Sharpei puppy getting hand fed food with a medication pill inside.

The Four Best Foods To Hide Dog Pills In: Fact Checked By Our Vet

Written By Vedrana Nikolic | Canine Coach, B.A Ethnology & Anthropology, M.A Semiotics.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 5th January 2024

A responsible pet parent understands the importance of ensuring their dogs receive the prescribed treatment. However, administering medication to your beloved canine companion can be a challenging task, often met with resistance.

Fortunately, there's a clever solution that can make this process smoother: hiding pills in delicious treats. Our team of experts has gathered around to discuss the best foods to disguise dog pills, offering a range of options to suit different tastes and dietary needs.

Related: Human Foods Your Dog Can Never Eat Commonly Found In Australia.


Four Food Ideas For Hiding Pills

Even if your pooch is a picky eater, there’s surely a snack those begging puppy eyes can’t say no to. From different types of meat to spreads and creamy products, here are some foods you can try.

Wet Dog Food

A lot of dogs love wet food. So much so, that a good portion of them will devour every bit of it within a blink of an eye. If your canine companion falls under this category, then you can try giving the pill with their favourite wet food.

Related: The Best Wet Dog Food Australia.

Of course, that doesn’t mean simply throwing the pill into the bowl and hoping for the best. Unless your dog gulps the whole thing in a single bite, you’re risking blowing the whole pill-hiding operation. But what you can do is make a small meatball out of wet food and stuff it with a pill. Add to a bowl and fill it with the rest of the food.

Peanut Butter

Does your pooch magically teleport into your kitchen every time you’re making a peanut butter sandwich? Luckily, peanut butter is one of those food pastes that’s safe for dogs in limited amounts. In fact, it’s a great source of protein and healthy fats, as well as vitamins B and E (1). And if your Fido is crazy about it, then peanut butter is an excellent choice for sneaking in medication.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

All you have to do is coat the pill with peanut butter and give it to your canine companion. Creamy peanut butter works best, as it’s really tough for dogs to lick it off and spit the medication out.

The healthiest version for your pooch is homemade peanut butter, as it has no questionable additives or extra sugar. If you’re going with a store-bought version, then unsalted peanut butter is the best. You should, however, pay attention to the ingredient list, making sure it contains no xylitol. Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar substitute that’s safe for us to consume, but toxic to dogs.

Your Dog’s Favourite Meat

While dogs are considered omnivores, pretty much every member of the canine family would choose meat as their favourite food. For that reason, hiding pills in meat should be easy.

Related: The Best Meat Proteins For Dogs.

You can use plain chicken or minced meat and mould it around the medication. As for whether you should use raw or cooked meat, it’s up to you. However, keep in mind the potential health concerns that go with feeding dogs raw food, like potential contamination.

Cheese

If you ever tried using cheese as a dog treat, then you surely know how much they’re crazy about it. With that in mind, it’s clear why hiding pills in cheese sounds like a good idea.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Of course, that’s unless your pooch is lactose intolerant. Unfortunately, many dogs don’t digest cheese well, so even a small bite could cause adverse reactions (2). But in case your canine companion doesn’t have such issues, then a cheese ball is definitely a good method to try.

For this, semi-hard cheese like Cheddar, Gouda or Emmental works best. At room temperature, this type of cheese softens down to the play-dough consistency, which makes it easy to shape it around the pill. You can rest assured your pooch will gulp it down without even chewing it.


Concerns Regarding Hiding Medication In Food

If you can’t get your dog to swallow a pill, masking it as something more delicious may be the only solution. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you go down that route.

Ensure The Food Is Safe For Your Dog

Before sticking a pill into food, make sure it’s actually safe for your pooch to eat. As we already established, many dogs don’t tolerate dairy well, even though they enjoy eating it very much.

If you’re going with meat, it should be the protein source your Fido usually consumes and tolerates well. So for instance, if you’re feeding your dog lamb kibble formula, then go with lamb meat, be it minced or cut. That way, you’re avoiding the possibility of your pooch getting an adverse reaction to your meat pill ball, be it caused by food intolerance or allergy.

Check The Label

One thing to keep in mind is that certain medications shouldn't be combined with specific foods. For instance, many antibiotics lose potency when consumed with dairy. What happens is calcium in milk binds with the antibiotic, preventing it from entering the bloodstream to fight infection (3).

Related: How To Choose The Right Dog Food.

Every medicine comes with a medication package insert, which features all the information regarding use, including what’s allowed and not allowed to be combined.

Don’t Crush The Pill

It may sound logical to crush the pill and then simply mix the powder with your dog’s food. There’s no way a dog can separate the two, and which dog would reject a delicious meal just because of a sprinkle of medicine?

It’s understandable why you might think that, but that’s not such an amazing idea. First of all, most pills don’t taste very nice. In fact, they’re usually coated with a layer of sugar syrup to mask the horrible flavour. That’s why the pill tastes sweet for a few seconds, until it starts melting on your tongue and it gets bitter very fast.

Not only that, but crushing the pill can also affect its effectiveness. Certain medication is intended to dissolve within minutes of consumption, while others are supposed to work after 12-24 hours. Without the protective seal, pill ingredients will get released much faster than intended, which ultimately kills their purpose.

Generally, the only exception to this rule are tablets which are designed to be cut in half or quarters as part of their dosage. Protective coating is often not used for these medications, however, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.


Final Thoughts

Finding the best food to hide dog pills is a crucial skill for pet owners. From classic choices like peanut butter to innovative alternatives, your options can easily be tailored to your dog's needs. With a bit of creativity and some trial and error, administering pills can be just as stress-free and enjoyable as giving a treat.

References

  1. Burke, A. December 25, 2021. “Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?” American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-peanut-butter/
  2. Kriss, R. August 29, 2021. “Can Dogs Eat Cheese?” American Kennel Club. Retrieved September 17, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-cheese/
  3. The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 19 July 2014, Vol 293, No 7819;293(7819)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.69976. https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/news/why-some-antibiotics-should-be-avoided-with-milk

Vedrana Nikolic


Vedrana Nikolić is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer, Anthropologist & dog lover.

With a Masters Degree in Semiotics & Bachelors Degree in Anthropology, studying the communication between animals and humans, Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}