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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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Pet Medication Tips – Preventing a Struggle When Giving a Pill to a Dog

January 03, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, General Dog Health, Pet Medications

If a dog has had a recent surgery, struggling over a pill can be dangerous! Learn tips to give a pill to a dog who struggles when he receives pet medication. (Mitchell Powell Photo)

On occasion, you’ll encounter a dog will simply refuse to take a pill, regardless of the method used to give the pet medication. For these cases when the pet owner will need to give a pill to an unwilling dog, there are a few tricks to avoid a struggle when giving pet medication.

Calming the Dog Before and After Giving Pet Medication

One trick involves calming the dog before trying to dose him. It’s much more difficult to give a pill to a dog who is already tuned up and anticipating a negative experience. So make medicine time it a good experience. Cuddle with the dog, pet him, brush him (if he enjoys brushing!) and offer pet treats.

This is especially important for dogs who receive pet medication on a daily basis for an extended period of time. Even if the dog hates the act of taking a pill, It’s important that the dog associates the pill with a positive experience of cuddles and treats. The positive experience of attention and dog treats will help neutralize the negative experience of getting a pill.

For this reason, I also recommend spending time with the dog after he’s received his medication. Offer dog treats, praise, cuddles and attention. Reward him for taking his pill (even if it wasn’t exactly voluntary.)


Where to Sit When Giving a Pill to a Dog

Location, location, location! If a dog struggles when you try to give a pill, it’s important to find a location that will minimize that struggle (thereby minimizing the amount of time spent wrangling the dog).

I recommend sitting the dog in the corner of the couch or arm chair. The back and arm of the couch will prevent the dog from wriggling away as the owner attempts to give a pill. The couch also limits movement – this is key if the dog has recently undergone a surgery or suffered a recent injury.

The couch is also an ideal place to calm the dog (so you won’t need to move him once he’s calm and ready for his medicine!) and it’s a place where you’re apt to spend lots of time anyways, so the dog will have other pleasant associations with the sofa.

Giving a pill to a dog can be stressful for the dog and the owner. But fortunately, pet owners can neutralize the experience by making it as pleasant as possible. Even if the actual act of getting a pill is an unpleasant experience for the dog, owners can lessen the resistance by sandwiching the negative experience between two positive experiences involving cuddles, praise and dog treats.

More Help for Giving Pet Medication to a Dog

If your dog bites and nips when you attempt to give a pill, read How to Give a Pill to a Dog Who Bites.

Dog owners may also want to learn additional tricks to give pet medication to a dog, along with information about tools for giving a pill to a dog like a pet pill gun (also called a pill shooter) or Greenies Pill Pockets for dogs.

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