Giving medication to your pet can be not so easy.

Here are some tips to make things easier for everyone.

First, try hiding the medication in food. Place the pill inside a soft, tasty treat – or commercially available treat pocket – then give a total of three treats, with the pill inside the second one. Be sure the medication is safe to take with food and don’t use your pet’s regular mealtime food.

Some pills have unpleasant odors or tastes that can cross-contaminate your delicious treat. Try using one hand for the treat and the other for the pill. No matter how hard you try, some dogs, and many cats, will be too clever for this trick to work.

So the next best option is to place the pill directly in their mouth. With this method it’s important to be sensitive to your pet’s comfort level. A negative first experience will make it more difficult next time. Don’t use excessive force, remove them from a hiding place, or interrupt a meal to give medication. Instead, wait for them to approach you, practice touching their head and mouth, then reward.

As they become comfortable, use one hand to hold and tilt their head upward and insert the pill with your other hand as far back on their tongue as possible. A second person can help comfort your pet and offer gentle restraint — reducing the risk of injury.

At Chantilly Animal Hospital, we do our best to explain to you how to give your pet medication at home. If you have any questions or need some pointers, please feel free to schedule an appointment.