Getting Your Dog to Take Pills - Training, Trickery or Disguise
If you have ever had to give your dog a pill, you know it’s not a pleasant or easy task. Somehow my dog always knows when I’m trying to trick him... except when I'm using something like Greenies Pill Pockets. Thankfully, we are the more intelligent species (sometimes) and there are some helpful solutions to this common problem:
The Hard Ways
You always have the option of training your dog extremely well and teaching him/her the command "eat". I have witnessed this on a few occasions. The only down fall is it might not be practical if your dog needs the medication before training for this specific command.
I suppose you can try your best to force your dog to eat the pill, however I don’t suggest it unless absolutely necessary. This process will not be pleasant for you or your dog and could cause the dog to become aggressive.
If your dog is a speed eater it’s possible that you could put the pill in his/her bowl and they would never know. If they do seem to know something isn’t quite right pour a little gravy over their food and watch it disappear. The downside to this method is that you can never really be positive that the pill was eaten.
Sometimes dogs want something simply because you have it (especially dogs that are fed scraps). Allow your dog to watch you sniff and gush over the pill, get them really excited and make them do a trick or obey a command for the pill, then give it to them. This might not work with all dogs; however it has worked with my lab before.
The Easy Way
I have found this option to be the easiest, and it’s also the option that will work with most dogs. If you can’t trick your dog into thinking the pill is a treat, it will prove helpful to dress it up as a treat. This can be achieved by wrapping the pill in a piece of food, (like turkey, cheese, ham, etc.) You can also use a soft treat that you can easily push the pill into. There are even special dog treats specifically designed for aiding disguising a pill such as Greenies Pill Pockets.
If your dog is required to take several pills a day, then unfortunately it might not be the healthiest option to continuously give him/her treats all day, even if they are healthier treats. In this instance, one of the other options, such as training or hiding the pill in the food might be better; this is something you should discuss with your vet.
Nobody really likes to take pills, our canine companions are no different. Dressing up a pill as something fun and yummy might just be your ticket to getting your dog to take that pill without a wrestling match!