How to give your cat or dog their medicine

Many cats and dogs dislike taking medicine - but if they need to take regular medication tablet time can become a nightmare!

Petplan looks at the best tips and tricks to get your four-legged companion to take their medicine happily and fuss-free...

How to give your dog tablets with food

Firstly, check with your vet to see whether the prescribed tablets can be given with food or if they need to be administered on an empty stomach.

If they can be given with food then often the best way to get your dog to swallow tablets is to hide them a small amount in their food. By giving them only a small amount of their normal breakfast or dinner they are more likely to eat it (with the tablet!), and you can then give them the rest of their normal amount of food.

If this doesn’t work coat the tablet in a soft, malleable food such as a small chewy treat. The size of the treat is important though – it needs to be small enough that your dog can swallow without chewing. Dogs are very clever, if there is some taste or texture they don’t like, then they may eat around the tablet and simply eat the treat.

Try giving a couple of small treats, and then one with the tablet concealed inside it.

How to give your dog tablets without food

If the medicine needs to be taken on an empty stomach simply get your dog to sit upright, tilt their head back and open their mouth. Place the tablet as far back on their tongue as possible and close their mouth – keeping your hands over the top and bottom of their jaw, gently massaging their throat to encourage them to swallow.

Always be calm and offer words of encouragement, followed by a treat to reward them for their good behaviour.

How to give your dog liquid medicine

If you have to give your dog liquid medicine, you should use a dropper or syringe - preferably the one which came with the medicine. Hold your dog’s head, but do not tilt it back or they may inhale and splutter on the medicine. Put the tip of the dropper into a corner of their mouth, between the cheek and the teeth, making sure that it’s pointing towards the back of their throat.

Empty the dropper into their mouth and then hold your dog’s mouth closed. Stroke their throat or gently blow onto their nose to coax them to swallow. Again always be calm and offer words of encouragement, followed by a treat to reward them for their good behaviour.

How to give your cat tablets with food

As with dogs, check whether the tablet can be given with food, or if it should be on an empty stomach.

If it can be taken with food, then similarly to dogs you can try mixing it in with a small piece of their breakfast or dinner or try pushing the tablet into the centre of their favourite tasty treat, such as a small piece of cheese or chicken.

How to give your cat tablets without food

Cats are notoriously tricky to give tablets to as they have sharp claws to contend with!

When administering liquid medication, it’s a similar process. However don’t tip your cat’s head back or you run the risk of them inhaling it and choking. Instead, use a finger to pry open the lower jaw. Squirt the medicine into the pouch between the teeth and the cheek.

Do you have any tips for persuading your reluctant pet to take tablets easily and stress-free? Let us know in the comments below…