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Many dog parents know that getting their pups to willingly accept pills can be a challenging task.

Dogs have razor keen senses and the smell of medications can be offensive to them.

Additionally, some dogs can remember when certain medications gave them undesirable side effects which of course will strengthen their resolve for refusing pills.

But all is not lost.

There are many ways to hide pills in common foods you likely have available - with some working much better than others! 

Shiba Inu eating something from owner's hand

The Best Foods To Hide Dog Medications In

You’ll have the best chance of success with using foods that your dog loves - whether that be dog treats, cheese, sausages, or other types of tasty morsels.

Out of the various options, the best type of foods to use are foods that are relatively soft but sturdy enough not to crumble too easily. 

These types of foods can be easily worked which make hiding the pills faster and easier.

Two of the best options are hotdogs and vienna sausages - with vienna sausages being a bit easier to work with.

Other good food options include cheese, as well as fresh proteins like beef or chicken.

If your dog is on a low protein diet, you can use rice and soft veggies mixed with a small portion of chicken.

It’s best to use drier, stickier rice so you’ll be able to mold a pocket to insert the pill into.

Important: If your dog has heart or kidney problems it's important to be mindful about how much sodium, potassium, and phosphorus your dog receives from the foods used to hide the pills. If in doubt, it's best to consult with your veterinarian first.

Corgi dog looking at a medicine pill in owner's hand

Foods You May Want to Avoid Hiding Dog Medications In

For ease of dispensing it’s best to stay away from “messy” food such as peanut butter, cream cheese, and other similar consistency foods.

That way you don’t have to spend so much time cleaning the mess these foods can leave on and around your dog.

Also avoid “hard” foods as you want your dog to chew and swallow the food as quickly as safely possible. Hard foods will only increase the chance of your dog tasting and discovering the pill.

When giving your dog antibiotics it’s best to avoid dairy products as calcium can interfere with antibiotic absorption. 

If using cheese for non-antibiotic medications be sure to avoid cheeses such as parmesan which are too hard and crumbly to hide pills in

dairy and antibiotics don't mix infographic

Avoid using raw proteins for hiding pills as the risk of bacterial contamination doesn’t bode well for dogs that are in need of medications.

Commercial pill pockets are another option but personally I avoid them as the ingredients are typically low quality and highly processed. 

I also avoid using any foods high in sugar such as bananas. Dogs that have potassium-regulation problems also need to avoid foods with high potassium such as bananas. 

Finally you should avoid hiding dog medicine in meals that your dog gets on a regular basis.

Dogs have a keen ability to develop negative associations with common experiences.

For example, if your dog discovers a hidden “yucky” pill in their meal, they’ll likely want to avoid that meal in the future - at least for a while until positive experiences override the negative ones.

Can I Smash And Mix Medication Into Dog Food?

While grinding up dog medications into a powder and mixing into food may seem like a feasible option it’s best to avoid this.

Most medications taste terrible and it’ll be highly likely that your dog rejects the food from the get go.

Additionally some dog medications have coatings with extended release properties and smashing the medicine into food will cancel out those properties.

stubborn shiba inu refusing food from owner illustration

How To Give Dog Medications To Extremely Difficult Dogs

If your dog is savant at avoiding pills at any costs, it’s probably time to speak with your veterinarian. 

Veterinarians can work with compounding pharmacies to transform medications into liquids as well as chewables.

 Pharmacies can also add flavor to the formulations to make them palatable to most dogs.

If your dog is not a "bite risk" to you - you can also learn the techniques on "how to pill your dog" - which basically involves manually opening your dog's mouth and inserting the pill while inducing quick swallowing.

And if you're not fond of placing your hand in your dog's mouth - I don't blame you - there's also a tool called a "pill popper" that works basically as your hand in inserting the pill towards the back of your dog's throat.

shiba inu smiling

In Summary

Successfully administering medication to your pooches may take a lot of practice before you get it right.

Just know that all dogs have different preferences - and what works for one dog, may not work for the other.

Once you learn to be a pro at this invaluable skill you'll make caring for a dog with a health issue that much less stressful. 

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