How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine

icon September 15, 2023

Administering medication to your furry friend can be a daunting task, especially if your dog is not too keen on taking liquid medicine. Especially if you're giving your dog liquid medication and some of it gets sneezed or spit in the face of an unsuspecting pet parent, the medication will not only be wasted but also make the pet parent very upset! In this article, we will guide you through the process of giving liquid medicine to your dog effectively and safely.

Why Dogs May Need Pills?

Dogs may need pills or medications for a variety of reasons, similar to how humans might require medication for various health issues. Here are some common reasons why dogs may need pills:

  • Infection: Dogs can get bacterial, viral, or fungal infections that require antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungal medications to treat.
  • Pain Management: Dogs, especially older ones or those recovering from surgery or injuries, may require pain relief medications to manage their discomfort.
  • Chronic Conditions: Some dogs suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, or arthritis that require daily medication to control symptoms and maintain their quality of life.
  • Allergies: Dogs can develop allergies to various substances, such as food, pollen, or insect bites. Medications like antihistamines or steroids may be prescribed to alleviate allergy symptoms.
  • Parasite Control: Dogs often need regular deworming medications to prevent or treat internal parasites like worms or external parasites like fleas and ticks.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Dogs can suffer from digestive problems such as gastritis, ulcers, or inflammatory bowel disease. Medications may be used to soothe or control these issues.

How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine Using a Pill Popper?

  • Shake the liquid medication well before use, following the instructions on the label.
  • Measure the correct dosage using a syringe or dropper that came with the medication or one provided by your veterinarian.
  • Check that the pill popper is suitable for liquid medication. Some pill poppers are designed for solid pills and may not work well with liquids.
  • Start by offering your dog a small treat to create a positive association with the process.
  • Fill the pill popper with the correct dose of liquid medication.
  • Gently open your dog's mouth by placing your hand over the top of its muzzle.
  • Insert the pill popper into the back of your dog's mouth, aiming toward the back of the throat.
  • Depress the plunger to release the liquid medication.
  • Immediately close your dog's mouth and hold it shut. This helps ensure that they swallow the medication.
  • Gently stroke your dog's throat or blow on its nose to encourage swallowing.
  • Once your dog has swallowed the medication, offer another treat as a reward.

Are There Other Ways To Give My Dog Liquid Medicine?

Yes, there are several ways to give your dog liquid medicine if they refuse to take it directly from a syringe or dropper. Here are some alternative methods to administer liquid medication to your dog:

Mix with Food

One of the most common and effective methods is to mix the liquid medication with a small amount of your dog's regular wet food. Make sure to mix it well so that the medication is evenly distributed and your dog can't easily pick it out.

Use Pill Pockets

Some dogs may be more receptive to pill pockets, which are soft, treat-like pockets designed to hide pills or liquid medication. You can place the liquid medicine inside a pill pocket and give it to your dog as a treat.

Dilute with Broth or Water

Dilute the liquid medication with a small amount of low-sodium chicken or beef broth. Ensure the medication is well-mixed with the liquid, and then give it to your dog in a bowl.

Mix with Baby Food

Some baby foods, like plain chicken or beef puree, can mask the taste of the medication. Mix the liquid medicine with a small amount of baby food and offer it to your dog.

Ask Your Vet for Flavoring

Some veterinary pharmacies can add flavoring to your dog's medication, making it more palatable. Ask your veterinarian if this is an option.

If It's a Pill, How Do I Give It to the Dog?

Giving a pill to a dog can be challenging, as dogs may not always willingly swallow medication. Here are some steps to help you give a solid pill to your dog:

Use of Pill Poppers

Pill poppers, also known as pill dispensers or pill guns, are handy tools that can make the process easier. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use a pill popper to give a solid pill to your dog:

  • Make sure you have the prescribed medication in pill form. If it's a scored tablet, you can often break it into smaller pieces if your dog has difficulty swallowing a whole pill.
  • Open the pill popper and place the pill securely in the pill holder or tip. Ensure that the pill is centered and held firmly.
  • Gently use one hand to hold your dog's upper jaw or muzzle and lift it upwards. This will help open their mouth.
  • With your other hand, use the pill popper to guide the pill into the back of your dog's mouth, beyond the hump of their tongue.
  • Quickly push the plunger on the pill popper to release the pill. Ensure that the pill goes down the dog's throat and into their esophagus. It's essential to do this swiftly to prevent your dog from spitting out the pill.
  • Gently close your dog's mouth and hold it shut for a few seconds to encourage them to swallow.

Hide it in Food

The easiest way to give a pill to your dog is often to hide it in a treat or food. You can try:

  • Pill Pockets: These are commercially available treats with a space to hide a pill.
  • Cheese or Peanut Butter: Wrap the pill in a small amount of cheese or coat it in peanut butter.
  • Wet Food: Mix the pill into a small portion of wet dog food.
  • Meat or Deli Meat: Wrap the pill in a small piece of deli meat or a slice of hot dog.
  • Cream Cheese: Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the pill.

Give a Dog a Pill

Can You Dissolve Pills in Water for Dogs?

Dissolving pills in water for dogs can be a helpful way to administer medication, especially if your dog has difficulty swallowing pills or refuses to take them. However, always consult your veterinarian before altering the way you administer medication to your dog. They can provide specific instructions on whether it's safe to dissolve a particular medication in water and if it's suitable for your dog's condition. Once the pill is dissolved, administer the medication immediately to your dog. You can use a syringe or a medicine dropper to slowly and gently place the liquid into your dog's mouth.

Can I Crush My Dog’s Pills?

Crushing your dog's pills should only be done under the guidance and supervision of a veterinarian. Crushing some medications can alter their effectiveness or release the active ingredients too quickly, potentially causing harm to your dog. It's crucial to consult with a veterinarian or pharmacist to ensure that the specific medication your dog is prescribed can be safely crushed. Especially for some medications are formulated as extended-release or enteric-coated tablets, which are designed to release the medication slowly or protect it from stomach acid. Crushing these types of pills can disrupt their intended action.

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Absorb Liquid Medication?

The time it takes for a dog to absorb liquid medication can vary depending on several factors, including the medication itself, the dog's individual metabolism, and whether the medication needs to be absorbed through the digestive system or if it can be absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth. However, as a general guideline:

Absorption Through Digestive System: If the liquid medication needs to be ingested and absorbed through the digestive system, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours for the medication to start taking effect. The exact time can vary based on the dog's digestive health, age, and other individual factors.

Absorption Through Mucous Membranes: Some liquid medications can be absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth, which can lead to faster absorption. In such cases, you might see effects within minutes to an hour after administration.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pills and Liquid Medicines

Here is a table listing the advantages and disadvantages of pills and liquid medicines for dogs:

Aspect Pill Medicines Liquid Medicines
Ease of Administration Relatively easy to administer, especially for dogs that readily accept treats or have no aversion to pills. May be easier to administer to dogs who are picky eaters or have difficulty swallowing pills.
Precision Dosage Easier to achieve precise dosages due to standardized pill sizes. Can be more challenging to measure accurate doses, especially for small dogs.
Palatability Many pills are flavored or can be hidden in treats, making them more palatable for some dogs. Some liquid medications have a more pleasant taste and may be easier for dogs to swallow.
Absorption Speed May take longer to take effect as the pill needs to dissolve and be absorbed in the digestive system. Generally faster absorption, as liquid medications are already in a semi-dissolved form.
Storage and Stability Pills are typically stable at room temperature and have longer shelf lives. Liquid medications may require refrigeration and have a shorter shelf life once opened.
Ease of Transport Convenient to carry and administer when traveling with your dog. Liquid medicines may require special packaging to prevent spills during travel.
Compliance Some dogs may spit out or refuse to swallow pills, leading to compliance issues. Easier to administer to dogs with swallowing difficulties or those that are resistant to pills.
Flexibility Limited options for adjusting dosages for dogs of different sizes. Easier to adjust dosages for dogs of varying sizes by using a syringe.
Taste Masking Options Limited options for masking taste if the dog dislikes the medication. More flexibility in masking the taste of the medication with flavored liquids.
Common Side Effects Pills may cause stomach upset or irritation in some dogs. Liquid medications may also cause stomach upset, but it can be easier to adjust the dose or mix with food.

Please note that the suitability of pills or liquid medications for your dog may vary depending on the specific medication, your dog's preferences, and any underlying health conditions. Always consult with your veterinarian for guidance on the most appropriate form of medication and dosing for your individual dog.




Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!