How to Get Your Pet to Take Her Medicine

My little squirt recently had surgery and from sitcoms on TV, I figured I had a good idea of how to trick my dog into taking her medicine.


I was prepared to hide things in her food, treats, or even peanut butter.  I knew you shouldn’t just try to get a puppy to take medicine–you had to be clever.

I didn’t quite realize how clever you had to be.

Trying things the hard way

She has a few things she needs to take, including antibiotics and painkillers.  I hid both in her food.

I came back later and the section of her food with the antibiotic in it was completely gone.  She didn’t touch the other section of her food at all.

I searched around in the food to make sure it was still there.  Yup.  I tried leaving it there for a while.  No dice.

So I took her absolutely favorite treat and put the medicine inside.  I tried giving the treat to her and she immediately backed away.

I started realizing that she could smell the medicine, even when it was in there.

She was in a lot of pain, so I really really wanted her to take this medicine.  I tried peanut butter.  I tried my food.  I tried treats. Nothing worked.

I even tried giving her a treat after it touched her medicine and she refused it.

What actually worked

It became clear to me that I need to mask the scent of the medicine to trick her into taking it.  I went to the pet store set on getting the smelliest thing possible.

When I came across Greenies “Duck and Peas” treats, there was a sort of stale-odor in the air around it.  Sold.

duck and peas

There were other Greenies treat products, but none of them shared that “there might be a dead body in this bag” air the duck and peas one had.

I was not prepared for what happened after I opened this bag.  It smelled like the entire bag was full of warm dog poop.

I almost threw up.

I took her painkiller pill, stuffed it in a pocket while gagging, and crouched down.  My dog grabbed it right out of my hand, gobbled it, then stood wagging her tail.

She loved it and had no idea it had the painkiller in it.

It has gotten to the point where when she hears me opening the painkiller bottle, she runs into the kitchen all excited.  On my end, I’ve learned not to breathe during this entire process.  I’ve also learned to start running the kitchen sink beforehand so I don’t accidentally touch anything in the kitchen with my death-hands.

From the description on the Amazon page, I realized they do market themselves as a product that can mask the smell of medicine with: “Masks the taste and smell of capsules and liquid medication with a delicious Duck and Pea flavor.”   However, I really think they are underselling themselves.  This is a product in its own league.

I hope your puppers is never sick, but if she is–I hope this can help her take her medicine.  Moxie has definitely been in better spirits now that she’s been taking her painkiller.

sick puppy dog

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. cliffordbarnabus

    “She has a few things she needs to talk, including antibiotics and painkillers.”


    ““there might be a dead body in this bad” air the duck and peas one had.”

    oops again!

    your editor

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