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How to Get Your Dog to Take Its Medication

 by jaime on 11 May 2014 |
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There have been amazing advances in the field of veterinary medicine, including many new medications to treat both chronic and acute illnesses. One thing has not changed, however, and that is the difficulty many pet owners face when trying to get their dogs to take a pill.


Dogs are very food-oriented, but they are also very cautious. That caution helped protect their canine ancestors, who needed to remain alert for poisons and other harmful substances. In the modern world, however, that natural caution often stands in the way and prevents our canine companions from getting the medication they need to get well and stay well.


If you have recently come home from the veterinarian with a prescription or a vial of pills, you will need to think about how best to get that medication into your dog. There are a number of tricks you can use to get your dog to take its medication, and you may need to do some experimenting to see which method works the best.


No matter which method you use, you will need to watch and make sure your dog really does swallow the pill you give it. Dogs are sneaky, and they often appear to take their medication, only to drop it off in a hidden corner of the room. Taking a quick survey of the room and looking for lost pills will help make sure your dog gets the medicine it needs.


The Lunchmeat Trick


One of the simplest ways to get your dog to take its pill is to wrap it in a piece of lunchmeat. This trick is well known to many dog owners, and it can work surprisingly well. The lunchmeat trick is best suited to dogs who are very food-oriented. If your dog tends to gulp its food and eat very quickly, wrapping the pill in a favorite treat can be very effective.


Pill Pockets

The pill pocket is a variation on the old lunchmeat trick, and it can work very well for dogs who have caught on to the older trick. Pill pockets are specially designed to disguise the pill so that dogs cannot sense either its size or shape. Pill pockets are available at many pet stores, and it is a good idea for dog owners to keep a few on hand. If your dog loves to eat, you should be able to get it to take its pill with a pill pocket.


Pill Gun

If you cannot sneak a pill to your dog by hiding it in food, a pill gun may be a better solution. With a pill gun, you simply place the medication in the device, place the end of the pill gun in the dog's mouth and press a plunger. The pill gun essentially shoots the pill down your dog's throat, making it easier to get the medication into your dog. It can take some practice to learn how to use the gun, and you will need to watch to make sure the dog does indeed swallow the pill.


Paste Medications

If none of the above options work, you may need to look for another solution. Many popular pet medications, including antibiotics and anti-inflammatory treatments, are available in paste form. Paste medications are often easier for your dog to take. Some are even flavored to make them more enticing. Since the paste is sticky, your dog will not be able to spit it out or avoid it. If your dog is reluctant to take pills, you can ask your vet if the medication is available in paste form instead.


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