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Giving your dog a pill

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  • Grease the pill with a very small amount of margarine or butter so that it doesn’t stick in the pets mouth or throat.
  • Hold the pill between your thumb and index finger (use your dominant hand – for example, if you are right handed, use your right hand).
  • Gently grasp your dog’s muzzle from above with your other hand, by placing your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other side behind the canine teeth.
  • Once you have a firm but gentle hold tilt your dog’s head toward the ceiling. The lower jaw will usually drop. If not, open the mouth by placing the last two fingers of your hand holding the pill between the two lower canine teeth.
  • Quickly place the pill as far back over the tongue as possible. The pill is most likely to be swallowed if you place it beyond the hump of the tongue at the back of the mouth. Try not to place your hand too far back to avoid stimulating a gag reflex.
  • Close the dog’s mouth and hold it closed while you return the head to a normal position.
  • Gently rub the dog’s nose or throat, or blow lightly on the dog’s nose. This should stimulate swallowing.
  • Make sure that you have carefully read the label and understand the dosing instructions.
  • The easiest way to give a pill is to hide it in a small amount of canned dog food, peanut butter or cheez whiz.
  • Some dogs may spit out the pill, so it is important to monitor this activity.
  • If your dog persists in spitting out the pills or if dietary restrictions prevent you from hiding the pills in an appealing treat, you will need to administer the pill directly into the dog’s mouth.
  • The dog will be the most cooperative if the procedure is performed quickly, in one smooth motion.
  • Make sure you give your dog plenty of praise throughout the procedure and offer a treat or extra playtime after giving the medication. This will make the experience more positive and will make it easier to give the medication the next time.