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Dog Doesn't Like Taking Pills? Here's What You Need To Know About Getting Your Dog To Take Its Medicine

If you're like most pet owners, the time will come when it's necessary for your pet to take prescription medication — and as you may already know, this may be easier said than done. Many dogs are notoriously averse to swallowing medicine in any form, and pet owners are often left feeling exasperated when they find pills they thought their furry friends had swallowed on the floor several hours later. Medication time often becomes a stressful ordeal for pets as well as their owners, and some pets become absolute masters at tricking their humans into thinking that they've swallowed their pills when they actually haven't. This not only has adverse effects on the health of the animal, but it also erodes the sense of trust that serves as a foundational element of the bond between dogs and their owners. 

Traditional Ways of Administering Medication to Dogs

The traditional way of giving a dog a pill is to hold its mouth open, place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, and hold the dog's mouth closed until it swallows the pill. Stroking the dog's throat in a downward direction may help this process. This can work on small dogs and on those with a docile temperament, but it's not for every situation. Some dogs become resentful enough of this practice to actively resist by hiding when the pill bottle is brought out, holding their mouths closed, and even nipping when their owners try to place the pill on their tongues.

Another traditional way of giving a dog a pill is to wrap the pill in something tasty — after all, virtually any dog will eat something wrapped in delicious bacon. This approach may be perfectly fine for dogs that need medication on a short-term basis, but it can have serious and tragic consequences if it's used on a regular basis for long-term medication. Dogs naturally love anything that's high in fat, and eating too many fatty foods can result in the animal developing canine pancreatitis.

Those who are going to wrap their pet's medications in human food should use low-fat options such as lean chicken or turkey, but most people don't have these on hand on a daily basis. Crushing pills and mixing them into pet food is another way to administer medication to pets, but this can have mixed results — some dogs may refuse to eat the food at all if something seems off. 

Pill Pockets

Pill pockets are just another way of wrapping medication in something that tastes good to entice the dog to swallow the pills. They tend to work well for dogs that have a propensity to gulp their food quickly, but more discerning canines often discover that there's a pill inside. Before using pill pockets on a regular basis, make sure to check with your veterinarian and ask for recommendations — pill pockets come in a variety of brands, and some are higher in fat than others. 

Flavored Compounded Pet Medicine

Compounded pet medicine is relatively new on the veterinary scene. In veterinary medicine, compounded drugs have two major benefits — they can be transformed into liquid form that can be sprinkled on your dog's regular food and given a flavor that's appealing to dogs, and they can be used to combine several medications, making it an excellent choice for those who have to give their dogs several pills per day on an ongoing basis. Compounding is sometimes used to create a transdermal option as well. Your local veterinarian can provide you with more information on compounded pet medication and help you decide whether it's a good alternative to getting your furry friend to take its medicine. 

To learn more, contact a resource that offers compounded pet medication.