How to Give a Small Dog Capsule Medicine

At some time in your dog's life, it is probable that you will have to give him some sort of medication. If you have a small dog and have to give him a capsule or pill, the chore can be daunting. Dog medications often do not taste great, and some dogs are particularly finicky about this. Luckily, there are a couple of methods to get your small dog to take a capsule with little effort on your part.

Things You'll Need

  • Capsule
  • Wet dog food
  • Pill dispenser


  1. Method One: Basic Method

    • 1

      Place your thumb in your dog's mouth. You want to position your thumb right behind a canine tooth on the top of his mouth and press up. This will make your dog open his mouth. Another option is to squeeze the dog's lips against his upper teeth. When you do this, he will also open his mouth.

    • 2

      Place your other thumb inside his mouth as it opens and press down. The placement of this thumb depends on where you can comfortably get your hand. This method will fully open your dog's mouth for you.

    • 3

      Tilt your dog's head back and place the capsule on the back of the tongue, in the center. Too far to the side or the front of the mouth will allow your dog to work the pill back out of his mouth.

    • 4

      Use your hands to close your dog's mouth and hold it gently shut with one hand. If you prefer not to hold his mouth shut, you can use one hand under his chin to hold his nose in the air.

    • 5

      Rub your dog's throat gently. This will make him swallow the pill. If rubbing does not get him to swallow you can try blowing in his nose or injecting a syringe full of water into his mouth to get him to swallow.

    Method Two: Food Method

    • 6

      Verify with your veterinarian that your dog's particular medication can be given with food.

    • 7

      Open a can of wet dog food and form four separate balls out of the food by rolling it in your hands. The resulting ball should look like a meatball. The size of the balls will depend on your dog.

    • 8

      Insert the capsule into the center of one of the balls. Make sure the food is fully covering the medication.

    • 9

      Give your dog one of the un-medicated balls. Repeat with a second un-medicated ball. This is showing him that the food balls are good and should encourage him to eat the one with the capsule in it.

    • 10

      Give your dog the medicated ball, followed by the fourth un-medicated ball. Giving him an additional ball without medication will encourage him to continue to eat even if he gets a taste of the medication and does not like it.

    Method Three: Pill Dispenser

    • 11

      Place the capsule on the end of a pill dispenser, also sometimes called a pill shooter. You can get pill dispensers from your vet as well as pet supply stores. They look like syringes.

    • 12

      Place the end of the dispenser inside your dog's mouth and push it back towards the back of his throat as far as you can.

    • 13

      Push the plunge to release the pill into your dog's mouth. The pill dispenser is useful for dogs who are nippy and keeps your hands away from the mouth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you follow all veterinarian instructions when it comes to medications for your dog.
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  • Photo Credit Small Dog image by Nick Scott-Jones from

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