How to Give a Dog a Pill Without Food

When your dog is sick and in need of medication it is up to you to help them take their medication. While putting the pill in food is usually the easiest option, not all dogs will have an appetite for food or maybe their medication has to be taken on an empty stomach. This is when you will need to get creative to give your dog the medication without forcing or hurting them.

If you want to know how to give a dog a pill without food, we share with you all the tips you need, as well as why dogs do not easily take pills without food.

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give a dog a pill

Why would a dog not easily take a pill without food?

There are pills that taste like beef or chicken that are attractive to dogs and encourage them to eat them without being forced. But most of the time, pills are bitter and will leave a bad taste in your dog’s mouth that he will not enjoy. And who can blame them? But this does make it more difficult to give your dog a pill when he remembers that it tastes bad.

Dogs instinctively avoid things that taste bitter because they could be poisonous or toxic. While avoiding toxic foods is a plus, it is not helpful when trying to give medication to your pup.

Other times, dogs will be so sick that they will not have an appetite to eat, not even their favorite snack. Forcing them to eat a pill hidden in food will upset their stomach and further ruin their appetite. Plus, it might put the dog off foods they normally love to eat. It can also stress your dog out.

Some dogs have food allergies, so you perhaps need to be careful what kinds of foods and treats to give your dog. By not including food in the pill giving this reduces the chance of an allergic reaction occurring due to the food hiding the medication.

Another common reason why dogs would not be able to take pills with food is the medication itself. Some medications require that your dog ingest it on an empty stomach to get the full healing effect. If your dog is used to eating at a certain hour but cannot because of the medication, this can upset him further discourage him from taking the medication willingly.

Why should you know how to give a dog a pill without food?

Learning to give your dog medication is a very important skill to have in order to provide at-home medication without the constant need of a veterinarian’s help. It would be annoying to have to take your dog to the vet every day just for them to administer the medication that you could very easily do yourself. All it takes is some patience and time to learn how.

By learning this skill, you can avoid constantly chasing after your dog to give them their medication. Dogs can tell when you are trying to do something they are not comfortable with and will run away from it. In encouraging this action, your dog will develop more fear and become impossible to give medication to in the future, even the tasty ones.

The goal is to put the least amount of stress on your dog. The more he learns to enjoy taking medication, the easier he will be to medicate in the future. It will be a challenge for your dog to find fun in taking medication without food, but it is possible with a simple trick.

How to give a dog a pill without food

In order to give your dog a pill without food, we recommend using empty gel capsules to get the deed done. Empty gel capsules are gelatin casings that pills can be placed inside of to hide the bitter taste of the medication. Typically, gelatin capsules are flavorless, allergen-free, preservative-free, and gluten-free, which is perfect for the dog that has food allergies.

Gelatin capsules are easy to use and are most likely more attractive to the dog than the bitter tasting pill would be. Look for gel capsules that are flavored to gain your dog’s interest without having to ingest food for the best results. Consider using Capsuline DOGcaps bacon flavored gelatin capsules because they are made specifically for dogs and flavored in a way that will appeal to your dog and encourage him to eat it.

Here are the step-by-step instructions we recommend if you are trying the gelatin capsule method.

How to give medications using gel caps

  1. Make sure you get gel caps that are specifically made for dogs or are safe to also be used for dogs
  2. Gently pull apart the ends of the gel cap
  3. Place the pill or powder in one half of the gel cap
  4. Gently slip the other gel cap end back on and squeeze to pop it on securely
  5. Offer the gel cap to your dog to eat it
  6. If your dog still does not want the pill, gently open their mouth and place the gel cap on their tongue
  7. Hold their mouth closed and gently blow into their nose to encourage your dog to swallow
  8. Praise your dog for taking the medication as it will reinforce his positive behavior and make the next time easier

Not all dogs will take medication easily, even in a gel cap. You do not want to force your dog to take the pill no matter how frustrating it may get. The goal is to make pill-taking fun and easy while not stressing out your dog.

If need be, ask for help. Have someone help hold the dog and keep them calm if the dog tends to be on the nervous side. Do not have your helper hold the dog down forcibly since this can frighten them even more.

If you have to place the pill in your dog’s mouth, do not force it down their throat as it could potentially choke the dog if it went down the wrong side. Instead, open the dog’s mouth and place the gel cap on the back of their tongue and close their mouth. Let them swallow on their own.

Taking Meds Just Got Easier!

Giving dogs medications can be troublesome at times, but with the right tools and some patience, you will be able to quickly give your dog any oral medications without stress for you or your pup.

Follow our tips to master how you can give your dog pills without the need for food!

For more on keeping your dog healthy and happy, see these articles:

My Dog Won’t Take Pills – A Simple Trick to Make Oral Medication Go Down Smoothly

How to Check for Fleas In Your House

Dog Allergies, Itchy Skin & Home Remedies