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Pet Medication – Pills or Liquid?

December 29, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Cat Health and Cat Care, Cat Medications, Pet Medications

Pet Medication – Opt for Pills or Capsules for a Happy Dog and Owner! (Thiago Miqueias Photo)

If you take a sick dog (or cat) to the veterinary clinic, your vet may prescribe medication. Some pet medications are available as a caplet or pill and in liquid form. On occasion, a vet may ask the owner what type of pet medication they’d prefer – pill or liquid.

I always recommend opting for pet medication in pill form. This will make medicating the pet much easier, for both dog and owner.

Reasons to Opt for Pet Medication in Pill Form

If you are given a choice on your next trip to the veterinary clinic, I strongly recommend opting for the pill version of the dog’s medication. Here are a few reasons why I always pick the pill or caplet over the liquid medication.


  • Imprecise dosing of the dog’s medicine – Imprecise dosing is a huge problem with liquid pet medication. If your pet spits out the liquid, you have no idea how much he’s consumed. Some dogs will suddenly turn their head away as the owner is squirting the medication into the dog’s mouth, leading to a partial dose. So you’re left with a difficult decision – leave the dog with a partial dose or try to give a full dose and risk giving too much medication since you’re unsure how much he spit out. Pills are easy – it’s all or nothing.
  • Problems giving medication to the dog – With liquid, your dog actually tastes the medication, so he’s more apt to object. When a dog refuses to take medication, you’ll face a physical struggle. This increases the chances that the dog will spit out medication, leaving you to face the aforementioned partial dose vs. possible overdose dilemma.
  • Increased cost of pet medication – With a liquid medication, there’s a chance you could spill the bottle (especially if you leave it uncapped nearby and your dog starts to struggle when you attempt to give the medicine). Pet owners may also need to buy additional medication for the dog if he spits it out or if the dog turns his head as you’re releasing the pet medication into his mouth.
  • Lack of methods for giving the dog medication – It’s hard to give a pet medicine if it’s in liquid form. You only have one option: to open the dog’s mouth and squirt the medication inside.

With pet medication in pill form, you have many dosing options, which I’ve discussed in several different articles on The Sick Dog Blog:

Pet owners may also want to read about a common mistake – trying to hide pet medication in dog food or cat food. Read this article on The Sick Dog Blog to learn why you should never try to hide a dog’s pill in pet food.

Granted, pet ownership is not an exact science. So there may be a few dogs out there who take liquid medication without a problem. If a pet owner has tried liquid pet medication and it works well,  then by all means, go for the liquid! But in my experience with literally dozens of dogs and cats over the years (and remember, I own and foster special needs animals, so our animals take more pills in a week than many pets take in a lifetime!) it’s virtually always easier to give a pill instead of liquid. And with pills and caplets, there is less chance that you’ll need to purchase more pet meds due to a “misfire” with the liquid. And missed doses or partial doses of pet medication can mean a longer course of medication for the pet, which means more doses and more money spent on the cat’s or dog’s medication.

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Pet Medication – How Do I Give a Pill to a Cat?

December 24, 2009 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Cat Health and Cat Care, Cat Medications, Pet Medications, Pet Pill Shooters, Pet Products

Trying to give a pill to a cat? If you're not using a pet pill shooter or hiding the cat's pill in a treat, you might get a look from kitty that says "I'm NOT impressed!" (Ilker Photo)

Sure, it’s The Sick Dog Blog, but I’m sure many dog owners also have a cat or two (or seven). So let’s look at some ways to give pills to a cat.

Giving a pill to a cat is often more difficult – many cats are not really “food oriented” so it can make hiding pills in food difficult. And cats tend to scratch and swipe (Tip: Avoid cat scratches when giving a pill to a cat by wearing a winter coat or bathrobe. It will protect your arms from cat scratches and swipes. Hopefully, it won’t come to this. But when it’s a matter of the cat’s health, sometimes, there is no other option but to give a cat a pill against his will.)

Hiding Pet Medications in Food – Giving Medication to a Cat Using Foods

This method will work for some cats and not others. Some cats are really enthusiastic about “people food” while others prefer cat food.

One option for giving medicine to a cat: Hide the cat’s pill in a bit of tuna or Salmon lox.

If a cat won’t eat, lox is an especially good option. With Salmon lox, you can make a small ball, hide the pill inside, then stick it onto the roof of the cat’s mouth, right behind his front teeth. The cat will instinctively lick the lox off the roof of his mouth, ingesting the pill in the process. You can also try this with cream cheese, or — if all else fails — peanut butter. Cream cheese and peanut butter are great options when you need to give a pill to a dog.

How to Get a Cat to Take Medication – Pet Pill Shooters

Pet pill shooters, also known as pill guns, are another fairly easy way to get cats to take medicines, especially since many cats won’t eat cream cheese or peanut butter. For cats who won’t take pills using the method described above, a cat pill shooter is a great solution and it’s much better than wrestling a cat in an attempt to stick cream cheese on the roof of his mouth!

Pill shooters are also great for cats (and dogs) since they’re smaller than your hand and therefore, they’re a much less intrusive way to give out pet medication.

You can get a pill shooter for a cat at your veterinary clinic or at most pet supply stores like Petco or PetSmart. There are also a wide array of pet pill shooters available online for just a few dollars!

To learn more about pill shooters, also known as pet pill guns, and how to use them, read What is a Pill Gun or Pill Shooter?

Related Articles on Pet Medication

When giving medication to a cat, be sure to avoid one of the worst possible mistakes – never hide a pill in cat food! To learn why you should never try to hide a pill in pet food, read Tips for Giving Pet Medication – Hiding Pills in Dog Food (it’s written for dogs, but the same principles also apply for cats!)

Dog owners may be interested to read Pet Medication – How Do I Give a Pill to a Dog?

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