If only giving medications to your pet was as easy as waving a magic wand. Animals have an intuitive sense of reading our emotions. If we’re nervous about having to give them a pill or eye drops, they will become anxious, too.

Over the years we’ve mastered the art of administering medications, and we’re happy to share some of our tricks and tips with you in the next few issues of Insights. This time around, we’ll show you how to give your pet a pill, step by step. Really, it’s easier than you may think!

  • For small pills, try hiding the pill in a small treat for your pet, such as cream cheese, peanut butter, liverwurst, chicken baby food or a “pill pocket.” If this doesn’t work, try crushing the pill and mixing it in with these treats or your pet’s wet food.
  • If hiding the pill doesn’t work, you may need to manually pill your pet. For a small dog or cat, first wrap them snugly in a towel (like a burrito) to increase their security, prevent scratching and give you better control. For larger pets, place them in a sitting position on a nonslip surface in the corner of a room for security.
  • Using your non-dominant hand, grasp the head from above and under the jaw and lift the nose toward the ceiling.
  • Using your dominant hand, grasp the pill between your thumb and index finger and use the middle finger to pull downward and open the lower jaw.
  • Drop or place the pill on the back of the throat (be careful not to get bitten).
  • Finally, massage the throat, or follow with a small amount of water in a syringe to ensure that the pill is swallowed.