Step-by-Step Guide to Giving Medicine to Your Dog

Administering medication: Many dog owners dread doing it as much as their canines dread being on the receiving end of it — and it's even worse when the medicine comes in the form of a pill, tablet or capsule. If you’ve ever seen your pup spit out a pill or found a capsule you were certain had been swallowed laying on the floor, you understand the frustration. Thankfully, we have some expert strategies for getting your pup to take a pill successfully. All it takes is treats, praise and stealth. Yes, stealth! In fact, Milk-Bone ® Pill Pouches make hiding medication easy — your dog will just think he's getting a yummy treat. See what we mean by checking out the advice below.

Need to Give Your Dog Medication? Here are 6 Tricks That Actually Work

Dog getting Milk-Bone Pill Pouch

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Hide his medication in a pill pouch.

When it comes to giving your pup medication that comes in pill form, stealth is key. His powerful nose might be turned off by the medicine’s unsavory scent. By hiding his medication in a treat or food, you’ll be able to help mask its smell and taste. Now, you could cover up his pill with peanut butter, canned food or another yummy treat, but that can be messy. Why not hide it in something that’s tasty, effective and mess-free? Milk-Bone® Pill Pouches are available in bacon and chicken flavors and make administering medication much easier. Just be sure to check with your vet first to ensure the medication is OK to give with food.

Giving a treat to a puppy


Give your dog a reward for taking the pill in the pill pouch.

After your pup swallows his medication in the pill pouch, immediately reward with another Milk-Bone® treat. This will help reinforce the idea that taking medication is a positive experience — and nothing to be scared about.

Praising and petting Golden Retriever


Start with a positive attitude and end with a treat and praise.

If you’re stressed about giving your canine his medicine, chances are, your pup will be anxious, too. As you prepare to give him his medication, talk in a cheerful, high-pitched voice. Once he successfully takes the treatment, lavish your pup with praise — and another treat. If he doesn’t swallow the pill, don’t show your frustration. Try again with the same positive, upbeat attitude.

Veterinarian giving dog pill


Ask your veterinarian how to administer the medicine.

If you still need help, ask your vet! He’s an excellent resource for learning the secret to administering medication to stubborn canines. He may recommend hiding pills in treats like Milk-Bone® Pill Pouches, cutting the medication to make it smaller (this can only be done with certain medications — so ask your vet first) or other techniques. Plus, he'll tell you everything you need to know about dosage, possible side effects and how soon you should be able to see results from the medication.

Dog getting liquid medicine


Ask your vet if the medication comes in an alternative form.

If all else fails, ask your vet if the medication is available in a time-released injectable form or as a liquid or chewable treat. You can even see if your vet can compound the medicine. These alternatives aren’t always possible, though, so don’t rely on these options for administering medication.

Pouring prescription pills in hand


Always give pet medication exactly as prescribed.

Your pet won’t remember when to take his medication — that's up to you! If you think you might forget a dose, set an alarm on your phone or write it down on a calendar. Always follow the directions and make sure you give him the medication until the end of the supply, even if he’s no longer showing any signs of the condition. And if your pup has finished all the medication and still hasn’t improved, contact your veterinarian for advice.