Introduction: How to Feed Pills to Your Dog

Picture of How to Feed Pills to Your Dog

My dog knows the difference between cheese and a pill. One is for eating and one is for spitting out. This is a short instructable that shows a technique I've developed to quickly and easily feed my dog multiple pills at the scheduled times without muss or fuss.

After many dogs and many tricks I've discovered what others also know, whatever you wrap the pill in the dog will find the pill, separate it from the food, swallow the food and spit out the pill. Or the struggle of forcing the dog's mouth open, shoving in the pill and holding it shut hoping the dog will swallow the pill.

Sucks for me, sucks for the dawg....

On the following pages I'll show you a simple, foolproof method to get medicine into your dog using a common decorative kitchen item and a household staple that dogs love.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Picture of Bill of Materials

What you'll need

Step 2: About the Mortar and Pestle

Picture of About the Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle are different from a bowl and a spoon. If you look closely at the bottom of both pieces you'll see they have been carefully roughened to provide a uniform surface for fine grinding of powders.

Other techniques can be used such as a bowl and a spoon, this can work well for soft chewable tablets but hard coated tablets can be more difficult.

Step 3: Mix Powdered Pills With Peanut Butter

Picture of Mix Powdered Pills With Peanut Butter

Once you've ground the pills up mix it with about 1 tbsp of peanut butter ( more or less as needed to get a smooth paste depending on the size of the pills ).

Spread the peanut butter out on the cutting board or other smooth surface such as an extra piece of kitchen tile.

Use the flat back edge of the knife to scrape up the peanut butter and blend the powder in. The technique is demonstrated in the video on the introductory page.

Any straight edge and flat surface can be used, however care should be taken that no foreign material (such as cutting board plastic) gets scraped into the medication.

I found the cutting board useful since I occassionally scraped the knife clean on the edge. The ability to rotate and move the material makes it easier to blend.

Step 4: Now Find Fido for a Tasty Treat...

Picture of Now Find Fido for a Tasty Treat...

Once you've got a nice smooth blend use the back edge of the knife to scrape up the mixture and load it onto a spoon. Try to keep the bottom of the bowl clean since you may need to sit this down while you scoop some off on your finger.

Now in 70 to 80% of the cases your dog will just love the peanut butter and will lick it off the spoon or your finger/hand.

In some cases your dog will refuse to participate and will clamp their mouth shut in a familiar and tried technique.

Now it's Fido's turn for a surprise.

Your first option is a variation of the old "pry the jaws open and force the pill in" trick. This time you have an advantage. The peanut butter will stick to your dog's mouth and it ain't coming out. Get the dogs jaws open, stick a big glob on the roof of the mouth and the party is over. The dog is going to eat the peanut butter and with it the ground up pills.

Not to mention providing vast quantities of amusement as they lick at the gooey mess stuck to the roof of the mouth.

If you're dog manages to get a glob out use smaller globs.

On the next page I provide some information on a simple, but slightly messy technique for getting even the most difficult dog with poweful jaws to take their medicine...

Step 5: The Premolar Gap

Picture of The Premolar Gap

In your dogs jaw there are several different kinds of teeth. Due to their nature these teeth have certain natural characteristics.

Located behind the familiar canine teeth are a group of teeth known as the premolars. I'm sure these teeth have some useful purpose but for us it is convenient that these provide a gap when the jaw is completely closed.

There is a similar, smaller gap located between the fine teeth in the front when the jaw is clamped shut.

So here's what you do. Grab Fido and hold the jaw closed. Using your forefinger scoop some peanut butter off the spoon. Scrape the peanut butter off your fingers into the gap formed by the premolars or between the fine teeth in front. Now the dog has peanut butter stuck in its mouth and will lick it off providing once again a natural source of amusement.

Now for my dog the first glob is often enough to convince her that she's not being poisoned and she will readily lick the rest of the peanut butter off my finger in convenient globs.

If not repeat the above process until all the medicated peanut butter has been introduced to your dog without pain or much trauma, at least for me.


Boldorg (author)2017-04-14

This is what the company says. Also my daughter's goofball Boomer

KathleenD34 (author)2016-08-03

I tried everything to get my dog to take her pill with no luck. I first checked if the pill could be crushed then mixed it in the peanut butter. Step 5 was messy but did the trick. Hopefully it will work for her next dose.

GustavoC28 (author)2015-10-08

This is a very, very dangerous and potentially misleading DIY.

You can't simply grind pills. They are made into pills or capsules for a reason: in many cases, the capsule or pill coat are materials designed to go undigested through the stomach so the actual medicine is only delivered on the intestines. When you grind the pill you are potentially exposing the actual contents to stomach acids, which can destroy them.

So please be advised: ask your veterinary and read the leaflet to make sure you can grind it before you do.

ikestarm17 (author)2009-10-20

Why go through all that instead of just putting it in the back of their throat and holding their mouth closed while rubbing their neck until they swallow it? That's what I do, but you guys always have to do it the hard way, huh?

It seems to me that  holding the dog down to force a pill into its mouth and holding the jaws shut while the pet chokes down the pill isn't easier (for either party) than feeding it peanut butter.

I don't know what breed you have but Casey can hold the pill in her mouth while swallowing repeatedly.

Over the last 40 years I have about a half dozen dogs, some would swallow pills in cheese or meat, some would not. All dogs eat the peanut butter...

I have a pit bull with parvo & haveing. Trouble getting 2 antibotocs in him . will the peanut butter trick still work or make him sicker

If your dog likes peanut butter it will probably work. Check with your vet regarding dietary restrictions or drug interactions.

yeah, my last dog would eat the cheese and spit out the pill but we don't give our dog peanut butter because it isn't really healthy. Our neighbor gives their dog peanut butter and her poop is always liquid.

I have seen sites on the net also recommend pill in yogurt which is adaptable to this technique as well.

fweber1 (author)ikestarm172013-11-04

I would like to see you try that technique with a Boston Terrier or other breed with a short snout. It ain't gonna happen.

belsey (author)ikestarm172009-10-20

 That's what I do too... Hold the dog in my lap, tickle his tummy and ears for a while, hold his face up, drop the pill in and it usually falls right down his throat. Quick, easy, and enjoyable for all -- but I've got a beagle, and I'm not sure how easy it is to hold a bigger dog belly up in your lap...

jsholloman (author)2013-11-21

Grind the pills and mix them in with Vanilla Ice cream, works better than all the suggestions. A pill crusher can be purchased at any pharmacy.

rdhtemt (author)2009-11-11

Great idea for most dogs, but my dog hates peanut butter. lol

egbertfitzwilly (author)rdhtemt2011-07-22

You might check out the BBQ sauce trick somebody posted above....

egbertfitzwilly (author)rdhtemt2009-11-14

That actually doesn't matter as much as one might think. Assuming you have a difficult dog (many folks don't).

For chewable pills just crush them up and mix with the peanut butter. In the front of your dogs mouth behind the canine teeth there is a gap formed by the pre-molars. Hold the snout closed and use your index finger to put a glob of peanut butter ( or other spreadable substance such as cheese food in a can ) in your dogs mouth. They can't help but slurp it down and, of course, peanut butter at least isn't going anywhere unless its licked off.

oceanem (author)2010-06-21

Easiest way I've found with my German Shepherd (who's jaws are like a crocodile's and impossible to pry open)...put some BBQ sauce in a spoon, let said dog get a whiff of BBQ sauce, roll pill in BBQ sauce, make dog sit so he thinks it's really tasty treat, let eat and he will gobble it down so fast he doesn't take time to chew and presto-chango...pill gone! The strong flavor of the BBQ sauce more than covers any pill smell and the smokiness makes it irresistable. Just don't choose a spicy kind that will upset his/her stomach.

egbertfitzwilly (author)oceanem2011-07-22

I like it, thanks for sharing this tip.

egbertfitzwilly (author)oceanem2010-06-22

That's a really good tip. Tried it with my setter, she licked up the sauce and left the pill. Can also be used with the crushed pills as that worked flawlessly...the sauce is even more enticing than peanut butter!

russian lumpy (author)2011-07-21

i have a cairrn terrier and he hates pills but i put his pill in a treatball and he thinks its a treat cause hes not very bright one time he tried to run under a short table and hit his head and knocked himself out for a few hours

ezasfission (author)2010-11-19

..roll the pill into a ball of cheese.Roll up another ball of cheese about the same size(or larger). Show the dog the second (non-pill)ball of cheese while feeding him the one with the pill in it. Works every time........

Servelan (author)2010-04-01

The easiest and fastest way to get a pill into a dog is to wrap it in a bit of soft cream cheese [what's sold as 'lite' or Neufchatel] and offer it to the dog when s/he is hungry.   I've done this with multiple dogs and they don't separate the pill from the cheese.

EFT4Me (author)2010-03-03

Whoever said dogs aren't smart has never watched my dog separate pill from food in his mouth run under the table and spit the pill out. Now little kids are easier. A Dr. actually showed me how to get my son to open his mouth to take medicine. You hold his nose firmly but gently. They open their mouth , naturally to breathe. The 2ND way is you can  press your pointy fingers  simultaneously into the spot on the cheek where  upper and lower jaw meet. I know these may sound mean but when you have a sick uncooperative child you have to do what works.  They get over it.

mhkabir (author)2009-10-20

Won't the peanut butter change the chemical make-up of the pills?? And, can pills be ground into powder?Won't they be less effective than whole ones?

EFT4Me (author)mhkabir2010-03-03

Less effective? I don't understand, if anything  crushing pills  gets around the time release aspect of some meds. Speeds things up. But maybe your thinking in terms of if it is smaller it won't be as potent. When pills hit our stomach the acids break it down, dissolves it anyways. Unless of course the method  I referred to above where people want to hurry up their  results. Whoever said dogs aren't smart has never watched my dog separate pill from food in his mouth run under the table and spit the pill out. 

camb00 (author)mhkabir2009-10-20

better infact
Larger Surface

ElectroFox (author)camb002010-01-12

I agree. Say if I swallow my morning Xanax whole, i get a gradual oncome  of placidity. However, if I chew them up and wash it down with a beer, I usually have to call in to work, heh...

More surface area = More rapid dissolution

egbertfitzwilly (author)mhkabir2009-10-20

Not in most cases, the peanut butter is no different than any other food that might be in the dogs stomach when they swallow it.

sarge69 (author)2009-11-27

for "not so smart dogs" give a piece of cheese and then a pill wraped in cheese.
for liquid lift up one cheek and squirt in medicine.

Judith756 (author)2009-11-14

I use cream cheese, vienna sausages or velveeta cheese for the pickier dogs I have

AlvinMaker (author)2009-10-28

I usually stick the pills in a ball of cat food. (the wet kind) & give it too them in a spoon. They usually gobble it up before thay even realize that there is a pill. but I like the peanut butter too.

Chard (author)2009-10-21

couldnt agree more with Lftndbt. definately check with the vet first. I worked for 3 years at a vets and the usual advice was to wrap the pill (whole) in cheese! or anything with a strong flavour. lets face it... dogs arent picky. they'll pretty much eat anything!

Lftndbt (author)2009-10-21


This method is NOT suitable for all pills. In fact there are not many pills this would be suitable for.

Most pills will have a binder and or coating/s to prevent the pill from dissolving immediately, once they hit your dogs stomach.

By crushing the pills you are editing the way, the manufacturer intended them to be administered.

Other than that, great I'ble!! I will try this with my dog for sure.

egbertfitzwilly (author)Lftndbt2009-10-21

Agreed. Always check with the vet.

I've never had a time release medication for the dog but I'm confident they exist. Mostly the vet palms them off as "chewable" and "flavored" although flavored with what I'm not exactly sure.  If the pill is chewable this technique is probably appropriate. If you know a vet give them the URL, I'd love to have expert feedback.

The binders are irrelevant to the medication although the coating can be signficant. Mostly what they try to do is mediate the drug transfer to avoid adverse gastro-intestinal reactions such as vomiting.

PennilessTim (author)2009-10-21

I place the pill in a marshmellow - works every time (and it is too sticky for the dog to separate).

tedrock (author)2009-10-20

check with your vet before doing this. many pills have coatings on them so they release the medicine over time.

shmuley95 (author)2009-10-20

 DEXTERS LAB AT THE END haha i used to love that show.... inspired me to become a nerd

Yeah I needed a few more seconds of sound to fill out the space...

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