Pet Articles: Wellness

A Dose of Patience

We’ve all been there. Our furry family member is feeling under the weather and it’s up to us to administer the medication. We know we’re either in for a pill that gets spit out or liquid medicine that gets spilled or shaken all over the floor as our dog or cat becomes stressed and struggles to run away.

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owner holding a pill in front of cat

Tips on Giving Your Dog or Cat Medications

In the name of a healthier pet and a less traumatic road to recovery, here are some of the most efficient tips for dispensing dog or cat medicine.

Get prepped

Prepare everything first before involving your dog or cat. If you’re dealing with liquids, set out the dropper or syringe with the proper dosage and make sure there’s a towel or rag handy if any medication ends up on the floor or your pet.

Whether it’s pills or liquids, make sure any leftover medicine is covered and at a safe distance from your dog or cat.


The easiest method is to mix the liquid meds into your furry companion’s wet food. If the dosage is small enough and your veterinarian says it’s okay, grab some canned food (or other favorite foods like yogurt or peanut butter) and mix in the medicine. Use a food your pet likes and has had before or he/she might refuse to eat it.

If the medication cannot be mixed with food, you’ll have to use a dropper or syringe. Avoid sticking them straight into the back of your dog’s or cat’s mouth, which may trigger the gag reflex.

Drops for dogs – Behind your dog’s whiskers, there’s a natural gap in his teeth, the perfect spot for a syringe, according to Dr. Candy Olson of the Green Briar Animal Hospital. Gently take the side of your pooch’s head in your free hand and place the end of the syringe or dropper in his cheek and squeeze. If your dog is medium-sized or larger, it’s best to have a helping hand to hold your dog still.

Drops for felines - Wrap your free arm around your cat to gently hold her head. Part her mouth at the cheek with your thumb. With the syringe or dropper in the opposite hand, place it in the cheek and squeeze the plunger. If need be, wrap her in a towel to confine her during the process.

Tip - Practice with water first to familiarize yourself and your best buddy with the technique.


Much like liquids, some pills can be conveniently added to food. You could hide the pill in a soft, chewy treat.   Place the pill in the soft food and give it to your dog or cat. Start with the food by itself to see if he /she likes it so you can create a demand for the treat.

You can also grind the pill and mix it in with wet food or a favorite snack. Blue Buffalo®  has a variety of tasty meat rolls that are easy to slice and hide pills in. Be sure your veterinarian verifies the pill can be ground up and taken with food.

If the pill can’t be taken with food (or your furry friend simply isn’t falling for it), place the pill as far back as possible in your pet’s throat.

For dogs - With your free hand, hold onto your dog’s nose and gently pinch the sides of his snout to encourage him to open his mouth. Put the pill between your thumb and index finger of your other hand, and gently guide his bottom jaw open with your other fingers. As soon as your dog opens wide, drop the pill as far back in his mouth as you can, close it and gently rub his throat until he’s swallowed the pill. Again, for larger dogs, get someone to help you hold your pal still.

For cats - Wrap an arm around her to keep her still. With your free hand, grab the top of her head, wrapping your fingers around her top jaw. With the pill between your thumb and index finger, use the middle and ring fingers to gently pull down her bottom jaw. Reach inside her mouth, placing the pill as far back as you can and close her jaws after. Rub your cat’s throat gently and blow on her nose, both of which will help her swallow.,

Tip - If your dog or cat keeps spitting out the pill, use a soft tip pet piller, which may make it easier to get your pet’s mouth open so you can place the pill far enough back so he or she doesn’t spit it out.

Of course, always keep some healthy Blue Buffalo treats handy as delicious rewards to reinforce your pet’s positive behavior. 

Taking medicine isn’t pleasant for humans or our loving companions, but with practice and patience, your best pals will be on the mend and back to their old selves in no time.