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How to Give Your Dog a Pill

Giving your dog medication may not be as difficult as you think. Follow these simple steps, the more times you do it, the easier it will get.

  • Open your dog's mouth by placing one hand over the top of his muzzle. With your thumb and forefingers just behind the upper canine teeth, squeeze firmly in and up. This should open the dog's mouth.


  • With your other hand, hold the pill between your thumb and forefinger and gently press down on the lower jaw. With the mouth wide open place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, pushing it even further with your index finger.


  • Close your dog's mouth and hold the muzzle closed while your dog swallows. You can help by gently stroking you dog's throat downward. Also you can tap his nose with your finger or blow gently on his nose. This can cause him to lick his own nose and swallow. Be sure to give plenty of praise each time your dog swallows a pill.

Helpful Hints

The more quickly you perform the above steps, the better.
Film coated pills work the best. They go down easier and don't dissolve quickly.
If you cannot get the pill down, try disguising it in a food that your dog loves, such as peanut butter, crème cheese, or liver sausage. Be sure to check with your veterinarian; as some medications should not be taken with food.
Do not give your dog "human" medications. Some of them, such as ibuprofen, can be harmful or even fatal to dogs.
Always follow your veterinarian's medication instructions completely, no matter how quickly your dog seems to be getting better.