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How to Give a Dog a Pill

Sometimes veterinarians prescribe medicines for dogs. These prescriptions often require the dog’s owner to give the dog a pill.

One indication that a dog has swallowed its pill is when the dog licks its nose.
Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

The best way for a dog owner to give a dog a pill is to insert the thumb into the dog’s mouth behind the canine teeth and put a little pressure on the roof of the dog’s mouth. With the other thumb, simultaneously press down gently on the lower row of teeth. While pressing on the roof of the mouth, push the outer skin of the muzzle in towards the dog’s open mouth.

When the dog opens its mouth, the pill will be placed gently on the back of the tongue. The lower jaw will have to be released so the owner can place the pill inside the dog’s mouth. The most correct – and safest – position for pill placement will be in the middle part of the back of the tongue. Do not place the pill too far forward or to the side because the dog will spit the pill out. Placing the pill too far backward will cause the dog to choke.

Once the pill is in its proper place, close the dog’s mouth. Hold the dog’s head up and very, very gently and lightly massage the throat with one or two long sweeps of the hand. Usually, one can see the dog swallow or lick its lips as an indication that the pill has been swallowed. Otherwise, the owner should hold one hand under the dog’s muzzle, catch the pill as it falls out of the dog’s mouth and try it again.



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