Knowledge Base:  
Administering Medications To Dogs
Last Updated: 08/01/2013

Administrating Oral Medications To Dogs

Dogs occasionally get sick, just like people do, and need to take medication. Learning how to give medication the right way will make the process easier both for you and your dog. Always follow the instructions given by your veterinarian. Be sure to administer the full amount of medication over the number of days instructed by your veterinarian.


Tablets & Capsules 
Step 1
Place the pill between the thumb and index finger of one hand.
Firmly grasp the upper jaw with the thumb and index finger of the other hand behind the canine teeth.
Step 2
Gently fold the upper lip over the teeth as you open the mouth. This will reduce the chance of being bitten.
Step 3
Rotate your wrist to tilt the head upwards.
Use your middle finger to slowly open the lower jaw.
Step 4
Keep your middle finger over the small incisor teeth and deposit the pill as far back on the tongue as possible.
Immediately close the mouth. Keeping your hand over the mouth, put the head down to facilitate swallowing.
Step 5
Stroke the throat or blow in the nostrils to encourage swallowing.


Liquids & Syrups
Read the label for the proper dosage. If instructed, shake the contents of the bottle.

Step 1
Fill a syringe or dropper with medication before starting.
Liquid medication is poured into the pouch between the teeth and cheek.
Hold your dog’s jaw closed and tilt the head back slightly.
Step 2
Gently squirt the medication into the pouch with the dropper or syringe.
Step 3
Hold the mouth closed.
Stroke the throat or blow in the nostrils to encourage swallowing.
Step 4
 Should your dog gag or cough out the medication, lower his head and calm him down.
 Wait a few minutes and then try again.

Helpful hints

  • Always read the label instructions carefully.
  • Ask your veterinarian if the medication can be given with food or must be given on an empty stomach. If it can be given with food, just put the pill into a small treat such as cheese or peanut butter or a small amount of food recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Get a friend or family member to help.
  • Avoid medicating a small dog on the floor or in your arms. 
    Place the dog on a table with a non-slip surface
  • When administering medication stay calm - your pet can sense if you are nervous making it more difficult to apply the treatment. Always praise and reward your pet with a treat.

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