Why is it pets seem to want to sink their teeth into everything they shouldn’t (case in point: that time your hound chowed down on your credit card statement), but refuse to take their prescribed medications? Whether their drugs are in liquid, powder or pill form, dogs and cats are notoriously opposed to following doctor’s orders.
If getting your four-legged family member to comply with his or her treatment regimen has you feeling flustered or frustrated, not to worry. Following are some simple tricks to try the next time your furbaby refuses to pop his or her prescription pills or supplements.
1. Hide the meds in food
Since cats and dogs have such a keen sense of smell, conceal the pills inside strong-scented wet food (think beef in gravy or salmon). The aroma will entice your pet while masking the smell of the medicine. Helpful hint: never let your pet see you “preparing” his or her medication.
2. Or, tuck them into treats
If your clever canine or finicky feline doesn’t fall for the hide-the-meds-in-lunch-or-dinner trick, you can purchase treats with hollow center compartments that are specially designed to cloak most capsules and tablets. If your pet is still wary, “accidentally” drop a treat from your counter or pocket when he or she happens to be nearby.
3. Stash them in a gel cap
Some pet meds taste bitter, even when taken with treats or food. Consider inserting such medications inside empty gelatin capsules (yes, these are a thing!). This will help prevent your cat or dog from rejecting the unpleasant tasting medication.
4. Try a pill dropper
If your furry friend simply refuses to swallow his or her medicine, pick up a pill dropper. Then simply tilt your dog or cat’s head back and gently insert the dropper into his or her mouth. Release the capsule or pill and massage your pet’s neck until the pill goes down.
5. Turn med time into game time
Grab a handful of treats and hide the medicine inside one of them. Then, toss a treat into the air, challenging your dog to catch it. Follow it with a second treat and a third. Your pup will be so focused on playing, he or she probably won’t even notice when you throw the treat containing the pill.
6. Go for a walk
Take your dog for his or her regular stroll, dispensing treats for following commands (e.g., sit, stay) and/or engaging in other desirable behaviors along the way. Sneak a pilled treat into the mix and your pup will not only be disarmed by the normal treats, he or she will be too distracted by the sights and sounds of the great outdoors to notice.
7. Reward your entire brood
If you have multiple cats and/or dogs in your home, commotion likely ensues at treat time. Make the ruckus work in your favor! Hand out treats to all your furry family members, taking care to give a treat with a hidden pill to the correct canine or feline. Because they typically eat faster in competitive situations, your pet likely won’t realize that he or she was dosed.
8. Spread meds on the paws
If your dog was prescribed liquid or powder medication, mix it with peanut butter or cream cheese and rub it on his or her paws. First, pups generally can’t stand having sticky paws. Second, what dog doesn’t love peanut butter or cream cheese? Your pooch will lap up the PB or CC and medicine in no time!
If none of these tricks work for your dog or cat, consult your veterinarian. He or she may be able to prescribe a different drug or provide additional ideas for administering medication.