Giving a dog medicine is not always easy, especially since many of them do not appreciate being put their fingers in their mouths. Not being used to it, dogs may refuse to swallow the tablet. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to give a dog a pill, sometimes without them even realizing it.
Adopt the right attitude as a master
Before looking at the different techniques that exist for giving a dog a medicine, let’s already see the basics: the good habit to adopt as a master when preparing to give a tablet to his four-legged companion.
Even though giving your dog medication may mean sticking your fingers in his mouth, it doesn’t mean you should be stressful or afraid. Your dog will feel it for sure, and will be even more stressed as well, greatly reducing the chances that he will agree to take his medication without flinching.
Finally, it is essential to know that it will never be good to use force to make your dog agree to take his tablet. Yelling at him by chasing him around the house will only cause fear.
Jumping on him by surprise with the help of the whole family is also not a good idea. In addition to the risk of injuring it, the dog will only come out traumatized, even if the method worked at the time. It will be even more difficult later to give him medicine, reminding him of this very stressful time for him.
It will always be better, whatever the method used, to give the tablet to your dog in a moment of calm, while keeping calm yourself to reassure him. For example, when he is lying in his basket, talking to him in a soft voice.
Giving medicine by hand: how to make your dog swallow it?
What we call “hand giving medicine” is simply to swallow the tablet without using any tools or eating ploys.
To do this, as said above, choose a time when your dog is calm and peaceful, especially if he is not yet used to it. Approach the dog slowly, speaking in a soft voice, as if you were just coming to give him a hug.
Start by caressing him first to calm him, then slowly bring him to lift his head by gently pushing his chin upwards with one hand (the goal is not to hurt or rush him). Your other hand should rest on its muzzle, the fingers in the form of pincers. Your thumb and middle finger (or your index finger depending on your preference), should go between your dog’s teeth, causing him to open his mouth. You will then take the opportunity to slip the tablet into it. Be careful, however, to make sure to position it well at the back of the mouth, otherwise it might spit it out later.
Finally, shut his mouth and massage his neck to make him swallow, thus making him swallow the tablet. Do not hesitate to congratulate him.
For more picky dogs who don’t accept being given a pill in their hand, there are camouflage techniques to get your dog to swallow the medication without noticing it.
To keep it simple, simply put the tablet at the heart of his food. If your four-legged friend is the gluttonous type that swallows his entire meal in three bites, he shouldn’t even notice the pill.
However, some dogs are more suspicious, and are able to spot the drug among their kibble. They will then eat their entire meal, leaving aside the tablet. Don’t panic, other solutions exist.
First try to do the same, but this time in mash. The tablet will then be less visible and your dog could be fooled. But some medications unfortunately have a taste that dogs usually don’t like very much, causing them to spit out.
In that case, try sliding it into a minced meatball. The very appetizing side of the meat can cause the dog to gulp down his snack regardless of what is in it.
Finally, the ultimate strategy if all the others have failed is to slip the tablet into a portion of spreadable cheese (Kiri type). It may sound strange, but for a dog, this cheese has a very strong taste, which can hide the taste of the medicine.
The pill launcher
Here is the last of all techniques. If the dog refuses to be given a pill in his hand, and none of the previous feeding strategies have worked, all that’s left is the pill launcher.
This very practical little accessory, sold for a handful of euros in pharmacies, is a syringe-shaped piston (without a needle of course), which sends compressed air when it is actuated. It suffices to approach the dog as described above, in a calm moment, and to fix the tablet at the end of the pill lance.
Then you slide it into the dog’s mouth and push the plunger, throwing the tablet down the dog’s throat. Be careful, however, to keep the dog’s head up and massage his neck for a few seconds to be sure that he swallows the medicine.