A Simple Trick To Give Your Dog A Pill By Mouth

My dogs don't have to take pet medications very often, especially in pill format.  The occasional need for an antibiotic and their monthly heartworm preventative medication are the only medications my dogs need, thankfully.  However, I wanted to share a creative way to give a dog a pill with food your dog probably already eats.  My cousin's Veterinarian shared this pill giving tip with her and now I'd like to share it with you!

GIVING YOUR DOG A PILL BY MOUTH CAN BE A STRUGGLE


Even if it's infrequent, giving your dog a pill can be a struggle.  You slather it with peanut butter or cream cheese, you hide it in their food, you may even stick it in the very back of their throat or use a "pill dropper", hold their snout closed and tilt their head back trying to get your dog to swallow the pill. 

Even after those stealth pill giving attempts your pet may eat all the peanut butter or cream cheese around it and spit out the pill.  Or your dog might remain stark still while you practically wrestle him to the ground trying to get the pill to the back of his throat, but then find a way to gag or spit the pill out anyway.  Or you think you've hidden the pill in your dog's food but he smells it immediately and refuses to eat at all.

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How to give a dog a pill by making a "Pill Meatball Pocket" using canned dog food.  Pet health, Dog health, How to pill a dog or cat.
Make giving your pet medications in pill form easier!

It's difficult when there's an occasional need to give your dog a pill, but imagine how hard it must be for dogs or cats who need daily medication in pill form long term! 

What's a Dog Mom to do?  

Pill Pockets you buy in the pet store may make it easier but they can be expensive. For ongoing daily pet medication administration of pills that's a lot of extra cost and calories added to your dog's diet.

HOW TO GIVE YOUR DOG A PILL USING A DOG FOOD MEATBALL


My cousin Grace shared a tip with me that her Veterinarian recommended when her pill hating Scottish Terrier needed 10 days of medication.  He suggested making a simple Meatball Pill Pocket using canned dog food she already feeds her dog. 

🐶 Place a can of dog food in the fridge to harden and chill.  Make sure it's a canned food your dog likes to eat, and one you can scoop out and roll into a ball!  It shouldn't be too wet or have gravy in it.

🐶 Scoop out 4 tablespoons of the canned food and roll each one into a ball in your hands, just like making a meatball.  Make 4 of these dog food "meatballs".

🐶 Insert the pill you need to give your dog into the middle of one of the "meatballs".  The other 3 meatballs won't have a pill inside.

🐶 Start by giving your dog one of the meatballs that doesn't have the pill in it.  Then give him a second meatball without the pill inside as soon as he swallows the first meatball.  Make it fun like you're giving your dog a special treat, and praise him!

🐶 As soon as he swallows the second meatball, give your dog the third meatball, which should be the one with the pill inside it.  After scarfing down the first two yummy meatballs and being praised for it, your dog will be anticipating the third yummy meatball and happily gobble it up!

🐶 Finish by giving your dog the last meatball without the pill in it.  That will end your pet medication session on a fun and positive note!

Make giving your pet their pills easier by making a Pill Pocket Meatball  w/ canned dog food.  How to give a dog a pill, Pet medication.
My dog Phoebe thinks Pet Medications are no fun!

This technique can be used for cats as well as dogs.  Just adjust the size of the meatball, making it smaller for small dogs or cats.

BONE APPETIT !!

You may also enjoy some tips on how I handled my allergies living with two cats  and the Dangers of Tick Borne Illnesses to Dogs. 


Have you ever had to give your dog or cat medication in pill form?  Was it easy or did you struggle?  Tell us about it in the comments, and if you have a pill giving tip, please share it!

58 comments:

  1. The boys are pretty good at taking their meds. I usually hide theirs in some meat or cheese. I love the meatball idea. ♥

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    1. I think it's a pretty cool idea. When I've had to give meds I've used peanut butter which works for Phoebe but not always for Icy!

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  2. Cathy that is a brilliant tip!! When I had animals that could smell a pill a mile away, the only thing that ever seemed to work were Pill Pockets. The meatball version is definitely healthier and it's a great trick. I know a lot of people who have trouble with pills, I think they're going to really appreciate this.

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    1. Thanks Hindy, I'm glad you think so! Pill pockets do work but they can be expensive. I'm going to try this method next time I need to give the girls any meds.

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  3. This is a great tip, so far our two are not too bad at taking pills if they have to, but dogs are clever and quickly sense when something is different. Sandy has mastered the art of eating the treat and spitting the pill out (sometimes). So I will remember this tip for future times, thank you.

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    1. Dogs definitely are smart about knowing when something's amiss! I'm going to try this method next time, it works great for my cousin's dog so I'm thinking it will work for us as well.

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  4. I am currently suffering the daily struggle of giving Jasmine an antibiotic. I've asked the vet to order the next prescription in liquid form. It's far easier shooting medications into my feline's mouths than wrestling them down to take a pill. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will hide a pill from these crafty felines. They are always on to me when I try to hide it.
    Anita, Purrsonal Assistant to The Tribe of Five

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    1. LOL! Oh No! Liquid form is definitely easier but they still smell it. You'll have to hide it in some very smelly stuff, maybe sardines or anchovies. You never know though, this method might work for you!

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  5. Now you've done it! Bravo has no need of pills (at the moment) but he read about "meatballs" over my shoulder...and he's drooling. Off to find him some treats! (great tips, by the way!)

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    1. LOL!! Bravo is too smart for his own good isn't he!? I hope he enjoys his treats sans medication!

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  6. Love the idea but with Layla still the best one to work is the cream cheese LOL which she loves and for her is a really special treat but will keep this in mind for the future also

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    1. Hey if the cream cheese works, stick with it! If you run out of cream cheese one day and Layla needs to pop a pill, maybe give this method a try LOL!

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  7. Great tips! I have one dog who is easy to give meds too. He LOVES food so that helps! My other boy is a pain in the butt. I doubt even the meatball trick would work 100% of the time for him. He seems to have this magical skill of always finding pills when they're mixed in with regular food. I try to get him liquid meds whenever I can, because I've found those to be much easier to mix in his food.

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    1. Thanks, I'm glad you like our tip! With the real smarty pants types, it often helps when you give them a couple of meatballs with no pill and then you try to encourage them with the third meatball that does have the pill. It can't hurt to try!

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  8. Fortunately my dog has no problem taking pills smothered in peanut butter. She's just super happy for the treat! Also, my mom is some sort of wizard in this area in that she could always make her dogs take a pill with nothing!

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    1. Wow, your mom really is a wizard if she can do that LOL! For the rest of us though, we must be creative. The PB is great but sometimes I don't like to give them too much like if they need a 10 day round of meds I'd love to try this method using healthy food vs. PB.

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  9. We are lucky that I can just drop Ruby's seizure pill right on the top of her food and she gobbles it down. I don't even have to cover the pill, it's crazy!

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    1. Oh well aren't you lucky!! Ruby is just so good, what a great dog she is. I didn't know she was on seizure meds! Poor baby, but it looks like you manage it perfectly for her.

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  10. Oh Phoebe makes me laugh!!! She must be better than our cats who are past masters at hiding pills. I love the meatball idea - so ingenious and Voila, Job Done!!!

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    1. She makes me laugh too - all the time! Many cats are masters at finding and doing away with pills, I'm not sure this will work for your crew but let me know if you give it a try!

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  11. This tip makes so much sense and I bet it's pretty effective! I'll definitely try this when I have to pill my cat. Thanks for sharing the tip with us :)

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    1. It really does make sense doesn't it! I'm going to try it with my dogs next time they need meds. My cousin swears by it.

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  12. I hide it in Mr. N's raw food and he's pretty good about eating it that way. It's pretty much like eating a meatball!

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  13. That is a clever idea, and one I never saw before! Nelly takes Benadryl from time to time, but she's good about it. However, since all my dogs are seniors, it is likely that one of them might start needing medication.

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    1. True, my dogs are both going on 9 now so they may very well end up on meds one day ) -: I will certainly try this for when they need antibiotics or any other meds, I bet it will work like a charm with Icy and Phoebe, especially Phoebe who is such a food monger LOL!!

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  14. Our standard protocol for administering oral medication to hundreds of dogs in the shelter 2-3 times every day (!!) was hiding them in meatballs made of canned dog food! Messy, yes! BUT very effective! Great tip!

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    1. Oh wow!! I'm so glad to have confirmation from a professional and an expert on this method - thanks Bernard!

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  15. We use peanut butter for Cookie's thyroid meds but it too has to be chilled to the right consistency. Works well. For the rest I use cream cheese. Anything that I know Cookie is not going to chew works. Else she'd discover the pill in there and that would be that.

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    1. PB and cream cheese are good methods, I've used these for their monthly and quarterly heartwork & flea/tick meds. For antibiotics though, they taste so awful and I need a pill pocket or something to hide the pills. I'm going to try this meatball method next time.

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  16. This is a great idea - I think it would work well for cats too. Although cats are crafty critters. I probably couldn't get it past Midnight.

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    1. I think it would work for cats too, but yes they are crafty little furbutts! Let me know if you do try and it with your cats and how it works out.

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  17. What a great idea! Rosa spits out pill pockets!

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    1. OMG, she spits out the pill pockets?! Oh, she is one tough customer isn't she! Give this a try, but be sure to include that step of giving the first two meatballs with no pill in them and see if she'll take the third one with a pill inside. Be sure to use her favorite canned food and chill it good! If you try it let me know how it works out, thanks Maureen!

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  18. Fortunately, my dog takes pills easily covered with peanut butter. Unfortunately, he's been on antibiotics for the last 14 days so he's eaten a lot of peanut butter.

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    1. That's the problem, antibiotics can last for 1 to 2 weeks and thats a LOT of peanut butter! This is a healthier method. Give it a try and see if it works.

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  19. I know my mom has great success with the Pill Pockets. Pilling the cats was much more difficult, especially with Brulee until I found the Tomlyn Pill Masker. Even Brulee takes her pill easily now.

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    1. Pill pockets definitely work well, but they can be expensive. This is a nice healthy, inexpensive alternative to the pill pockets, but I'm glad you found some that work so well for Truffle and Brulee - cat's can be so adverse to pills!

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  20. This is a good tip for taking pet medication! We have a recipe for Homemade Dog Pill Pockets on our website, too. I agree the store ones can get really expensive.

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    1. Thanks Kristy, I'm glad you like our tip! Thanks for sharing a homemade pill pocket recipe. I always appreciate healthier, cheaper alternatives.

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    ReplyDelete
  23. Great idea! I just shove pills down Buffy's throat and give her a treat afterwards. My dogs get used to this. One of my last dogs needed multiple pills every day and shoving it down her throat works best.

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    1. I'm amazed you can do that with your dogs - you must be very skilled Sandy! I hate wrestling with my pets, I'm so not good at it LOL!

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  24. Ah now that's clever!! A dog meatball!! I would not have thought of that. I'm a cat person so I'm very familiar with the whole "lick around the pill" trick they do. LOL Thanks for sharing this helpful trick!

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    1. I know right!? I love this tip and I had to share it. I'm going to try it myself next time Icy & Phoebe need any medication.

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  27. Love this idea! With Gibson being an epileptic, I became an old pro at pill-giving time, but he was also a seasoned pro and so easy to work with. I like using real food instead of processed food, too, as the "pocket." With my remaining Huskies, I have supplements to give and my one boy, Gib's brother no less, absolutely hates pills. He is also a hard one to bribe with food (not like his sister Chloe who will eat anything, and I mean a-n-ything)! But meatballs I am sure he would not refuse! I know my senior gal, who is on thyroid meds, takes her rolled in a little food, so this will work perfect for her!

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    1. Chloe is a girl after my own heart Dorothy, LOL!! You have your hands full for sure with regular meds that need to be given. I agree that the peanut butter, pill pockets, and other methods can add calories and ingredients that aren't the healthiest. It's OK for occasional use but if meds are daily I would want another method too - I like this method, it's easy to do, healthier, and a whole lot cheaper! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Dorothy.

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    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm sorry I don't, but there is a Blogger Facebook page and I believe there is a user forum where Blogger experts help others. You might try one of those, just search for them in Google and on Facebook

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  29. That's a great idea and we've done similar things using cheese or even raw hamburger. The only times we've had trouble giving pills is when our dogs' appetites have been off because of illness...it's really tough when they don't want to eat anything at all!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Oh sure, if they have no appetite it's tough to give a pill - then you have to try the place it down their throat method, which I dread!

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