Question: How do I get my dog to take a pill?

Answer: If you did not take our advice in the December issue, and your dog got some people’s food over the holidays, chances are you have been to your veterinarian with upset tummy problems. After making a diagnosis, we usually prescribe some type of oral medication and assume the client will give it, and the pet will take it. In reality, we know it is not always that easy, and statistics indicate only 30% compliance of treatment at home. This is disappointing, so I would like to give some tips on giving oral medications.

Liquids are easier to administer than pills or capsules, so ask your doctor if the prescribed medication comes in a liquid form. If it does not, here at Springboro Veterinary Hospital, we can compound the pills into a liquid form that should make it easier for you to administer. We also have Pill Shooters (a syringe that holds water and pill) that you can squirt the pill into the pet’s mouth. Another method we have is Pill Pockets (a tasty treat with a hole in it for the pill) that you hide the pill in and give to the pet as a treat. You can also try any number of treats at home, such as peanut butter, cheese whiz, veggie hot dogs, canned dog food, etc.

When all else fails, you may be tempted to pry open your dog’s mouth and just cram the medication down. This is not a good idea, as you and/or your dog could get hurt, and it builds stress and distrust, making your next attempt even harder. The best thing to do is just take a break and try again later.

Just to make you all jealous, I give my dog Rosy pills by telling her to sit and then toss a treat in the air, which she catches. Then I toss the pill in the air, which she also catches. Then she gets another treat for being a good dog. You can create your own routines to make an unpleasant problem fun.

Question: How do I get my cat to take a pill?

Answer: Giving a pill to a cat can be a little more challenging than a dog!! Cats have their own unique and powerful way of saying NO to all pills.
Giving medicine to a cat can be a trial of perseverance for most of us veterinarians and pet parents. Medications for cats come in different pills, tablets, liquids, and transdermal formulas, and it is imperative that pet parents take this into consideration when choosing medications for their cat
Ask your veterinarian which formulations are available and what might work best for you and your cat based on their personality. You should also ask for a prescription with the lowest interim medicating possible. It’s much easier to take a medication once a day versus two or three times.

Hide the full or crushed medication in a treat such as a Pill Pocket. The smell of the appetizing treat may conceal the smell of the medicine. Another is by using gentle restraint and a pill gun or by using quick finger work. This can be difficult and takes practice and a mild-mannered cat in order to prevent injury and stress. Your veterinarian can demonstrate how to give a pill.

Give a taste introduction.

Let your cat taste the liquid to see if they might like it. If they, don’t you will need to use the methods like above. Some liquid medicines come in different flavors that may be more appealing to your cat; ask your veterinarian. Some medication can even come in the taste of tuna.

Topical Medication

Transdermal medications are applied topically to the cat’s ear skin for absorption into the body via the bloodstream. Unfortunately, all medications are can be absorbed this way, so be sure to consult your veterinarian. Always wear gloves and wash your hands after applying this type of medication as to not absorb it yourself. Sometimes waiting for a good purring session with your cat is a good time to apply transdermal medications.

If you need help giving medications to your pet, call us we can help!



If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.

If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snowdrifts, ice, or other obstacles.
If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.