Giving a child medicine is something that most parents dread. It is an even more difficult tasks to administer oral medications to dogs and cats who do not understand what is going on, running away when it is pill time, or straining their heads away each time you attempt it. Whether it is a sweeter syrup or a less palatable pill, there just seems to be no easy way to go about this. In fact, the entire process can be so daunting and inconvenient (who wants to chase their cat around the house, or force-feed him?) that a shocking 40% of people fail to obey their vet’s medical instructions.

Fortunately, we’ve assembled some useful tips about how to give your pet their meds without any wrestling or running around the room.

Tips For Giving Your Pet Medication

  • Try feeding the medication outright. Though it might not be the most pleasant way, save yourself the hassle of complex tactics and try giving your pet the pill straight. Feed them the pill by hand on one side of the pet’s tongue as far as you can. Remove your hand quickly as this will cause them to have a swallowing reaction. Immediately follow this by giving a little piece of grilled chicken or dried meat to help them positively associate the pill-feeding time.
  • Outsmart your pet. Dogs and cats both can’t wait to dig into a delicious meal (especially after playtime or a long walk), so try mixing your pet’s medications into the food bowl. Obviously this might be harder to do if the pill sits on top of the pile. Try using a nut or seed grinder and mash up the pill into powder you can sprinkler over the food. Or whip up a cooked veggie or fruit mash as a “gravy” layer for their meal. Throw the ground pill, or the liquid medication into the blender, so that the mash will disguise the taste. Your pet will be none the wiser for taking his medication.
  • Mix treats with the meds. Several pet owners claim the easiest way for them to administer medication, is to hide the pill in a handful of yummy treats. Wrapping the pill in doggy bacon strips, or a few chewy cat treats can be a helpful way to give your pet the medication without causing him to gag over the bad flavor. There are also specific treats design to conceal pills in a small pocket inside them! If your pet likes to play games, try tossing them one treat, then two, then the pill, then another normal treat. Do what you need to do to make sure he gets the healthcare he needs.
    WARNING: If your dog or cat is suffering from an obesity-related disease, then be careful not to use the treat-pill method of medicating him. Giving an additional handful of treats to your pet every day might enable him to take the meds, but it will only exacerbate his health issues in the long run.
  • Stagger the pill-popping time. When pets have to take medication 1-2 times per day, they may catch onto you if you do the same routine every time. Opening a pill bottle will make a sharp rattling noise that might send your kitty sprinting for the curtains. Try to do so subtly, and at random times of the day, so as to avoid alarming your furry friend.

*NOTE: If pills and syrups just seem too difficult, ask your vet if there is a “chewable” kind of the medication that you can feed your pet instead.