October 30, 2017


Medicating Pets – Making Medicine Go Down in a Most Delightful Way

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

Medicating your pet (with pills or liquids) may not sound all that difficult, until you actually have to do it!  The doctors and technicians make it seem so easy at the vet office! But, medicating your pet at home can seem like a daunting and hopeless task.

Between the sudden lock jaw and the hiding under the bed, your pet can be a master at avoiding medication!  You may actually succeed at getting the medicine into your pet, only to find her spitting out the pills behind the couch while you are not looking!

Below are some tips that may make the process a little easier for you to do at home. Please keep in mind, not all of these tricks will work on every pet. Also, please avoid certain treats if your pet has an allergy to that food.

Food is Your Friend

  • Hide the pill in a scoop of peanut butter and wipe it on the roof of his mouth
  • Hide the pill in a chunk of cream cheese
  • Poke or cut a hole in a marshmallow and hide the pill inside of it
  • Hide the pill in liver paste or Braunschweiger
  • Make a slit in the side of a hot dog and wedge the pill in it
  • Crush pills and mix them with canned food or moist food like The Honest Kitchen
  • Put liquid medications on a piece of bread and then cover it in peanut butter
  • Put liquid medications in between slices of deli meat or cheese
  • If the medicine is in capsule form, open the capsule and sprinkle the medication over hepill pocketsr food

Try a Little Trickery

  • Put the pill directly into your pet’s mouth while he is facing away from you (so he doesn’t see it coming)
  • Use a pet piller or pill gun (similar to a syringe) to deposit the pill directly into the back of your pet’s mouth; click here to see a video on how to use this device
  • Hide the pill in pill pockets like Greenies 

Call in a Professional

If your pet still resists the medication, don’t lose hope. Your veterinarian can help you.

For some medications we can turn a bitter-tasting pill into a more appetizing liquid, with flavors such as bacon cheeseburger or salmon.  For our exotic animal patients, we can make the medicine taste like green apple! You will still have to get your pet to take the liquid medication, but that may be easier when the medicine tastes so good.

If your pet needs an antibiotic, we may be able to give your pet an injection (a shot) instead of an oral antibiotic. By doing this, we can eliminate the struggle you may be having at home. Injections don’t work in every situation, but your veterinarian can tell you if this option is available to you.

Don’t Give Up

Medicating your pet doesn’t have to be so scary for him… or for you. By trying some of these tips, you may convince your pet that the medicine is actually a treat. And who doesn’t want an extra treat?

If you are struggling to give your pet her medication, please let us know. We would be more than happy to help!

Dr. Heintz and her dog, Mimi


Dr. Heintz is a small and exotic animal veterinarian at Countrycare Animal Complex in Green Bay, WI. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Her passion is helping all animals, whether furry, scaly, or feathered, lead long and healthy lives.