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How to Give Your Cat or Dog A Pill: Safe Tips and Tricks

Does your cat or dog hate taking their medicine? Luckily, there are a few strategies you can use to get them to take their pills with ease! Read this blog to learn some of the best and safest ways to give your pet a pill. 

You Know Your Pet Best

You share a special bond with your pet, so you know their comfort zones. Cats and dogs often need different approaches for giving medicine. For the best results, consider when your pet is most relaxed and think of ways to integrate their medicine routine into those moments.

How to Get Your Dog to Eat a Pill

Try these tactics to get your dog to take their pills: 

Bring a Friend or Partner

Getting your dog to take a pill can be challenging, so don’t do it alone! The American Kennel Club recommends finding someone to help you give the medicine to your dog so they can help you position your dog. That way, you can relax your dog and potentially avoid any troubles. So, see if a friend, loved one, or family member can help!

Wrap the Pill in Cheese

Cheese, please! Cheese is one of the best foods to hide dog pills in because dogs normally love cheese. So, if your vet tells you that a pill can taste bitter, wrap the pill in a slice of cheese to disguise the taste. However, check with your vet or pet pharmacist first to see if you can use cheese with the particular medicine. 

Try a Pill Pocket

If your dog eats the cheese without eating the pill, try giving them a pill pocket so you can disguise the smell of the pill. This technique can help you train your dog to take its medicine without your help in the future. You can find pill pockets that use healthy ingredients so you can keep your dog on their diet. 

How to Give Your Cat a Pill

Here are a few tips for giving your cat their medicine: 

Find a Healthy Treat Food for Your Cat

Since cats might not enjoy taking medicine, Tufts University cautions against mixing medicine in your cat’s regular food. Your cat could associate the medicine with their food and stop eating both. 

Instead, find a healthy treat food that you know your cat enjoys. Then, use that food to balance out the medicine’s taste. Trupanion provides a list of healthy foods that your cat can eat. Some fruits and vegetables on the list might surprise you! 

However, note that some fruits, such as apples and bananas, have higher sugar. So, if your pet is overweight, opt for a lower sugar choice, such as strawberries and watermelon. Also, be sure to prep the food if you need to peel it or remove any seeds. The good news is that you can use this technique for cats and dogs!

Create a Routine Around Your Cat’s Medicine Schedule

Does your cat start purring at the same time of day because they are hungry? Cats value consistency so they can stick to their habits and routines. 

The Veterinary Medicine Department at UPenn recommends rewarding your cat with a treat at the same time each day. This daily treat can help your cat develop a routine. Then, once your cat is comfortable with the routine, disguise the medicine in your cat’s food around that time. 

Convert the Medicine Into Liquid

If you still have trouble giving your cat medicine after trying these techniques, talk to your vet about liquifying your cat’s pill. Vets can change some medications into liquid without losing the medical benefits. 

This technique might be a better option for your cat. However, you should avoid tilting your cat’s head backward to prevent them from getting liquid in their windpipe. 

Need More Options For Getting Your Pet To Take Their Pill?

Care First Animal Hospital partnered with Realo Veterinary Pharmacy to create videos to demonstrate how to give different types of medications. Click here to watch.

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