How to Give a Dog a Pill?

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Does your dog hide or run away from you whenever you try to give it a pill? That is just normal. Pills generally taste and smell unpleasant which is why not all dogs can take them so easily.

Like you, your dogs need courage in taking pills, too. But courage in your dogs isn’t something that you can work on, so what you have to do is to focus on something that you can. If you are thinking of how to give your dog a pill, read on and find out.

1. Stuff the pill in a palatable food

This way is probably simple but the possibility of your dog ingesting the pill without much trouble is high. The trick is very simple. Just pick a food or a treat, stuff the pill in and let your dog take it. Easy-peasy, right? But this process only works best for dogs who don’t usually chew their food. It might work once, but this trick might not work again the next time. In addition, there are some precautions when it comes to choosing the food where you stuff the pill in. This is based on your dog’s diet and health conditions. Foods have different mineral content and these minerals may cause an impact on the efficacy of the pill. Below are some examples:

  • Meat Products

Meat products are always delicious for dogs but not all of them are healthy. Never use raw meat with a pill as the living organisms in it may interfere with the pill’s job. Prepared meat, deli or lunch meat, sausages and hotdogs are not advisable as well as they are high in salt and preservatives.

  • Fruits

If your pup is a fruit lover, you may use oranges, melons, berries, except grapes and raisins, or bananas. But take note, bananas are high in sugar so make sure not to use it if your dog is diabetic or if he has problems on potassium regulation. Moreover, don’t use it if your dog is taking medication for blood pressure or heart disease.

  • Dairy Products

Dairy products are also a good choice to go with pills, but make sure to use only the right amount as these foods have high fat content. Don’t feed it to dogs who are avoiding fat foods because of their illness. Also, make sure your dog is lactose tolerant and is not allergic to dairy products.

2. Use Tricks or Devices to make the job easy for you

Thanks to our technology, we already have many options to be successful in giving our dogs pills. If the bitter taste of the medicine is what concerns your dogs, there are different ways on how you can deal with it. You can use pill pockets, empty gel caps or pill guns.

  • Pill Pockets

Pill pockets are considered a smart, nutritious and tasty way to help your dogs with the medicine. These treats have built-in pockets where you can easily hide the pills. They can also be bought easily as they are widely available.

  • Empty Gelatin Capsules

You can also opt to using empty gel capsules to contain the bitter taste of pill as it passes through your dog’s mouth. These gel capsules are safe and are also made with various flavors to make it attractive. You can simply slip the pill in it and give it to your dog.

  • Pill Guns/ Pill Poppers


Pill guns or pill poppers are another option to make swallowing the pill easy for your dogs. It is also a better way compared to forcing your dog to take the pill using your bare hands. These devices will make it faster for your dog to take the medicine and safer for you. Plus, it can be used for both solid and liquid medication.

3. Try compounded medications

Compounded medication is the result of compounding individualized medicine, often includes flavoring to make it palatable to pets. Pills are transformed into a treat making it highly acceptable among pets. These could be the best option if not for its drawbacks. Compounded medication may be less effective because of the process. In addition, they are more expensive and difficult to find.

4. Give the pill manually

While you may resort to the given ways to give your dog a pill, you can also do it with hand delivery but with precautions. You also have to make sure that your dog is highly comfortable with it. Here’s how you should do it.

  • Place your hand on your dog’s nose and hold the upper jaw and open the mouth gently. Tilt it head but make sure it’s still comfortable.
  • Put the pill as far as at the back of your dog’s tongue.
  • Hold your dog’s mouth close and return its head to its normal position.
  • Rub your dog’s throat gently and blow its nose lightly.
  • You can follow it up with a treat to make it a good experience for your dog.

Important Tips

To help you out with the pill techniques even more, here are a few things that are also worth knowing.

  • Prepare the pills away from your dogs. Whether you have to open a bottle or pop a foil on a pill packet, make sure you do it discreetly. The sounds might create an impression on your pets making them run away from you whenever they hear it.
  • Always wash your hand after preparing the pill and before giving it to them. Dogs’ noses are very sensitive. Just the smell of the pill can already drive them away, so if you want to successfully trick them, leave no evidence.
  • Make sure to consult your vet. Your vets will always know what’s best for your furry buddies. Before anything else happens, let them know and work it out together.


Taking a pill doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for your dogs. It can also be something fun and something to look forward to. And that entirely depends on you. Resort to different options available, use your pet parent instinct and passion and make the pill-experience a good one.

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