It's always bothered me when friends don't teach their dogs to take pills. I've known people whose dogs as they grew older needed medicine for some serious illness and because they hadn't done the basics, they had to struggle daily with their pets to get the life saving medicine down their throats. Some people wrap the pills in meat or cheese, but suppose the animal needs the pill on an empty stomach or is too sick to keep food down. Often the dog will lick off the meaty coating and spit out the pill. Then what???
My dogs all learn to take pills at an early age. I start the pups around six months. They get a fish oil pill daily. They love the oily, stinky taste, so they happily chew them up. Occasionally I will open their mouths and put the pill down their throats instead of letting them chew them. Then I follow up quickly with a cookie.
With my big dogs, after breakfast and an outing, I count the pills into a dish, pick up a handful of cookies and sit at the table. I call them for pill time.
Every one sits or stands quietly waiting their turn. Samba like to take hers by herself. She gets five pills in the morning, and she swallows each as I hand them to her. Then she gets a cookie.
Monty lives by a strict set of rules and has a certain order for pill taking.
He needs a thyroid pill and an antihistamine each morning along with his fish oil. He sits beside me and opens his mouth for me to put the first two in. Then I hold his mouth closed while he swallows them. Then he likes to have his cookie which he takes into another room to enjoy. When he is finished with his cookie, he returns and I hand him his fish oil pill which he then chews. He likes fish oil for dessert, I guess.
Morgan get her pills put down her throat. As soon as I know they're gone, she gets her cookie and leaves. The group is getting smaller.
Tsar get two pills put down his throat, then I hand him his oil pill to chew. I have to watch him because sometimes he plays with it, tossing it in the air and grabbing it as it lands. He doesn't get a cookie until I know the pill is gone, so he usually complies.
The last two remaining are always Sky and Fudge.
Sky gets an anti-histamine put down his throat, then gets to chew his fish oil.
Fudge is last and he also likes to do it himself, so I hand him his pills and he swallows each one.
We repeat this routine at bedtime for those that need one. This has worked out well for us. Now, if someone gets an infection and needs an antibiotic, no sweat, they know how to take a pill and there is no struggle. It makes my life easier and it could mean life or death for them.
We have similar games we play for heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention to make application easy. My gang all seem to look forward to our little daily routines. Look at all these happy faces after popping their pills.