If you're a pet owner who is now faced with the task of making your pet take a pill, you may be dreading the pet's resistance -- and that's not an overreaction on your part. Dogs and cats can be wily eaters who manage to extract pills from even the stickiest foods, leaving you with a mess and an animal still in need of medication. Instead of struggling with the pet or trying to force-pill, take a look at what might be signaling to your pet that there's medication hidden in that unexpected treat.
Medications can smell. Think of the times you've had to take a medication or supplement and could smell something emanating from the bottle. Dogs and cats have excellent senses of smell and can sniff out things that don't smell quite right in their food, especially if they've learned from previous experience what pills can smell like. Even if you can't smell anything if you give the pill a sniff, the dog likely can. Be sure the food you're hiding the pill in has its own strong odor. You want something that smells so strongly that it has a better chance of hiding any odor given off by the pill.
Unless that's a really small pill, chances are the dog will end up biting it -- and if the pill tastes bad or tastes drastically different from the surrounding food, the pet will try to spit out the pill. Some medications are available with beef and other flavors that pets like (akin to how some human medications have a fruit or chocolate flavor). Try to get a flavored version, if possible, and stick it in food that has a similar taste. For example, beef-flavored medication can be stuck inside a piece of hot dog. If the medication is not available flavored, you'll need to use food that has a strong flavor of its own to hide the taste of the medication.
A solid pill is easy to spot in a spoonful of creamy peanut butter or other similarly textured foods. If texture is the issue that's making your pet find the pill, ask your vet if you can crush the medication or get a liquid version made.
Being able to match the taste, smell, or texture of a pill to a food doesn't have to be difficult. Talk to your vet, such as one at Cats Only Veterinary Hospital, about additional ways to make your pet take pills without force-pilling.