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How To Give A Dog Medicine?

At A Glance

Medicating a sick dog is one of those things that many pet owners dread. The task can be tedious and frustrating.

Thankfully, our how-to guide provides you with tips and tricks on how you can get your stubborn fur baby much-needed medication.

Last Updated on: Mar 04, 2022

Table of Contents +

If you own a dog, it’s crucial you know how to give a dog medicine so that you can keep him or her in good health. This guide reveals how you can safely medicate your dog.

custom oil-painted dog portraits by Poshtraits

Liquid Medication

Vets prescribe liquid medications to treat various conditions. They prescribe some medicines like capsules or pills which can be compounded or changed to a liquid formulation for easier administration.

Although numerous people find it easier to administer liquid medicines over other types such as capsules or injections, it takes precision, patience, and some strength to get your pet to sit and swallow the appropriate amount.

Here’s how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine.

Step 1 – Prepare the Medicine

Shake the bottle and withdraw the right dosage into an oral syringe or dropper offered by your veterinarian.

Step 2 – Call Your Dog Over in a Cheerful Tone

If you don’t sound concerned or worried, it’s unlikely that your dog will hesitate when called.

Step 3 – Find a Convenient Place to Administer the Medicine

Take your pet to a place where it is convenient to administer the medicine and place its hind leg against a wall or anything that will prevent him from backing away from you. Some people find that they have better control if they position their dog on a surface above the floor like on a tabletop.

If you choose this route, try to get someone to assist you. This way, your dog won’t fall off the table or jump and sustain injuries. The one assisting you should hold your dog around the chest and shoulders.

Step 4 – Grasp Your Dog’s Muzzle

Pick up the dropper or syringe and grasp the dog’s muzzle gently from above using your other hand. Tilt your dog’s head back slightly.

a dog being given medicine

Step 5 – Position the Dropper/ Syringe

Position the tip of the syringe or dropper into the space between the dog’s back teeth and cheek.

Step 6 – Administer the Medicine in Small Quantities

Administer the medication slowly by giving the medication in small quantities with a slight pause between each administration. Take care not to administer doses faster than your dog can swallow.

Administering the liquid medicine too quickly can cause vomiting or choking. Beware that your dog might spit out some of the medication. If this happens, don’t be quick to administer another dose unless you’re sure that the entire dose was rejected.

Step 7 – Make Sure Your Dog Swallows the Medicine

Hold the pet’s mouth closed and position his head in a slightly elevated position. This will make it easier for your dog to swallow the medication. You might want to consider blowing or rubbing your dog’s nose gently to help stimulate your dog into swallowing.

Step 8 – Wipe Off Residue

Wipe off any medication from your dog’s face with a soft, moist cloth.

Step 9 – Give Your Dog a Treat

You should praise your dog or give him a treat. This will make it easier to administer medication next time. The more efficient the administration, the easier it will be for both of you.

Rinse the dropper or syringe with tap water.


Capsules are an efficient form of delivering much-needed medication. They can come in the form of pellets, granules, or powdered medication. Upon being swallowed, the capsule breaks and releases the drug into a dog’s system. Here’s how to give a dog medicine.

If your vet has prescribed oral medication for your dog, it can often be in the form of capsules. Capsules are one of the most effective ways of medicating your dog. But, given their shape, capsules can be hard to feed. Here’s how you can feed your dog capsules with relative ease.

Step 1 – Position the Capsule

Begin by holding the capsule upright between the thumb and forefinger of your hand. Use your dominant hand for this so that you have enough control.

Step 2 – Call Your Dog Over

Call your pet by their name to a place they are comfortable with. This could be their bed, favorite chair, etc. Do not sound panicked, your dog can sense it. Give them a few pats or scratch their chin to relax them. Do not wave the medicine in front of their face yet.

Step 3 – Grab Your Dog’s Upper Jaw

After petting, use your forefinger and thumb of the other hand to grab open their upper jaw. Maintain a firm grip. Gently pull their upper lip over their teeth. This reduces your chances of getting bitten.

a dog with a vet

Step 4 – Pry the Mouth Open

Be gentle and push the lower jaw open with the remaining fingers of your dominant hand. Now cover the lower incisors with your finger and place the capsule on their tongue. The further back you can place it, the better.

Step 5 – Help Your Dog Swallow

Gently but firmly close your dog’s muzzle. Stroke their throat and help them swallow the capsule. Be patient, because some dogs can keep the capsule in their mouth for long. You can gently blow on their nose to speed up swallowing.

Step 6 – Release and Relax Your Dog

Once you’re sure that your dog has swallowed their med, release them from your bind. Shower them with pets and cuddles. Keep a bowl of fresh, clean water handy, in case your dog wants a drink. Call your dog affectionately and calm them down.

Most dogs do not like medication. You have to be cautious, gentle, and patient in the process of administering them. Do not get flustered, your dog is very likely to sense your agitation. Consult your vet and see if you can pill pushers if your dog is uncooperative. Do not give up. Try and you will make progress.

A dog looking at a capsule

Knowing how to give a dog medicine isn’t an easy task, but it isn’t impossible. You just need the right techniques to ensure your dog gets the treatment it needs.

Another strategy you can consider is learning how to hide the bitter taste of medicine for dogs. With patience, the right technique, and a good attitude, you and your dog will be together and healthy for many years to come.

Check out this article to learn about common dog vaccinations.



Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.

how to give a dog medicine