How to give your pet a tablet


From time to time your pet may need to take medicines, but any pet owner will know that this can be easier said than done!


PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said: “If your pet is prescribed tablets by your vet then it’s important to make sure the entire course is taken. Not completing a course of medication can mean it won’t work as effectively, so your pet could take longer to get better. It’s always best to give your vet a call if you think your pet doesn’t need all of the tablets.”

Some medicines can be given as liquids, but others have to be taken as tablets. Your vet will explain how often you have to give them, whether they can be crushed at all (some pills are less effective if crushed) and if they can be taken with food.


The easiest option, if the tablet can be given with food, is to hide it in your pet’s favourite treat, or wrap it in a piece of meat. If the tablet can be crushed then you can mix it in with a portion of their food. All the food must be eaten though, to ensure the full dosage is taken.

If this doesn’t work, or the tablet can’t be given with food then it’s best to get someone to help you to give them the tablet.

One person should help to hold your pet still; for small pets they can be placed on a surface (with no danger of falling) and stand behind the pet holding them gently but firmly. For larger dogs, they will need to sit on the floor, ideally against a wall, with someone steadying their body and head to limit movement.

The second person should gently take hold of the upper jaw of your pet with one hand and lift it up to open the pet’s mouth. Using their other hand, move the pet’s lower jaw down and drop the tablet onto the tongue, as far back as possible.

Close the mouth and gently move the head back to the normal position, then stroke your pet’s throat in a gentle downward motion until they swallow. Once your pet licks their lips, this is a good indication that they have swallowed the tablet. It’s a good idea to give your hands a wash afterwards.

Giving liquid medication is a little easier, but quite similar. One person should hold the pet still while the other person administers the medication. This is usually done with a syringe (provided by your vet) and squirted into the side of the pet’s mouth while their head is held level.

When you’re finished, reward your pet with plenty of praise so that they will associate the process with getting something nice at the end!

If you are still having problems then ask your vet practice for more advice. Or the medication may even be available in a different form that is easier for you to give.