loaded into the syringe and the pill ‘shot’ into the mouth by compressing the plunger. This avoid sharp teeth!

Never force the issue

It is never advisable to use excessive force to give your pet medication. If your pet becomes fearful or growls, abort the mission. Even if the medication is important for your pet’s well-being, it is best to use good judgment and avoid bite wounds. Otherwise, both you and your pet may be taking antibiotics! Rather ask your vet for help.

extracted from an article by Mindy Cohan, VMD, PetMD