Pet Pill Popping Tips

Getting your pet to take their medicine can seem impossible. Some pets seem to be naturally talented in eating around their pills or telling when cheese may be hiding something else.  Here are a few different methods you can try to get your pet to take all their medicine.


  1. Make sure the pill is small enough to be swallowed whole: You may need to use a pill cutter if it’s a large tablet.  Ask your veterinarian about this first, as capsules can’t be cut.
  2. Place the pill in a special treat: This can be canned food (for pets who normally only receive dry), homemade pet-safe meat ball, a piece of cheese, or a pumpkin puree ball.  Make sure the food used has a strong scent to mask any odor the pill may give off.
  3. Use three treats: The first with no pill, the second with the pill hidden inside, and the third with no pill inside.  Giving these in relatively rapid succession may fool your pet into taking the pill.
  4. Periodically give the treat that uses the pill with no pill in it: This gets them used to accepting this form of treat.
  5. Toss the treat: If your pet likes to catch treats in mid-air, tossing them the treat may result in them taking it with less of a fight.
  6. Wait until you’re eating and ‘accidentally’ drop the treat-wrapped pill on the floor: If your pet is always sitting under the dining room table in hopes of scoring off your dinner plate, this may be the way to go.
  7. Ask your veterinarian if the medication can be crushed: If so, try mixing the powder into their food (preferably moist food).
  8. Ask your veterinarian if there is a liquid version of the medication available: While they may not have it in stock at your animal hospital, pharmacies are often able to compound medications into flavored liquid forms for your feisty pet.
  9. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to pill your pet by hand: Ask your veterinarian to show you how to properly place a pill in your pet’s mouth.
  10. Ask your veterinarian about a pill popper: If all else has failed, ask your veterinarian about a pill popper and how to use it.  See the video below for basic instruction on how to use a pill popper.


We hope that these tips help make your pet’s medicine time a breeze.  What medications does your pet take? Let us know in the comments below.