Pets rarely have a “take two and call me in the morning” attitude when it comes to swallowing pills and taking medications.  In fact, it is their instinct to refuse foreign objects and foods.

Whether a pet owner disguises the medication with foods or force-feeds it to their pet, we all have our own ways of getting a pet to take a pill. It's important to note right off the bat that you can eliminate much of the stress of giving medication by using something like Greenies Pill Pockets.

1) Ouch!  Watch the nails!

Some pet owners use what they call the “pill push” method to feeding their pet a pill.  This basically involves pushing the pill as far as you can into your pets mouth with your finger.  No matter how badly the animal needs the medication, keep in mind the length of your fingernails.  Injuring the inside of your pet’s mouth with your fingernails will not improve the situation and will make it even more difficult to administer the medication to your pet next time.

2) Be Careful with Flat-Faced Dogs

The pill push method described above can be very dangerous with flat faced dogs…it blocks their ability to breathe (FYI – breathing is vital).  Some folks say hiding the pill in some flaky tuna and holding it in your fingers in front of the flat faced dog works well.

3) Crushing the Pill is not always a Good Idea

So, your pet won’t take a pill that is half the size of it’s mouth…just crush it up and mix it with their food, right?  Well, not really.

Some medications are meant to dissolve over time…therefore by crushing the pill and giving it to your pet can cause too much of the medication  to enter your pets bloodstream at one time…I would assume that in some cases this could be potentially fatal.  So…always check the medication’s instructions first.  It’s quite likely that the bottle would say “Do not crush” or something to that effect.  If you’re not sure whether or not a medication can be crushed, it is best to err on the side of caution.

4) Get the Medication to them Quickly

If you are administering a medication that can be crushed, mix it in a something that your pet will be able to eat within a short period of time.  In other words, don’t mix it in with a full can of food which might take your pet a day or two to eat.  Some medications lose their effectiveness in a relatively short period of time.

5) Keep it Cool

Do not heat the medication or combine it with a food substance that has been heated.  Heat can actually cause a chemical reaction within the medication which can in turn make the medication ineffective and even harmful.  Therefore, you are going to want to keep the medication at or near it’s storage temperature up until the point that it goes down your pet’s throat.

Again, people know how important it is to follow instructions when taking people medicine, so please do the same when administering medication to your pets.  Good luck and good health!