Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

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How can I give my puppy medicine?

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS
Reading time: 2 minutes

Getting your puppy to take their medicine can often be tricky, but here are some top tips for making it stress free for both you and your four-legged friend.

Giving your puppy tablets with food

Firstly, check with your vet to see whether the prescribed tablets can be given with food or if they need to be administered on an empty stomach.

If they can be given with food, then often the best way to get your puppy to swallow tablets is to hide them in a small amount of their food. By giving them only a small amount of their normal breakfast or dinner, they are more likely to eat it and consume the tablets. After they have consumed them, you can then give them the rest of their meal.

If this doesn’t work, coat the tablet in a soft, malleable food such as a small chewy treat. The size of the treat is important though – it needs to be small enough that your dog can swallow without chewing. Dogs can be fussy, and if there is some taste or texture they don’t like, then they may eat around the tablet and simply eat the treat.

Another top tip is to try giving your puppy a couple of small treats, and then one with the tablet concealed inside it.

Giving your puppy tablets without food

If the medicine needs to be taken on an empty stomach, simply get your dog to sit upright, tilt their head back and open their mouth. Place the tablet as far back on their tongue as possible and close their mouth – keeping your hands over the top and bottom of their jaw, gently massaging their throat to encourage them to swallow.

Always be calm and offer words of encouragement, followed by a treat to reward them for their good behaviour.

Giving your puppy liquid medicine

If you have to give your puppy liquid medicine, you should use a dropper or syringe – preferably the one which came with the medicine. Hold your puppy’s head, but do not tilt it back or they may inhale and splutter on the medicine. Put the tip of the dropper into a corner of their mouth, between the cheek and the teeth, making sure that it’s pointing towards the back of their throat.

Empty the dropper into their mouth and then hold your dog’s mouth closed. Stroke their throat or gently blow onto their nose to coax them to swallow. Again always be calm and offer words of encouragement, followed by a treat to reward them for their good behaviour.

Brian Faulkner - BSc (Hons), BVM&S, MBA, MSc(Psych), MRCVS

Brian graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995 and worked in mixed practice before studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School in 2000/2001. After setting up and developing numerous veterinary practices in Suffolk in the 2000s, Brian was awarded the Petplan-UK Vet of the Year in 2008 after having been runner-up in 2007. Brian is currently the Petplan Pet Insurance media and PR vet and works in his own small animal veterinary practice 3 days a week. During his 20 year career Brian has worked in over 250 veterinary practices as a clinician, consultant and confidence coach.

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