First Aid for Pets

bandaged face cat in a bag




There are two ways to go about medicating your dog. Some people choose to put the tablets in the food while others give the medicine straight into the mouth. Neither is better but choose the one that suits you. However do learn how to give tablets as sometimes they are too bitter to hide, sometimes your dog won't be eating well enough to get him to eat at all and sometimes the medicine shouldn't be with food.


When hiding tablets choose a food that can be moulded around the tablet, usually something tasty like cheese. Give your dog a piece without the tablet first so he gets a taste of this yummy food then give him the food and tablet combo. Reward him with a little more once the tablet has gone. It is best to give the tablet before you feed your pet the bulk of his daily needs so that he is hungry. I have heard of people using butter, cheese, meats or even dog chocolate. One technique for chocolate was to place 2 dog chocs in the microwave and zap them for 5 seconds (or until slightly soft) then place the tablet between the chocs and push them together. Result, one chocolate coated tablet.

Giving tablets is not difficult in most dogs. Generally the only dogs we don't try to medicate this way are those that bite.

  • Be gentle but firm with your dog. Reward him when he is well behaved however make sure you let him know he has to do what you want.

  • Small dogs are easier handled if they are placed on a bench or a table. They are uncertain up the unusual surface making them easier to handle. Make larger dogs sit. If you can't make them sit think about some training.

  • If you need an assistant have him/her wrap one hand around the dog's neck so it can't move its head around too much while the other arm either goes under the belly or behind its back legs. This will depend on how big your pet is and if it is trying to wriggle backwards out of the assistant's arms.

  • Grasp your dog's muzzle with the palm of your hand over the upper jaw.


  • Press the lips over the upper teeth with your fingers on one side and the thumb on the other so that the dog's lips are between its teeth. Firm pressure may be required. The dog then can't close its mouth without biting itself and is less able to bite you.
  • In the opposite hand hold the pill between the thumb and index finger.
  • Place the tablet as far back on the tongue as possible them push it over the back of the tongue with your finger.
  • Gently rub your dog's throat or blow on its nose to encourage swallowing. Keep the nose pointed upwards until you think the tablet has gone down.


  • Restrain your dog as above.

  • Hold the dog's head this time holding both top and bottom jaw. Tilt the dog's nose slightly upwards.
  • Using an eye dropper or syringe slowly place the medication into your dog's mouth. The tip of the dropper can be inserted just behind the canine (fang or eye) tooth where the jaw does not completely close.
  • You can also place the liquid in the cheek pouch between the lips and the back teeth.
  • Unless the dose is small give the medication slowly allowing your dog to swallow and to lick the medication from its mouth before giving more.

  • Rubbing the throat or blowing on your dog's nose may help to stimulate swallowing.

  • Never inject into the back of the mouth as this may cause your dog to gag or choke.


Send mail to Administrator with comments or questions about this site                Fiona Anderson 2001