How to Give a Dog Pills

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The easiest way to give your dog a pill is to trick him into it so he doesn't know what's happening. If that's not an option, you can place the pill toward the back of your dog's mouth, but that might require some practice.


  1. Hide the pill in a piece of food if your vet gives you the OK. Some drugs need to be taken on an empty stomach so this is not always a viable option. Hide the pills inside a small piece of soft dog food or cheese. Feed your dog at least one treat without a pill first, then follow up with the one containing the pill. Keep the portion small so your dog doesn't feel tempted to chew and discovers the pill by accident.

  2. Put the pill in the back of your dog's mouth if hiding the pills in food doesn't work. Slip a finger towards his back teeth or press on the lips from above to cause the mouth to open. Once the mouth is open, push the pill towards the back of the tongue. Make sure the pill sits on the tongue and not near the teeth or gums, which might cause your dog to spit it out. Let your dog close his mouth and rub his throat to entice him to swallow. This method is also a good solution if your dog had dental surgery and can't handle eating treats with hidden pills inside.

  3. Buy a commercial product especially designed for administering pills. These are actually sold in the form of gummy, sticky treats that are malleable. You simply stick the pill in the middle and then mold the treat around it so your dog won't realize it's there.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your dog has trouble swallowing pills, ask the vet if a chewable tablet is available. Some medications are also available in liquid form, which you can mix with wet food so it can be easily administered.
  • If your dog just had dental surgery, ask your vet if injectable medication is a better option for the first couple of days, or until pain and inflammation go down. You can switch to the "hide the pill" trick after that.
  • Don't break or crush a pill unless the vet tells you it's OK. Crushing a pill might affect the way the pill is absorbed by the body. In addition, some medications have an unpleasant taste. You might have a hard time getting your dog to swallow if the pill is crushed.



  • Photo Credit Fantasista/iStock/Getty Images

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