Want your dog to take their medication without any fuss? Try this trainer’s simple trick

Dog being given tablespoon of food with medication in it
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have a dog that requires daily medication to ensure they stay fit and well, then you're not doubt all too familiar with the challenges of getting them to swallow their pills without too much of a fuss.

Is my dog sick is a common concern amongst pet parents, but the good news is that there are lots of conditions out there that are able to be managed with daily medication. The bad news? Getting your pup to take them isn't always easy.

Thankfully, expert trainer Julianna DeWillems has come to the rescue with a rather hilarious Instagram video where she reveals how she very cleverly tricks her adorable Chihuahua into thinking she's getting a delicious treat rather than a bitter pill to swallow - and the results are a huge success!

You can check out the video below or read on to find out how DeWillems gets her dog to take her daily dose of medication without any hassle...

"We totally empathize with those who struggle giving their dogs meds," DeWillems says. "Especially those of us who have to do it every day!" 

With her own dog having to take anti-anxiety medication, DeWillems knew she had to come up with a cunning way to get her intelligent pup to take it - and with a bit of trial and error she's figured out what works and what doesn't.

The trick? "We have to hide the pill completely in whatever we give her, and she has to be able to swallow the treat without chewing," explains DeWillems. "If she smells or tastes it, no dice. We’ve had success with small sweet potatoes cubes, cream cheese, whipped cream (yep), and now crunchy peanut butter."

While hiding the pill in your dog's regular food may seem like a great idea, DeWillems says this can often backfire, creating a new problem to deal with.

"Hiding it in her food is a bad idea! This causes many dogs to stop eating their regular food altogether. It’s so important to us that we do not mess with her meal-eating behavior."

In the video, DeWillems and her dog can be seen sitting on the couch together, which she says is one of the reasons the trick works so well.

"The trick in the video works because we set up the same conditions that occur when we normally share meals with her: we sit on the couch, we “eat” the peanut butter a little bit first, then we make a big deal out of finding a good bite for her."

DeWillems recommends always handling the pill with the opposite one that you've used to handle the treat item with as some dogs are so sensitive to the smell of pills that the smell/taste of the pill on the hand you're holding the treat with will cause them to reject it.

It can also be useful to give your dog a few regular dog treats first before you give them the treat their pill is hidden in. "Sometimes when we have the right treat option for hiding the pill, we will give her a few non-pill treats first so she gets on a roll with eating stuff we give her. Then, when we slip her the one with the pill, she is much more likely to swallow it down without question."

If after trying the above trick you still find your pup won't take their pills, we recommend speaking to your vet who will be able to offer you additional advice and guidance.


For more great tips and tricks, check out our guides on how to crate train a dog and how to reduce separation anxiety in dogs.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.