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how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine

How to Trick Your Dog into Taking Liquid Medicine

Regardless of breed, dogs have one thing in common: they don’t enjoy taking liquid medication. Dogs are intelligent about sniffing out pills, tasting medicine that’s mixed in, or wriggling away as you try to dispense liquid medicine. (Pill guns are a different story for another blog.)

Wondering how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine? Here are five tried and true tricks from Tucson’s top-rated veterinarian, Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic, to get your dog to take medicine. Give them a try – we think you’ll find one that works for you.

Ask Your Vet for Compounded Medicine

Ask your vet if you can get the prescription compounded into ready-made dog treats. This makes your job easier and ensures that your dog receives the correct dosage. (Yes, we are happy to do this for our dog owners!)

Use a Syringe or Dropper

Draw the medication into the syringe or dropper (remember, 1ml = 1cc, 5cc = 1 teaspoon, and 15cc = 1 tablespoon). If it’s refrigerated, warm it in your hand first.

Get your dog into a comfortable spot or have someone hold the dog if needed. Grab the dog’s head with your non-dominant hand and place your dominant hand on top of its muzzle, circling with your thumb and fingers.

Then raise the dog’s nose toward the ceiling and squeeze your fingers behind its canine teeth. Place the dropper or syringe behind the canine teeth and squeeze the contents into the dog’s mouth. Praise your dog!

Peanut Paws

Another answer to the question “how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine?” works wonders for most fur babies, as it doesn’t seem like medicine to your dog. Mix the medicine into your dog’s favorite brand of peanut butter (some dogs like all peanut butter, but you’ll find that some can be choosy!) Spread it onto a silicone mat and watch your dog enjoy the treat.

Canned Food

This method of hiding liquid medicine from dogs works wonders for some, but it doesn’t work with everyone. Food flavor choices that work best include duck and salmon combo, tuna, chicken casserole, and salmon.

Start with a small amount of food to make sure your dog eats it all. If the dog doesn’t eat it at that concentration, continue mixing in more food until you reach the “magic ratio.” If your dog doesn’t finish all of the food, it’s not getting a correct dose, so find a different method for next time.


If your dog likes bread, that’s an acceptable alternative to canned food. But be careful not to use breads that are toxic to dogs, such as raisin bread, garlic bread, any bread with xylitol (sugar alcohol), or bread with nuts and seeds.

Stay Calm

Your dog can sense your mood and emotions from speaking tone and body language. If you are uneasy, your dog will be too and less likely to respond as you want.

Now that you know how to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine, you’re prepared for any prescriptions your vet might give you. Click here to learn about the signs to take your pet to the vet.

For complete veterinary care, call Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic at (520) 889-9643 to schedule an appointment.

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