Helping your pet take medication can be trickyWhen it comes to administering medication, there is no more formidable foe than your pet. And since a spoonful of sugar is not the way to help the medicine go down, at least for pets, giving pets their medication easily can seem like a daunting task.

Since you never know when your pet might need medication, it’s a good idea to learn some basics about helping your pet take medication safely and effectively. With a few tips and tricks from Goldorado Animal Hospital, you can forego all the acrobatics and ease your pet into the task.

Check for Understanding

When your veterinarian prescribes a new medication, make sure you understand all the instructions before leaving our office. Our team is more than happy to review dosage, review administration techniques, and discuss side effects, refills, and proper storage instructions with you. It’s also important for you to know how soon your pet should be feeling better – and what to do if she’s not.

Fortunately, many medications can be given with food. Here are some tips for how to help your pet take medication with food:


  • Hide a capsule or tablet in a piece of a treat, such as a piece of liverwurst, turkey lunch meat, or cheese. Peanut butter can also be used but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, which can cause a pet emergency.
  • Break open the capsule and mix the powdered contents into wet dog food.
  • Make sure your dog eats all the food in one sitting. If the medication gets spit out, or your dog refuses to eat, another method must be employed.


  • Whenever possible, cat medications can be prescribed in liquid form. Mix the liquid into wet cat food or tuna with water.
  • Pills may be opened and/or crushed into wet food
  • Pill pocket treats may be purchased to hide pills in

Read and follow all directions carefully. If you’re having trouble giving your pet medications, please call us. We’ll be happy to review the dosage and schedule and do our best to prescribe a medication that accommodates you and your pet’s needs while also providing effective treatment.

Timing is Everything

When preparing to give your pet medications, picking the right time can make a big difference. Choose a time when your pet is relaxed, and there aren’t a lot of distractions. You may want to close doors to have an enclosed space (to prevent escapes). Start with some brushing or petting to prepare your pet for taking her medication. Remember to stay calm yourself, which will help your pet remain calm as well.

Other Tips for Helping Your Pet Take Medication

Sometimes it’s necessary to give your pet medication directly by mouth. This can take a bit of practice, so be patient and expect some trial and error.

  • For cats, begin by gently wrapping your kitty’s torso and limbs in a towel.
  • For dogs, kneel next to your dog on his right side if you’re right handed (switch if you’re left handed)
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger. Squeeze your thumb and middle finger gently to open your pet’s mouth behind the canine teeth for dogs, and toward the back of the mouth for cats.
  • Once your fingers are inside, gently tilt your pet’s mouth back to encourage her to open her mouth.Place the pill on her tongue, toward the back of the mouth. If using a syringe, angle it toward the back of the mouth and dispense.
  • Gently close your pet’s mouth and stroke the throat area to encourage swallowing.
  • Keep your pet’s water bowl nearby as she may want to drink something right away.

If your pet is prone to biting, don’t attempt to administer a pill using this method without consulting us. Remember that this can take a few attempts to get right. If you’re having trouble or need additional tips or instructions, please call us so we can help.

Helping your pet take medication is not at the top of our list of fun things to do, but it is important. With a bit of practice, you can learn to perform this task with confidence, and help your pet feel better, too.