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How to get your Chihuahua to Take their Medicine

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How to give oral medications to your dog

how to give your dog medicine

Many medications for dogs should be administered orally. Oral medications can be in the form of a tablet, capsule or liquid. If necessary, tablets can be crushed and capsules can be dissolved in water and given with a syringe.

Your dog’s veterinarian will tell you if your dog’s medication should be given with food or on an empty stomach. If the medicine can be given with food, you can make a meatball of canned food or cheese with the tablet or capsule on the inside. It is a good idea to make a “test meatball” first and, if your dog swallows this meatball without chewing it, he/she will probably swallow the next meatball containing the medication.

If your dog chews the meatball and tastes the pill, it will be harder to medicate on a second attempt, therefore, the meatball method should only be used on dogs with a good appetite and you should use a food that your dog likes a lot.

Also, once the pill is wet by the dog’s saliva it will start to disintegrate and it will become difficult to handle. You should decide the best method for administering an oral medication based on your dog’s character, appetite and the indications of your dog’s veterinarian.

I often cut up a hotdog in smaller pieces and give a piece to each dog, saving the one with the pill for last. The dog that needs the pill, sees the other dogs wolfing down their hotdog and will automatically do the same.

If you just have one dog, have several pieces of the treat and give him one, then give him one with the pill in it. Then immediately give him the last treat. Doing it this way doesn’t give him a chance to mess with the treat with the pill in it.

You can try pill pockets too. Two of my dogs love them and never notice the meds. The other one eats around the pill.

In cases were the dog will not swallow the meatball with the medication on it or when your dog’s veterinarian indicates that the medication should be taken on an empty stomach, you should use other methods of to medicate your dog. Below is a step-by-step description of how you should administered pills (tablets or capsules) and liquid medicines to your dog.

How to give a pill to your dog

  • Grasp our dog’s muzzle using your fingers to press the skin against the teeth.
  • Slip your left hand’s thumb into the mouth and press up on your dog’s palate, keeping the lips against the teeth. It is important to keep the lips folded over the upper teeth to protect your hand from being bitten.
  • Place the pill on the base of the tongue at the back of the throat. If you are not able to get the pill far enough over the base of the tongue, the dog will spit it out. You may need to use your fingers to push the pill over the back of the tongue.
  • Keep the head slightly elevated, close the mouth and hold it closed while you rub the throat or blow into your dog’s nose until he/she swallows.
  • Examine your dog’s mouth to make sure he/she swallowed the medication.

How to give a liquid medicine to your dog

  • Load a syringe with the amount of liquid medication (or dissolved pill) indicated by the veterinarian.
  • Slightly elevate your dog’s head.
  • Pull one of the sides of lips up to form a pocket so that the liquid can enter between the teeth to the throat.
  • Administer the liquid slowly making sure that your dog is swallowing it.

I found a great video on how to do both here:

Here’s an example of a non-compliant chihuahua getting a liquid medicine:

Here are some ideas that sometimes works for this Japanese Chen. Good ideas worth a try:

So do you have problems giving your dog their medicine? How have you solved it?


Sunday 17th of December 2023

This did not help at all. All the dogs pictured are big dogs, not tiny, 5 pound dogs that must take up to 5 pills at a time including large pills and that do not like peanut butter or cheese

Cathy Bendzunas

Sunday 17th of December 2023

I'm sorry it didn't help you Stockard. I have used these techniques on dogs of different sizes with good results. But then I have never had to deal with giving a dog 5 pills at a time. The most I have had to fo was 2 pills. If your dog doesn't like peanut butter (mine don't either) or cheese, find something that your dog loves. I have to give one of my dogs allergy medicine every day and he won't eat most cheese or peanut butter but he does like cream cheese so we have been using that.


Saturday 2nd of April 2022

we have an Apple head Chihuahua and the vet wants her to take a med to help her liver enzymes go back to normal. it is a large pill, have to divide it into quarters, 1 quarter in morning, other in evening 12 hours apart, we have tried peanut butter, pill pockets, crushing it to go into capsule blanks, hot dog, making her take it, it is getting to the point that nothing works. Now what do we do. she needs it. Her name is Jazzy


Saturday 2nd of April 2022

I have had pets that I pet sit for like that and I have had to learn to do it manually. It sometimes helps if you dip the pill in yogurt first. Watch these 2 videos for tips on this: (keep watching, the first part is how to do it with a treat or pill pocket which won't help, but the last part is helpful, specially with the pill gun)


Friday 11th of May 2018

One of my chis has to have heart medication 2x a day (1 pill cut in half). I take each half and cut it in half, then put each pill portion inside a small piece of meat. Unless she is off her food (she occasionally doesn't want to eat anything in the morning), she will eat the meat without any problem. If she doesn't eat it at breakfast, she gets the same meat for lunch. Her heartworm medication is a little more difficult; it's a larger pill and I have to cut it into several pieces in order to hide it. I do that for both of my girls. I also give both my girls (they are 10 years old) cosequin. I usually crush that pill and sprinkle it on a squirt of Reddi Wip. Most of the time, they both lap that right down. I haven't had to give my cat any pills since I adopted her. Her heartworm medication is topical; she acts totally offended whenever I put it on the back of her neck. Both my chis were that way also, so I switched to a pill for them.


Friday 11th of May 2018

That's good they are easy to give medicine too June. I have one that will eat all around the pill or bits of the pill and leave the pill. I can't fool her.


Monday 26th of June 2017

When i our dogs there pills i crush and put them in peanut butter they take them no problem


Monday 26th of June 2017

Good idea of crushing up the pill first Becky.

Human Medicines Safe for Dogs | I Love My Chi

Thursday 23rd of June 2016

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