How to medicate your cat or dog

Ok let’s start with dogs first since they are the easiest.

  • Many dogs will happily eat herbs or pills in their food. This is especially true if they eat wet food. If your dog is on just dry food then consider adding enough wet to hide the pills or herbs in.
  • If they will not eat pills in food, Greenies Pill Pockets are the way to go. They are little treats with a hole in the center to hide the pill in.
  • Another way to give pills is with a little treat food such as peanut butter, cream cheese, a slice of luncheon meat or a piece of hot dog. Push the pill into the center and make sure it is wrapped with food.
  • For powder herbs I often have people put them in capsules and then use one of the above techniques. You can buy flavored capsules from, which many dogs will eat straight. See Capsuline flavored pet capsules
    For small/medium dogs (miniature poodle and larger) a size “0” capsule works best. For medium to large dogs (sheltie and larger) I like “00”. Very small dogs usually need a “2” size capsule and cats need a “3” or “4”.
  • There are many capsule making machines out there and believe me they make a huge difference when you are stuffing many capsules. My favorite is the The Capsule Machine. It comes in a “0” and “00” size, works well and is about $25-30.
  • Liquids and compounding can come in handy. These days compounding pharmacies can make just about anything in a liquid with a meat flavor. If you are using herbs see if there is a glycerin tincture variety, which is sweet, and many dogs take well. Tinctures work especially well in small dogs.
  • In some dogs just pushing the pills down their mouth is the fastest and easiest way to give a medication.

Now on to the cats!

  • While I have meet cats that will eat pills and herbs in food, most will not. If your cat has a hearty appetite give it a try.
  • Cat who like treats will sometimes take Pill Pockets.
  • If your cat needs herbs and you can find a glycerin tincture that is usually the way to go. If not capsules with powdered herbs or tea pills are often the best choice.
  • For drugs, if there is a long lasting injection available I highly recommend it. I think cats often do better with injections because they are less likely to upset their stomach and then you do not have to give something once or twice a day.
  • Once again most drugs can be compounded into liquids, which have a meat flavor. Sometimes these are easier to give to cats, however some cats are easier to pill, once the pilling technique is learned.
  • Some medications can be compounded into a form that can be rubbed on the inside of a cat’s ear and absorbed through the skin. Talk to your vet about this option. The down side to this kind of medication is that sometimes it is hard to get a proper dose this way.
  • I find pilling cats by hand to be the easiest if you need to give pills however some people prefer a Pill Gun which pop the pills into the back of the mouth. Many people prefer to rub the pills in butter before giving them so they slide down easier and have a pleasant taste.
    • Here is a good video on how to pill cats
      How to Pill a cat

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