PhotoGiving your dog a pill, can actually be a pill for you. Dogs aren't any better than kids when it's time to take meds, but there are some ways to make giving a pill a little easier to swallow, both for you and your dog.

Many times vets have the chewable meds as opposed to capsule form. They taste better and dogs think they are a treat. That would be the ideal situation for both of you. You can also ask your vet if there is an injectable form. That's something the vet will have to do but many times it is a stronger dose and it's just one trip to the vet as opposed to many pill episodes.

If that isn't possible there is always the "fake out" method. You take the pill and hide it in the food. If you just feed dry dog food that pill will stick out like a sore thumb so add something wet to it. You can use a little canned dog food or put it in some cheese. Ask your vet if it is ok to crush it up and mix it directly with food. Depending on the medicine, this might not be a good option.

Great disguise

The great disguise can sometimes work. It's a little bit of a distraction. You get something the dog really likes, perhaps soft dog treats. You can use chunks of hot dogs, cheese, even bread that is soft, or pill pockets for dogs -- yes, they make treats that you can actually stick pills in.

My dogs eat the treats and leave the pills behind. Which can be frustrating to say the least. But the key is to disguise these with as much food surrounding the pill as possible. First give a few treats without the pill, then insert the pill inside the treat and see if they go for it. As soon as he has the one with the pill follow up fast with a plain treat.

You can try the "catch me if you can" method. If you normally toss treats to your dog, try slipping a pill in one of the treats, then throw it to your dog. 

This last idea will work and it just might be more stressful to both of you, but it is only for a couple of seconds so it is not the end of the world and just as with kids you know it is for their health. They have to take it and you need to do it.  

Hold the pill in the fingers of one hand. Place that hand on your dog’s lower jaw and the other hand on his upper jaw. Lift his head up toward the ceiling. Open your dog’s mouth and twist your hand around so you can insert the pill. Place the pill to the side of your dog’s tongue as far back as you can reach, and then quickly withdraw your hand as you close your dog’s jaws. Continue to hold your dog’s jaws closed with one hand while keeping his nose pointed up at the ceiling, and gently stroke his throat downward with the other to encourage him to swallow.

This does work and, seriously, it is only for a few seconds. Have a treat ready right after it and praise your dog telling him how good he is. Just keep your eye on your dog to make sure the pill really went down.

Don't be stressed

Try not to be stressed when you do administer a pill. Dogs can read body language and pick up on when you feel tense. If they feel your stress about this it will make them feel uneasy so try to act natural.

One thing you might want to do is to be proactive -- just start practicing in case you do need to give a pill. Teach your dog in advance that whenever you open his mouth and put something in, it’s almost always a tasty treat.

Eventually, your dog will look forward to your putting things into his mouth and he will trust that it always tastes good and it's a reward.

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