I can see you standing over your dog holding her mouth closed, blowing softly into her nose, begging her to 'Swallow, swallow...' Sometimes it works; sometimes you think it worked, and then some time later you find the pill on the floor.
When a dog is generally healthy, and you're just giving him a few supplements, you can hide each of them in a special dog treat designed specifically to hold dog pills. The most popular of these is Greenies Pill Pockets, (see below) which many of veterinarians recommend and also use in their clinics.
But what if he's so sick he isn't interested in sniffing the great treat you have in store for him, no less swallowing it? Here are a few methods you can try:
1. Pilling: Insert the pill in a "piller," a pill plunger that is long enough to reach the back of your dog's tongue without you getting bitten. Once the pill is in the back of your dog's throat, you can push it out of the piller. The only way I've had this work is if I coat the pill and the end of the piller with something that will help the pill slide down, like peanut butter or semi-thick baby food. The problem is that pillers are plastic and not very throat-friendly, but they will save your fingers from getting bitten. A piller might be the best force-feeding too for pilling a capsule.
2. Squirting: Wrap the pill in a piece of waxed paper and gently break up the pill with the bottom of a spoon or a small hammer; then mix ALL of the pill grains into a small bowl of clear, warm chicken or beef broth. Use a pet syringe to gently push the liquid out onto the middle-to-back of your dog's tongue. Personally, I found this slow squirting method to be the best way to pill. The Krusse Buster, above, is a great combination piller and syringe as it allows a bit of liquid in the vial to accompany the pill - like a chaser! Just make sure the vial is pointed to the back of the tongue; otherwise the contents of the vial will pour out the other side of your dog's mouth.
3. Pill Force-Feeding: You may decide that the best way to pill your dog is to put the pill down his throat wrapped in a small piece of food. That food should be pliable and smooth like, peanut butter, cream cheese, soft sliced cheese; or, if your dog likes the dog pill holders below, keep a bag or two on hand for just this purpose. Make sure the pill holder is not much wider than the pill itself or your dog might not be able to swallow it, and will end up spitting the whole thing right out. Most of the pill holders are on the wide side, which is great for covering the pill, but smaller dogs may not be able to swallow them whole.
If your pup needs to be fed food by force, your vet should have supervised your decision, as if your dog needs to be force-fed for more than a day, he is probably very SICK! If your vet is taking care of the underlying problem that's causing your pet not to eat willingly, than you may try feeding food by squirting thin liquids and/or feeding through a fat syringe or a spoon for thicker liquids, although the spoon method is extraordinarily messy if you dog doesn't want to eat!
Here are some great pill holder treats that will save you A LOT of effort, IF YOUR DOG IS ATTRACTED TO THEM! Even though the Greenies are the most popular brand of pill holder treats, all those below are just about equally rated. Some dogs favor different flavors and consistencies, but they all have their loyal customers.
They sound delicious to me, and most dog parents say their dogs find them good enough to eat! Zoë Pill Pops come in Grilled Beef With Ginger, Peanut Butter With Honey, and Roasted Chicken With Rosemary. Yummy!
Also a big hit with pooches, good ole' Milk Bone Pill Pouches come in Chicken and Hickory Smoked Bacon flavors.
Tomlyn is an interesting change from most of the pockets and pouches. Tomlyn Pill Masker is actually a bacon-flavored paste that you can shape into your own pill pocket, like Play-Doh - Bacon-flavored Play Doh.
A relatively new, but as you can see, promising Pliable Pill Wrapping For Dogs. Looks like some fun for you too! This is bacon flavored.
When it comes to pilling your dog, the pill pouches are the best choice if your dog is fooled by the smell of the pockets and likes that smell. Otherwise, you will have to resort to one of the pilling methods above. Just make sure you use common sense and good safety practices, no matter how you pill your pups.