Dogs are like children in so many ways (let’s hope fleas isn’t one example of their similarities). They can’t be left alone for too long. They’re far more pleasant to be around with when they’re utterly exhausted, and they both hate to swallow pills. And just like with kids, we tend to hide our dogs’ medicine inside their food. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If you find yourself on the losing end of the hide-the-pill-in-a-heap-of-food game, here are 3 alternative tricks to help give your pooch a pill.
1. We’d be remiss not to mention that the tried and true practice of hiding pills inside of food does, indeed, work. It does. It just doesn’t always work. That’s because if you give your dog the same old food every day (which is fine), he’ll be far more likely to sniff out the pill and avoid it at all costs. So, how can you use the food trick to your advantage? Use super smelly, tasty food. Make this an opportunity to treat your dog to the best meal of his life. That doesn’t mean you have to overfeed him to the point of obesity. You can simply add some cream cheese, or butter (which is great because it’s slippery) to his food. If your pill smells (remember, your dog picks up more scents than you can), go big or go home. Choose something like Limburger cheese (yup, some of the stinkiest cheese on the planet, but your dog will love it). The new (and smelly) food will get your dog so excited that he’ll completely forget that you stuffed his meal with a healthy medicated surprise.
2. Play catch. File this one under “let’s really trick our dogs.” Have you ever taught your dog how to catch a treat in mid-air? Many dog owners have. If you haven’t, it’s pretty easy. We suggest starting out with Cheerios, as you get thousands of those little O’s to use as practice. Anyways, if your dog knows how to catch treats in mid-air, use that to your advantage. Start tossing treats to him. He usually spends very little time tasting and dissecting the treats you’re tossing, and focuses his energy on catching and swallowing. So, in the middle of your treat tossing, sneak in your pill. When your dog catches and swallows the pill, keep giving him a few more treats to make sure he knows this game is a game of treats, not sneaky pills.
3. Use pill pockets. Something like Greenies Pill Pockets can work wonders for you, as you can stick the pill right inside the treat. Again, it’s always best to sandwich the pill-giving with some “placebos,” or non-pill treats. That way your dog is too distracted to notice anything really happened.
Many treats these days are flavored, which makes your life a lot easier, but you can’t always rely on that. Using these tips above might help you give your dog the medicine he needs, without having to wrestle him to the ground, and prying his jaws open and catapulting a pill down his throat like a grenade in a well.