How to Medicate a Finicky Dog That Needs a Ton of Pills?

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Member Since
Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 8:28am PST 
I have to give my senior Border Collie 10 pills in the morning and 10 in the evening, along with 4 scoops of powder medicine (about 1oz (4cc) of medicine). I have tried everything suggested in these forums. I stuffed the pills in everything from Pill Pockets, cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter, etc. etc.

The pills are capsules and if you open them up and mix them in anything, he won't touch it. He stopped touching just about all food thinking it has pills hidden in it. He needs the food all cut into small portions so he can eat it piece by piece to test for pills. This doesn't even cover the powder medicine I have to give. I used to mix it in a raw egg that he ate, but now he is refusing that, too.

He is not losing his appetite. If we don't pay attention, he will devour our Great Dane's food if she is off guard.

Right now I am forced to give him each pill individually putting them down his throat one at a time.
Scruffy (RIP)

In Loving Memory
Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 8:50am PST 
Have you tried a pill popper? You can fit multiple pills in them. It makes pilling quicker and easier. As for the powdered meds, get a syringe (no needle) and mix the powder with a liquid, then suck the mixture up in the syringe and squirt it down the throat.

Edited by author Sat Jan 5, '13 8:55am PST

Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 9:03am PST 
Is it possible the meds are causing nausea? The lengths he's going to avoid them strike me as extreme for "just" a bad taste.

Otherwise... Sometimes pilling is all you can do. He needs the meds, and if he really will not eat them in anything... What else can you do? To get the powder in him, you can buy empty pill capsules and pill them too.

A couple times I tried mixing all his pills into a paste of cream cheese (his fav, and there were no dairy restrictions). He still didn't willingly eat it, so I would smear it across the top of his mouth and hold his head up until he swallowed. It did work but I think we both preferred just plain ol' pilling.

I used to break up Vance's pilling into 4 or 5 sessions instead of two, just to make it easier. After each session he got a treat (you can counter-condition and reward taking pills, like any other behavior) and a small meal. But, most of what he was on was not time-sensitive.


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sat Jan 5, '13 3:52pm PST 
Canned green tripe? Liver sausage?

I would be pilling too. Get some gooey food and sort of wrap the pill in it and down the throat. Makes it slide down easier. I would start with something like peanut butter, butter or cream cheese rather than green tripe. I may be a crazy dog lady but there are limits.

How to get powder down? Could you ask the vet to prescribe some other formulation? Make jello with it? Now that would be difficult to pill!

Miss Lily, Lily- Belle
Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 5:19am PST 
I've been having a similar problem with Lily. In the past, peanut butter has always worked, but she snuck up on me and saw me putting pills in it, and now won't touch it.

Cheese cubes worked for awhile, but she figured that out, too.

Bread works sometimes.

I tried potted meat, and that worked pretty well for a few days.

Cat food works very well, but it is messy. No matter what you use, you have to make sure the pill is completely covered. Some of those pills have strong odors.

Currently, I'm using hot dogs (beef, or turkey, not pork). I just tear off a piece of the hot dog, and shove the pill deep into it. When I give her that piece, I make sure she sees me holding another. That make her hurry through the first one, in order to get to the next.

Someone suggested liverwurst, but I haven't been able to find it. I got braunschweiger with bacon fat wrapped around it, instead, but my vet told me to stay away from pork.

Whatever you do, don't let the dog see you putting the pills in whatever you're using to get it to eat it. Also, do it one pill at a time. The reason the hot dogs work so well is, she wolfs the smallish pieces down without chewing them. if I used a bigger piece to get more pills down her at one time, she might chew it, and get a taste of the pill. It'd be all over then.