Just a Spoonful of Cat Food?

Some of you have met my little Killian in past blog entries or on his Facebook page. One thing I don’t talk a lot about with Killian is how incredibly difficult he can be to medicate.  Now, I am not new to medicating dogs. I have even been hired by clients to come over and give medication to difficult dogs.  But Killian is a master at avoiding his pills.

Killian in his wheels

When I first got Killian I actually took him to the vet every day so they could give him his meds.  Killian is not just paraplegic. He also suffers from epilepsy and chronic hepatitis. He takes a lot of medication to keep him going.

Killian is a small dog, so one would expect that, at the very least, I could force the pills down him. And I have. But Killian has learned how to cheek them or keep them just in the top of his throat where I cannot see them.  As soon as I turn my back on him, ptooey! And he has some range – on occasion over six feet. The pill ends up across the room, and I am on my knees trying to locate it. Because not only are his pills varied for each condition, some of them are also extremely expensive.

So I feel your pain if you have a dog that is difficult to pill. Here are the options I have used over the years.  Not all work with all dogs, but I find that usually one of them does work.

  1. Wrapping the pill in something yummy is usually sufficient for most dogs. American cheese works well if you don’t want to purchase pill pockets. Or a small piece of bread can work in a pinch.
  2. Peanut butter is an experience all its’ own when pilling dogs.  Some dogs it works well.  They cannot help but smack their lips and lick and swallow the delicious gooey mess.
  3. Force is my least favorite way to pill a dog, but in life or death situations it may be necessary. I always feel terrible opening a dogs mouth by force.  But if you need to do it, the easiest way is to place your hand over your dog’s muzzle with the thumb on one side and your index finger on the other.  Find the gap in the teeth (about half way back) and press in. You will find you can gently pull the mouth open. Place the pill as far back in the mouth as you can (using a pill syringe can make this easier) and close the dog’s mouth, holding the head in a normal position (parallel to the ground). Sometimes rubbing the throat will help the dog swallow. Gently hold the muzzle closed long enough that the dog swallows the pill.
  4. Depending on the pill you may be able to crush it (or open a capsule) into something tasty.  Always ask your vet before you do this as some medicines are made to dissolve slowly, and this will release all the medication at once.  Your vet may also know just how strong the flavor is on the pills. Killian’s vet and I have worked to find pills that I can do this with. I use a little yogurt or kefir.

Yeah, I know.  If you are reading this you have probably tried all of this.  I certainly tried and failed with all of these methods with Killian. A few tweaks can turn these failures into success. Here are the tweaks!

  1. When wrapping the pills in choice one above, also make several small balls of cheese or whatever you are using that are identical to the one that houses the pill.  Throw these on the floor one at a time and let your dog gobble them up.  Usually by the second or third your dog is no longer taking the time to taste or chew. At this point, throw the “meatball” with the pill in it. Chances are your dog will gobble it up! I have yet to encounter a dog that cannot be fooled this way.
  2. If you have a bunch of pills to give and the meatball method is too much “junk food”  consider adding a “chaser” once you have the pill in your dog’s mouth. I have used either moist treats or a syringe with chicken broth in it.  Pill goes in, and is immediately followed by the chaser.  The dog is forced to swallow the pill so he doesn’t have to spit out the chaser.

Chances are one of the above methods will work at getting your dog’s pill down him.  You might also consult your vet to see if there is a palatable liquid version of the medication.  We have done this with Killian’s epilepsy medicine, and it has been much easier on both of us.

Do you have any creative ways you have found to get pills down your dog?  Please post them in the comments below!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pet Professional Guild Launches Worldwide Advocacy Program — The Pet Professional Guild

Project Trade encourages pet owners to exchange aversive training devices for discounted force-free training services provided by PPG members Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has launched Project Trade, an international advocacy program that encourages pet owners to … Continue reading →

via Pet Professional Guild Launches Worldwide Advocacy Program — The Pet Professional Guild

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Every Pet Owner Needs To Know About Dog Trainers

Fearfuldogs' Blog

1. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means ANYONE can tap themselves on the shoulder with a sword and pen and ink cartoon of panting  hound doganoint themselves a; trainer, behaviorist, whisperer, dog psychologist, rehabilitator, nanny, etc.

2. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means anyone can anoint themselves as the certifier of; trainers, behaviorists, whisperers, dog psychologists, rehabilitators, nannies, etc.

3. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means there are no standard operating procedures that any of the above “professionals” needs to follow in order to have business cards printed, websites built or cash your check.

4. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means anyone can recommend the use of pinching, shocking, squirting, startling, choking, hitting, poking, kicking, rolling, etc., to end unwanted behaviors.

5. Dog training is an unregulated industry. This means anyone can put treats in their pocket, spray their pants with lavender oil and call themselves a “positive-only” trainer.

6. Dog…

View original post 176 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Problems with Remote Collars

You may be surprised to know that I once used these. You won’t be surprised to hear that I am really, really sorry.

Paws Abilities

There are many different training methods out there, and each has its pros and cons. Today, I want to talk specifically about the use of remote collars (also known as shock collars or e-collars).

Photo by Tate Viehmann Photo by Tate Viehmann

Today’s remote collars are a far cry from early versions. Many brands now have a very wide range of shocks (called “stimulations” by collar users), which can range from virtually unnoticeable to intensely painful. “Good” remote collar trainers use the collars primarily as negative reinforcement. What that means is that the dog learns to comply immediately in order to turn off a painful, uncomfortable, or annoying sensation. While this is a far cry from the early days of remote collar use, when dogs were hurt at high levels for noncompliance (a training technique called positive punishment, for you geeks out there), it’s still not a pleasant way to learn.

So, how would…

View original post 1,146 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why the Latest Cesar Milan Incident Isn’t Just About a Pig

Great explanation of the hoopla for those who think it is much ado about nothing.

Wilde About Dogs

If you’re involved in the dog world in any way, chances are you’ve heard about the latest incident involving Cesar Milan. In a nutshell, on National Geographic’s “Cesar 911,” a dog named Simon who was a known pig killer was brought to Cesar for rehabilitation. The televised incident that has so many up in arms occurred when another man restrained a pig by the hind legs, causing it to squeal, and Simon, having been let off leash by Cesar (who previously had him on a long line), ran at the pig and bit its ear, drawing blood and, according to many reports, removing a chunk of the pig’s ear. Shortly after Cesar applied his brand of “rehabilitation,” he leashed Simon to the pig and boasted about how wonderful it was that they could be together in that way without violence. The incident was reported to Animal Control and Cesar is…

View original post 1,074 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why we need to challenge what our trainers tell us.

There has been enough coverage of the incident featured on Cesar 911 recently where Simon the French Bulldog cross, who had previously killed pigs, was allowed to be in an enclosed area off lead wi…

Source: Why we need to challenge what our trainers tell us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breed Labels: When Guesses Turn Into Predictions

Source: Breed Labels: When Guesses Turn Into Predictions

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment