How To Give A Dog A Pill: 5 Useful Tips You May Not Expect

how to give a dog a pill

If you are a dog owner, you will know that most dogs hate medicines. Having said that, this is not always the case because some canines are easy to swallow pills, while others aren’t. So if you are trying to find out how to give a dog a pill, the truth is that there are no one-size-fits-all methods at all. 

I know some dog parents grind medications into a fine powder and mix it into their dog’s meal. But do you know that this can lead to some dangerous situations for your pup? That’s why I have compiled some of the easiest and safest ways on how to give pills to dogs. Some warnings and important rules are also included to make your dog pilling process more straightforward.  

Mix pills with your dog meals

Put pills into your dog's meal
Put pills into your dog’s favorite meal to “distract” him.

This is considered the most obvious and best way to give a dog a pill. But remember, don’t grind it into powder. Your dog is smart enough to recognize the taste difference.

Instead, you can put his pill into the food and mix it well. Your pooch will think that it is just an ordinary meal. I’m pretty sure that he will not spot any difference. You also need to note that the key is to try to make the food more delicious than normal. This way, your canine will be more excited about the meal and eat it quickly so that he can’t feel the medicine. 

However, keep in mind that not all the food is suitable to eat with pills. Make sure you clarify with your vet before adding meds in your dog’s treat. For instance, you should not mix or hide tetracycline antibiotics in your dog’s dairy products. This is because calcium in these products can combine with several types of pills, changing the medicine’s benefits.

Here are some foods that are considered not safe to put medicine into.


Actually, you can use bananas as a way to hide pills if your dog doesn’t suffer any diseases. Since bananas have a relatively high level of sugar, they are not recommended for dogs having diabetics, blood pressure, or heart disease. 

Dairy products

As mentioned above, dairy products can have negative impacts on some medications. So, make sure you consult with your veterinarian before adding any pills to your dogs’ dairy products. 

Especially high-fat foods such as cheese or cream cheese can make severe impacts on your canine. Actually, you can still use cheese to hide medicines, but just use a small amount of it. 

But you should keep in mind that the combination of antibiotics and dairy products like milk, cheese, or other calcium-rich products can remove the advantages and benefits of the antibiotics. 

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is sometimes used as a way to give a dog a pill. But you have to make sure that there is no xylitol in the butter since this ingredient is toxic to your dog. Three famous brands that don’t have xylitol in their peanut butter are Jif Natural, Smucker’s Natural, and Justin’s. There are more brands available and you can check this ingredient on their labels.

Using pill pockets

Homemade pill pockets for dogs
Delicious homemade pill pockets to make your dog eat more without suspicion.

Although pill pockets are not always the healthiest choice, it is still an easy, safe, and pet-friendly way for dog owners to hide pills and give them to their dogs successfully, says Dr. Osborne

These pockets come in various flavors and seem to be rich in nutrition. They are also nutritionally balanced and contain less sugar than human foods. Before purchasing, remember to check the label because some products are made just for dogs, while others for cats or other animals. If your pet is a bit overweight, it’s best to pick a brand with a lower amount of calories.

You can choose the flavor that your canine loves and put the medication inside it. But what will you do if your dog suspects? Well, the ideal way is to give him a pill pocket and treats, respectively. For example, you can give him one or two plain treats, then a pill pocket, then one or two normal treats, then a medicated treat. Make sure you do this quickly so that your dog will not be doubtful. 

Get a friend to eat with your dog

Increase food competition to encourage your dog eat his pills
Create food competition to encourage your dog eat pills in his meal.

Inserting medicine into pill pockets will be more effective if you create competition for the food. If you have some dogs, then let them eat together. If not, you might need to bring home a new friend in this case. 

This way, your dog can increase the chance of grabbing food and swallowing faster. You can give them plain food. Observe them and once your canine gets more competitive, give him special food (the one with medicine inside). He will grab it as fast as he can without any doubts. But, make sure you give the pill to your dog, not the other friend. 

Combine treat and pill in playtime or as a reward

Giving your dog pill pockets while he is playing
Giving your dog pill pockets while he is playing.

You may not know that your dog tends to be more distracted than normal when he is walking or playing. So giving him a special treat during this time will be likely to be successful. This is because the surroundings make it difficult for your canine to know which one to focus on. 

Though you will need to bring extra pills while playing with your pup or taking him for a walk, it’s definitely worth it when he eats the treats. But when and what to give your pooch his pill highly depends on your playing or walking time. 

For example, if you decide to hide a pill in the peanut butter, it’s better to give it to your pup as soon as possible since the butter or the medication inside can be quickly melted. I usually give my dog his pill right after we step outside our door. This is because he easily gets excited at that moment and is less suspicious of other things. 

Talk to your veterinarian 

If you don’t know how to get your dog to take a pill, then speaking to your veterinarian will be the best solution. You can refer to some reliable resources on the internet if you have basic knowledge and experience in this field. 

But you know, not all the pills can be put into foods, and not all the foods can be safe to mix with medicines. Some medications shouldn’t be smashed into powder, while some will need to break into pieces. You can’t know all the types of pills among these. So, make sure you talk to your vet before deciding to add any medications to your dog’s meal.

If this is your first time pilling your canine, watch the following video to understand how to give dogs pills. 

How to give a dog a pill effectively.

Three crucial rules for pilling your dog

  • Use your dog’s medicines as directed. Make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully. And call your vet if there are any problems or questions.
  • Always complete your dog’s prescription. Don’t stop giving your dog antibiotic prescription unless your veterinarian says that. 
  • Never share medicines between your dog and other pets. Not all pet medications can be used for your canine. Some are safe for cats but can be extremely dangerous to dogs. 

Don’t forget to reward your pup after he has eaten his medications because he deserves it. After all, you want to praise him for swallowing his pills, not force him to do that. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *