Your Dog Doesn’t Take Pills? 6 Tips & Tricks for an Uncooperative Dog

Your Dog Doesn’t Take Pills? 6 Tips & Tricks for an Uncooperative Dog

Dogs are undoubtedly a cut above many other domesticated animals when it comes to obedience. Even an untrained pup will quickly understand the household rules, like refraining from peeing inside, waiting patiently for its daily dose of kibble and snacks, and often even accept other domesticated animals such as cats or rabbits as a part of the family circle. With such a high degree of both adaptability and potential for training-derived specialization, it’s no wonder that some see more similarities than differences between humans and canines. 

Sadly, similarities don’t include only positives. If there’s one thing that both humans and dogs despise, it is taking medication in any form. Pills often taste atrocious, so even though they are beneficial to your dog’s well-being, they aren’t what the dog would recognize as food. 

Luckily, there are various ways of making your pet swallow these tablets. Below you’ll find several helpful tips, including using edible pill containers, putting medication inside dog treats, using special pill devices, rewarding your dog for eating the pills, or simply talking to your vet if none of the above work. Study the suggestions below and have your puppy never refuse medicine again.

Packing the tablet into another edible pill container:

If you’re determined to pry your dog’s jaws open and somehow stuff the pill inside, feel free to do so, but we’d strongly advise against it. Not only is it risky, but it’s also a waste of effort. If the dog doesn’t like the taste of the medication, no matter how much you force it to swallow, it’ll just spit it back out. One way to go about it is to buy a special edible pill container. These may look just like pills but are empty so that you could put the proper medication inside.

Popular drugs like Prednisone for dogs should fit in a container, but if not, all you have to do is crush or powderize it and then put it inside. The main advantage of the edible pill casings is that they negate the terrible taste and a lot of the smell. Chances are, your dog may not even realize it’s eating the medicaments. 

Disguising solid medication into pill pockets:

A lot of dog owners strongly advocate for this method, and with good reason. Pill pockets are small treats that come in various flavors and can easily store medication inside. This way, your dog won’t suspect any foul play and will readily gobble up both. It is a good practice to cover the medicine in some peanut butter or other treats that the dog loves. This way, you’ll have a better chance of him being interested in what’s going on. After all, what kind of dog can resist the spread of the Gods?

Putting medication inside dog treats:

The obvious advantage of this solution is that you can get your dog to eat anything if it’s placed inside a tasty treat. No matter if it’s merely a pill, a capsule, or a tablet, simply wrap it up in a piece of meat or cheese, and you should have a problem-free administration session. If the pill is particularly large, you may want to place a piece of bread around it before wrapping it into a treat. If your canine friend is very suspicious or has been trained not to eat from people’s hands, you might want to use a treat bag, which can easily be found in pet stores.

Using special pill devices:

If all the above fail, there are several specialized devices designed to make administering pills easier for people and their pets. These pill guns look somewhat similar to syringes but have a special tip that enables a person to push a pill inside a pet’s mouth with minimal effort. They are widely available at most pet stores and usually come with a pack of flavored lubricants to ensure maximum palatability. Make sure to give your dog some treats afterward to ensure he doesn’t associate the unpleasant situation with the smell of the medication. 

Adequately rewarding dogs for eating pills:

Some dogs are inherently suspicious of new things, let alone food they don’t recognize. To overcome this problem, all you need to do is ensure they eat the medicine without fuss. If they see that receiving something unpleasant is followed by something pleasant, they will likely start trying to figure out the same thing themselves. To achieve this, try offering your dog treats after each successful pill-taking session, gradually increasing the size and number of treats until you reach ten minutes after administration, when all the unpleasantness is completely forgotten.


Talking to your veterinarian:

Lastly, if none of the above works, the only other way to ensure your dog takes his medication is to consult a professional. Not all dogs are as easily fooled as others, and some require a more personalized approach to medication administration. If your dog is a particularly problematic eater, even for non-medication purposes, try asking a vet for advice on what to do. They will most likely have many ways to administer meds, as most drugs come in at least a few forms like solid, liquid, intravenous, etc. Don’t worry; your dog will get the drug, one way or another. 


Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, you can always teach it to take pills. You can start with pill containers, or better yet, pill pockets. These are delicious treats that your dog will love. Once it is used to taking these treats, you can slowly introduce pills without the treat. If your dog is particularly stubborn, you might want to try the catheter method or ask your vet for advice. They will likely have many drug administration methods which you can pick up. 


All in all, administering drugs to your dog is not impossible, and there are many ways to do it. The most important thing is not to give up and think of the most effective way, and later your dog will happily swallow its pills.