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How to Give Pills, Tablets, or Capsules

Tip #1. Do not break the pill, tablet, or capsule into pieces or crush into a powder.

  • Some medicines have a protective coating that delays the release of the medication. Breaking or crushing the medicine will destroy the protective coating

  • Some coatings not only mask the bad taste of the medicine, but also slow the disintegration of the medicine’s surface layer to give the animal the chance to comfortably swallow.

Tip #2. Many dogs will readily consume medicines hidden in food. 
To conceal the medicine:

  1. Using canned dog food, form several small meatballs. For example, if there are two pills to give, make five meatballs

  2. Two of the meatballs will each hold one pill, the other three are undoctored

  3. Place one pill deep into the center of one of the meatballs

  4. Offer the dog one undoctored meatball, then one with a pill

  5. Follow with an undoctored meatball, the final meatball with a pill, and then the last meatball

If you prefer not to use dog food, we also carry Pill Pockets that are made specifically for hiding and holding medicines.

Tip #3. Follow these steps to administer medicine without hiding it in food:

  1. Slip your thumb behind a canine tooth and press up on the roof of the mouth

  2. As the mouth opens, press down on the lower jaw with the opposite thumb

  3. As you press in on both lips from above the muzzle, the dog’s mouth should open

  4. Place the pill to the back of the tongue, in the middle of the mouth

    • If the pill is not placed far enough back on the tongue, the animal will spit it out

  5. Close the mouth

  6. Rub the dog’s throat until it swallows

  7. If the dog licks its nose, the pill has been swallowed

  8. Give the dog a small treat.

How to Give Liquid Medicine

Tip #1. When administering a medicine in liquid form:

  • Medicine should be contained in a plastic syringe, eyedropper, or medicine bottle

  • Placing hand under muzzle, gently squeeze to pinch lips together

  • Insert the dispenser into the cheek pouch between the molars and the cheek

  • Tilt the dog’s chin up while slowly dispensing the liquid

  • The dog will swallow on its own.

Tip #2. Never push a full syringe of liquid down the dog’s throat.

Tip #3. Make sure to give the animal frequent chances to swallow.

How to Give Pet Injections at Home

Most injections should be given by the veterinarian or a vet technician at the clinic. While injections are usually not painful, there are drawbacks to administering them at home, for instance:

  • Possibility of an allergic or anaphylactic reaction which will require immediate veterinary care

  • Difficulties in handling and restraining an uncooperative animal.

Ask the veterinarian to demonstrate.
When it is necessary to administer an injection at home, ask the veterinarian to demonstrate the procedures by pointing out:

  1. Withdrawal of medicine from vial, filling and reading the syringe

  2. Removal of air from syringe

  3. Attachment of needle to syringe

  4. Correct placement of injection, either subcutaneous or intramuscular

  5. How to administer injection, including:

    • Sterilizing injection site

    • Withdrawal of plunger to look for blood

    • What you should do if blood is seen

  6. Needle/syringe disposal or sterilizing steps.