How Can I Get My Pet To Swallow Their Tablets?

Dog taking pill

Making our pets swallow tablets can prove tricky. They don’t know why they need medicine, and the unpleasant or unfamiliar taste will deter them. Here are a few simple tips to trick your pet into swallowing a tablet.


‘It’s strong flavour masks the smell and flavour of the tablets, Greencross Vets’ Tessa Jongejans says. ‘They love the taste and as it is sticky it will make the tablet stick in your pet’s mouth so it’s harder to spit out. It is also healthier than some alternatives.’
Dr Jongejans says the trick works for dogs and cats alike.


Wrapping the tablet in a small amount of cheese could be enough to entice your pet to swallow the pill.


Pate is a smelly, tasty way to mask the flavour and odour of a tablet.

Pet piller

Failing that, try a pet piller – a long, syringe-like device that helps you administer medicine without placing your fingers in harms’ way.
‘It is easier to use the two-person approach for medicine administering’ Dr Jongejans says.

You can also ask your vet if the medication comes in an alternate form, maybe a paste or liquid instead of a tablet.

If you’re treating your pet for fleas, ticks, worms or skin conditions, there is a range of alternative applications such as meat-flavoured chewable tablets that your pet will enjoy or topical treatments.

Still struggling?

  • Feed your cat some of their favourite treats, then slip in a medicine-laced treat, followed by a regular treat
  • For dogs, take a handful of treats and throw some for it to catch in its mouth. Slip in a tablet and hopefully, your pet will have swallowed the medicine before they know what’s hit them
  • Sit your dog upright and tilt their head backwards. Place the tablet between your index and middle fingers and deposit it at the back of your pet’s throat. Remove your fingers and hold your dog’s jaw closed. When you see their tongue dart out and lick their nose, you’ll know the tablet has been swallowed
  • As a last resort, crush it into their food

We know it can be difficult to give medicine to your pet. Some cats will absolutely refuse to eat food that has medicine hiding in it, even if it means going hungry. We can help you administer medicine if you’re having too much trouble. Contact your local Greencross Vets for more advice.

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