How to Give a Stubborn Dog or Cat a Pill

We dog and cat lovers know the frustration and difficulty associated with giving our pets medicine. If we’re fortunate enough to have a medicine in liquid form, such as an herbal extract, administering it is relatively easy. Unfortunately, if the medicine is in pill or capsule form, we may have to overcome some resistance.

Before attempting to aggressively force our dog or cat to swallow a pill – or sneakily hiding the medicine inside food – let’s look at how veterinarians give pills to their patients. Employing a few simple tactics used by the professionals will make the process much easier for us and less stressful for the animal.

  • Step 1. Relax the dog or cat by playing with it in your usual fashion. Use a toy if the pet is accustomed to this. Don’t exhaust the dog or cat; simply play with the pet until his or her mood improves.
  • Step 2. Position yourself so you are at the same physical level as the pet. If the animal is relatively large, kneel beside the pet while he is sitting. If small, lift the pet and place him or her on a countertop or grooming table.
  • Step 3. Place a single hand over the dog or cat’s muzzle (the area directly between the pet’s nose and eyes) while holding the pill in the other hand. Don’t let the pet see the pill or it may demonstrate anxiety that could prevent successful administration.
  • Step 4. Gently open the dog or cat’s mouth with the hand holding the pill. Place the pill on the rear of the tongue and close the pet’s mouth.
  • Step 5. Hold the dog or cat’s mouth shut while gently blowing on the tip of its nose. This action will lead the pet to swallow on reflex before he or she has an opportunity to spit the medicine out.
  • Step 6. Give the dog or cat a treat immediately after the pet swallows the pill or capsule to ensure that it is not lodged in his or her throat or stowed in the side of his or her mouth.
  • Step 7. End the procedure with play and praise to encourage better cooperation in future attempts. Wait at least ten minutes before attempting to give additional medication.


Praise your dog or cat as you perform each step. This will help the pet relax and establish trust throughout the process. Remember, too, that liquid medication is more bio-available because it’s up to 5 times more absorbable than pills or granules.

That’s why today’s cutting edge in herbal remedies for dogs and cats is our PrimalixTM Herbal Extract line of Functional Food DropsTM. Now you can turn ordinary food into functional food that not only nourishes … but also heals.

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