Administering Oral Medications to Pets

April 29, 2019

At some point in your pet's life, it's likely that he/she will require an oral medication or supplement. These come in four basic forms: liquids, pills, tablets, and capsules. Understandably, pets don't understand the importance of taking these products, and cats and dogs are infamous for putting up a fight. Fortunately, there are several tricks to facilitate dosing even the most reluctant animals. 



Know the Medication's SpecificationsSome products are given with food while others must be administered on an empty stomach. Some pills and tablets can be crushed or chewed, while others have a time-release coating or other reason for being swallowed whole. Some capsules may be broken open and their contents sprinkled on food, while others must be consumed intact.


Administering a Liquid Medication or Supplement:  Some palatable liquid medications are mixable with water. In these cases, administration should be as easy as giving your cat or dog a fresh bowl. Use a medicine dropper if you must give the medication directly. To drop liquid medication into the cheek pouch between your pet's cheek and molars, press her cheeks together between your thumb and fingers to open his/her mouth. Insert the tip of the dropper back into the cheek pouch and quickly squirt out the medication or supplement. Do not attempt to squirt the product directly down your pet's throat. Hold his/her mouth closed for a few seconds, but don't tip your pet's head up, as this may result in inhalation down the windpipe. When administering a large quantity, give it in a few separate squirts, allowing time for your pet to swallow in between each one.


Giving Your Pet Pills, Tablets, or Capsules:  When possible, opt for flavored products. These are generally palatable and your cat or dog is more likely to accept them. When you deposit a pill, tablet, or capsule on the back of the tongue, tip your pet's head back slightly and blow sharply into her nose to encourage swallowing.  If you can administer the medication or supplement with pet food, conceal the tablet in a small ball of wet food. Your pet may still separate and spit out the product, but using a secure, somewhat sticky product designed for delivering oral medications can make acceptance more likely. You can consider using Greenies Pill Pockets or Flavor Doh. If you can crush the tablet or pill, or if a capsule can be opened and sprinkled out, mix the bits or powder with your pet's favorite wet food.  Provided it's acceptable for your pet to eat after a dose, give your pet a treat and praise her after she takes her medication.

** Medicine Administration advice courtesy of **

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