How to Give Your Dog a Gel Capsule

by Jon Mohrman
Only give your dog medications prescribed by her veterinarian.

Only give your dog medications prescribed by her veterinarian.

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

You understand how important your pooch's medication is, but she doesn't. While some dogs take medication without any fuss, these creatures are notoriously resistant, not to mention how picky they can be about what they willingly ingest. There are a few approaches to giving your dog a gel capsule, so try them all to find which works best for you and your pet. Ideally, you can trick her into swallowing the medicine without even realizing it, rather than forcing her to take it, which can be stressful for both of you.

Step 1

Toss a few small treats that are approximately the same size as the gel capsule to your dog in quick succession if she enjoys catching them. After a few, toss the capsule without breaking stride or otherwise drawing attention to it. Follow it with a few more treats so your dog doesn't have the chance to realize what happened.

Step 2

Roll six balls of your dog's favorite wet food. Keep them small enough to swallow without chewing. Press the gel capsule into the center of one. Alternatively, prepare six small bites of soft cheese and press the capsule into one. Feed three without the capsule to your dog quickly, then give her the one containing the capsule, then follow it with the last two plain bites to mask any taste from the capsule. If your dog likes catching tossed treats but spots an undisguised capsule, this may be a better way to try the tossing trick; otherwise, just hand-feed the bites.

Step 3

Call your dog to you calmly if you have to directly administer the gel capsule. Hold the capsule between your thumb and forefinger and take your dog's lower jaw in that hand. Grasp her upper jaw with your other hand and gently open her mouth, angling her head upward. Deposit the capsule near the middle of her tongue as far back as you can reach. Remove your hand from her mouth quickly and hold her jaws closed with one hand. Keep her head tilted up and gently rub her throat in a downward motion to encourage swallowing. When you think she's swallowed, squirt some water into her mouth from an oral syringe. Then give her a treat.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Wet food or cheese
  • Oral syringe

Tips

  • A number of products are available that you can press pills or capsules into to hide them. They're designed to be highly palatable and cover up any medicine taste. This is costlier than rolling up a little wet food or using pieces of cheese, but sometimes they work better for particularly discerning dogs.
  • Prevent your dog from becoming hip to your tricks by occasionally tossing her a string of treats, food balls or cheese bites without her dose.
  • When you have to put the capsule into your dog's mouth, coating it with butter helps it slide down easier. Also, blowing briefly into her nostril encourages her to swallow.
  • If you have to hand-administer capsules often or long term, prevent your dog from associating your opening her mouth with getting a dose. Go through the procedure of opening her mouth, but feed her treats at least as often as you give her the medicine.

Warnings

  • Confirm with your veterinarian or in the manufacturer's usage directions that you can give the gel capsule with food.
  • Watch your dog for a few minutes after administration to ensure she didn't hold onto it to spit out.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Jon Mohrman has been a writer and editor for more than seven years. He specializes in food, travel and health topics. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for English literature and San Francisco State University for creative writing.

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