Tough Pill to Swallow? Pill Pockets (and Other Schemes) To Change the Game

If you’ve ever watched a vet or tech administer medication, it can look remarkably easy. That is, of course, until you try it at home. The animal in need of a pill seems to have found a new hiding spot, or catches a whiff of the “yucky stuff” and protests with clenched jaws. You might be able to fool them by mixing their medication in with their food or, better yet, a special treat, but their cleverness always prevails. Half-eaten dishes or discarded treats may reveal that they managed to eat around the pill. 

Fortunately, pill pockets and other trickery offer great solutions to getting a picky pet to take their medicine. 

Miss a Dose?

When animals miss doses of necessary medication designed to heal or safeguard health, progress can be upended, or they can be exposed to certain health complications. It’s important that they consistently receive the right dose at the correct time. 

Saving Time and Money

Ensuring that your pet receives their timely medication reduces the negative impact of missed doses on their overall health – and your wallet. Administering medication at home doesn’t have to be fraught with confusion, frustration, or unfortunate results. 

Pill Pockets

Animals are highly food-motivated. As long as you are able to successfully mask the look and smell of medicine, most pets will happily gobble up whatever you’re trying to give them. And if peanut butter gobs or chicken meat bundles aren’t their jam, look no further than the ingeniousness of modern-day pill pockets.

Disguised Dosages

Masking the scent of unsavory, bitter, or bland medication is as easy as inserting a pill into a pocket of tasty goodness. Greenies Pill Pockets are always a safe bet. Simply squeeze the treat around a pill and watch the magic go down! 

Other Cheats

Sure, some pets don’t think twice about eating garbage or feces, but try to give them a pill and they turn up their nose. 

  • Show them a pill in one hand. 
  • Let them sniff it. 
  • Cover up another pill in a squished up gob of grated cheddar or unsweetened peanut butter. 
  • Give them a choice to either eat the pill straight, or the delicious treat that happens to be medication in disguise. 

You can try grinding up the pills into a powder and sprinkling it on their food, but make sure to check with your veterinarian first. This method can have mixed results (and it’s crucial they get their full dose every time).

Watch and Learn

If pill pockets don’t work, and they aren’t taking the bait on any other treats, use a pill dispenser or gently use your own hands:

  • Place the pill between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Gently pull back on your pet’s head to straighten out their neck.
  • Open their mouth and carefully drop the pill at the back of the throat (where the back of the tongue meets the palate).
  • Sweetly rub the throat in a downwards motion to help the pill go down.

Please let your Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital team know if you need help with pill pockets or other methods for safe, successful medication administration. Some prescriptions can be given trans-dermally or in compounds from special pharmacies.
The relationship between you and your pet will stay strong when you give them great alternatives for taking medicine or supplements they need. Good luck!

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