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How to Give a Pill to a Dog Who Bites

January 03, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, General Dog Health, Greenies Pill Pockets for Dogs, Pet Medications, Pet Pill Shooters

Learn tips and tricks to give a pill to a dog who bites and nips. (Daniel Andres Forero Photo)

Some dogs will do anything to avoid taking a pill. Some dogs will bite when the owner tries to give a pill. These dogs will often struggle violently and in the process, some dogs will spit out the pill, bringing the pet owner back to square one.

For these resistant dogs, there are a few tricks for giving a pill to the dog.

Giving a Pill to a Dog Who Bites

If your dog bites when you try to give a pill, there are a few solutions that pet owners can try. If possible, get the dog to take the pill voluntarily. If this is not possible, the key is to avoid placing fingers or hands inside the dog’s mouth when giving a dose of medicine.

  • Use a Pet Pill Gun – Also known as a pet pill shooter, pill guns enable the owner to place the pill inside the dog’s mouth without losing a finger. Read this article on The Sick Dog Blog to learn more.
  • Hide the Dog’s Pill in a Treat – Pet owners can get the dog to eat the pill voluntarily by placing it inside a food like cheese or a bit of hot dog. Read this article on The Sick Dog Blog to learn more.
  • Hide the Pet Medication in a Greenies Pill Pocket – Get the dog to take the pill voluntarily by using a Greenies Pill Pocket for Dogs.
  • Use Peanut Butter and a Spoon to Give Pet Medication – Place the pill in peanut butter or cream cheese, then place the dab on the tip of a butter knife (or on the tip of the handle). Open the dogs mouth and place the peanut butter/cream cheese (containing the pill) onto the roof of the dog’s mouth (just behind the dog’s upper front teeth). Using the cutlery will help owners avoid placing a finger inside a nippy dog’s mouth. This method is also effective for dogs who spit out pills.



Notably, when a dog bites an owner, this suggests a very serious underlying behavioral problem. A dog who bites his owner does not view the human as the alpha. So the human must make some immediate changes with the assistance of an experienced dog trainer. The dog owner must begin acting and speaking like an alpha and he must work to reclaim his role as the pack leader. Once the dog owner reclaims his rightful role as the alpha, behaviors like biting will disappear.

Preventing a Struggle When Giving a Pill to a Dog Who Bites

Preventing a struggle is key when trying to give pet medication to a dog who bites. Dog bites occur when the pet becomes agitated and the situation becomes chaotic. So by keeping the dog calm, the owner can maintain control over the situation (and the dog.)

To learn more about how to prevent a dog from struggling when giving pet medication, read The Sick Dog Blog’s article titled Pet Medication Tips – How to Prevent a Struggle When Giving a Pill to a Dog.

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What is a Pill Shooter or Pet Pill Gun?

December 25, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Cat Health and Cat Care, Cat Medications, General Dog Health, Pet Medications, Pet Pill Shooters, Pet Products

Creative Pet Products Bullseye Pill Gun for Pets, available for $7.99 at PetSmart. (Click to Learn More or Purchase)

Pill shooters, also known as a pet pill guns, are very helpful when it comes to giving pet medication to a dog or cat. Wondering “What is a pill gun?” or “How do you use a pill shooter?”

What Is a Pet Pill Shooter or Pill Gun?

A pill gun is a plastic syringe, with a pill holder located in the tip. You can use the pill shooter to give pet vitamins or pet medications in pill or capsule form.

It’s a great tool for pets who don’t want to take their medication! Using a pill gun, you’ll avoid sticking your hand in the dog’s or cat’s mouth, so it’s less intrusive for the animal  (thereby making the pet medicating process less unpleasant for the cat or dog.)


Using a pill gun will also reduce your chances of sustaining a dog bite or cat bite, since you’re not sticking your fingers inside the pet’s mouth. Accidental cat and dog bites are fairly common as an owner is trying to give a pill, since the pet is more apt to snap his jaws closed in an attempt to avoid the medication.

How to Use a Pill Gun to Give a Pill to a Dog or Cat

Use a pill shooter to give a pill to a dog or cat by following these steps:

  1. Withdraw the plunger and place the pill in the tip of the pill shooter.
  2. Grasp the dog’s/cat’s jaw, with your fingers at the corners of the mouth. Apply a slight bit of pressure; this will cause the dog/cat to open his mouth.
  3. Place the pill shooter in the pet’s mouth, with the tip pointed at the back of the mouth/throat and depress the plunger to release the pill.
  4. Immediately close the dog’s/cat’s mouth and gently pet from the chin to the neck to promote swallowing.
  5. Give the cat/dog a treat as a reward.  Offering a pet treat will make the pet associate the medicating experience with something positive, thereby making the pet less resistant to taking pills in the future.

Pictured: Creative Pet Products Bullseye Pill Gun for Pets, available for $7.99 at PetSmart. (Click Image to Learn More or Purchase)

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