Dogs and cats are attracted to the smell and taste of many different things, but pill-flavored pet food isn't one of them. A few, precious pets will voluntarily swallow a pill. Other dogs and cats are willing to ignore the pill if it's masked in food. But at the end of the day, most pets don't like being induced to take pills.
Read on for some tips regarding giving pills to your pet.
While some pet owners crush pills and mix them with food, this should never be attempted without first asking a veterinarian. Some formulations rely on the pill or capsule to remain intact to be effective and safe, while other medications are not to be given with food at all. Crushing a pill may also leave a medicinal smell in the room or on your hands that especially sensitive pets will notice.
Treat or no treat, some dogs (and most cats) are having absolutely none of this pill business. At the first rattle of a foil pack, a 90-lb Labrador Retriever may run away and hide in a space where a cat couldn't turn around. Then there's the "safecracker," who skillfully separates food from medicine and holds it for a minute before spitting it out. Pursuing or restraining a distressed pet will only escalate the problem.
The ASPCA recommends gradual conditioning for highly resistant pets, where the ratio of good experiences to bad experiences is high: "For every real pill you give him, he should receive a minimum of 20 'treat pills,'"1 although not all at one time.