How to Give Tablets to a Dog

By on October 3, 2011

K9 Magazine Quick Tips: How To Give Tablets To Your Dog

Cats. They're tough. I worked in a kennels and cattery for many years and whenever I'd see the dreaded words written large on the in-take board in the reception 'Tigger: on medication, needs to be given tablets twice per day" I would shudder. Seriously, give me ferocious, baying dogs who would try to disembowel you for having the temerity to enter their kennel to give them food over a cat that needs tablets twice daily ANY day of the week.

How to give tablets to a dog

Dogs can also be 'tablet smart'. You might have experienced it. You wrap their tablet up in a neat little food parcel and they somehow, magically, manage to eat the food and discard the tablet in a splurge of mushed up residue on the floor. How do they DO that??

So, as we all know - there are times when we need to give tablets to a dog. Here's our quick guide to making the process a little easier.

How to Give Tablets to a Dog - The Easy Way

There are times in your dog's life when he or she will need medications that must be administered at home. Often a disease may strike requiring daily care and treatment, or perhaps your dog may suffer an injury that requires your personal treatment of meds.

How to Give Tablets to Puppies

The best way to give any pill /tablet is to wrap it in a small piece of meat; most puppies will eat meat hungrily, and the pills go down easily. I give my puppy a vitamin-mineral supplement that is in powdered form. It is unfortunately rather insoluble, but she doesn't mind, and eats it up easily with her morning meal. If you start this habit with young puppies, they get accustomed to it.

All puppies should get accustomed from an early age to having their mouths opened without biting. Try opening the mouth and popping in a piece of liver, each time commanding the dog to "Open." You will find that your puppy will quickly learn to open her mouth on command, hoping for the liver.

You must never try to open a puppy's mouth with your hand on the bottom jaw. Always place your hand over the top of the muzzle, with your first finger and thumb in the puppy's mouth where the teeth are absent, just behind the large canine tooth when it comes through. Keep the puppy's head up, and stroke its throat until you see it swallow. Always put the puppy to the sit before attempting any medication. Otherwise it might struggle and choke.

How to Give Tablets to Adult Dogs

There are generally three methods of giving your dog his medicine:

1) Liquid medicine (using the pouch method).
2) Prying open the mouth.
3) Pills and capsules.

Liquid Medicine: Using The Pouch Method

Liquid medicine is the easiest of all solutions because you can either drop the medication in the dog's food or water, or simply use a dropper to enter the canine's mouth.

To use the pouch method you will use one hand to pull the corner of the dog's lip open. This is the corner of the lower lip. Once you do that make a pouch. Meanwhile keep the doggy's head back a little and then pour. You will pour with the other hand.

If this doesn't seem to work out very good then get some help. Have someone help you hold the dog in place. If the canine has its teeth clamped then gently pry his mouth open using a couple of fingers. The dog might try to move away so just put the dog near a corner with his rear end facing the corner so he has not far to back up. Follow the steps to make the pouch and administer the liquid.

How To Open Your Dog's Mouth Without Hurting or Distressing Them

Now with this method you need to pry open the dog's mouth at the upper jaw. Take your thumb and fingers and place them in the gaps behind the fangs while you hold the upper jaw with one hand.

At this point, the dog will typically relax just enough to open his mouth a bit. Then you would pour the medicine with a spoon or dropper in between the canine's front teeth. Of course you will need to have his head back just a bit.

Giving Your Dog Pills Or Capsules

To give your dog a pill or vitamin other than the chewable kind, use the pry-open-mouth method. Take the pill and hold it between your first finger and your thumb, or if easier for you, between the second fingers and the first finger. After you have the capsule or pill in place, use the rest of your fingers to push open the lower jaw at the front teeth.

Now you have to get the pill as far back into the dog's throat as you can. Then encourage the swallowing. Yes it will be tougher at first, but as you gain experience and your dog becomes more accustomed, it will become a more comfortable routine.

Video: Giving Tablets to a Dog

Remember, for some dogs the idea of taking a tablet is seriously off putting. They can wriggle and wrangle and perform incredible feats of acrobatic skill in order to avoid being given a tablet or medication of any kind. There are times when they WILL be upset. But you have to be brave and you simply must be prepared to ensure the tablets are taken. Wrapping tablets in food, such as slightly moistened bread can make the process easier but be vigilant to whether the dog has actually consumed the tablet. If needs be, be prepared to gently place the medication in the dog's mouth and massage their neck so you are absolutely, positively certain the tablet has been taken.

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K9 Magazine is your digital destination helping you have a happier, healthier dog. Here you'll find advice on everything from dog training to dog diet advice as well as interviews with well known dog lovers and insightful features on the broadest range of canine lifestyle topics.

One Comment

  1. Amy

    April 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve never had to pry open my dogs mouth to give them their pills. I used to hide their medicine in cheese but my vet got very upset and said that’s why my dogs had such bad gas. Now when they need to take medicine I cut a piece of a Natural Balance dog food roll and mold it around the pill, and the dogs go so crazy for the taste they gulp it right down. It’s a healthy product too (no more cheese!)

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