Dogs and Medications - How to Give Tablets to Your Dog


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Does your dog mind taking tablets?

I don’t know why it is, but medicines for both humans and our pets usually taste bitter or otherwise revolting. And dogs are notoriously suspicious when it comes to being asked to take tablets of any description. Remember, your dog has an acute sense of smell! It’s difficult indeed to persuade the average pooch to swallow any medication designed to cure any illness, disease or disability from which he/she is suffering. Your poor dog doesn’t understand that you’re trying to assist him/her. No, they invariably view such treatments with utter contempt and disdain.

My Rottweiler, Kara, is actually not too bad with tablets. Mostly I can easily prise her mouth open, drop the medication onto the back of her tongue and then hold her mouth closed for a few seconds, and she’ll generally swallow it without too much fuss. Or if it’s a really nasty tasting one, a lump of peanut butter around the tablet will generally do the trick quite nicely.

Not so my Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jet. Oh no. Fortunately Jet has been surprisingly illness-free during her 10 years. I can only hope this picture of health phenomenon will continue for the remainder of her days. Because on the odd occasion when I do need to have her swallow anything faintly resembling a tablet, oh my goodness, what a fuss.

I dread giving tablets - medication and vitamins alike. You’d think that she’d know by now that I wasn’t trying to poison her. But no. She runs away and cowers in a corner, slipping deftly away whenever I get close. And when I do catch her, and throw the tablet into her mouth you’d think Jet’s life depended upon her making every conceivable attempt to spit the tablet out. Peanut butter? Forget it - she just licks it all off and spits the tablet out. Tasty cheese? Same thing. Crushing it up and mixing it in with her scrambled eggs/tinned tuna/canned dog food? Not a chance. Up goes her nose and away she trots.

So the only option is to hold that mouth closed until the tablet disintegrates, because oh my goodness, Jet is absolutely determined not to swallow. It takes several minutes of hanging on tight to her mouth and keeping it closed while she pushes her tongue out between the little gaps in her teeth over and over again making every possible attempt to disgorge the offending tablet, and when that fails, she simply froths at the mouth. And froths and froths and froths until I think she’s almost going to suffocate. And when it’s all over, she refuses to have anything to do with me (for at least 10 minutes until the terrible memory of it fades!)

I suppose I should count my lucky stars that one of my dogs is a pushover with the dreaded tablet taking scenario!

(c) 2005, Brigitte Smith, Healthy Happy Dogs

Brigitte Smith is a dog lover with a special interest in holistic dog health.

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