When it comes to medicine, dogs can be very finicky. You know the medication your dog needs will help them get better or manage a chronic condition, but if they fight you and refuse to take it, the unpleasant experience leaves you less motivated to put you and your dog through that again. 

As hard as it is, your dog still needs the medicine to heal and feel better. Administering medicine can be challenging, but following these tips and best practices for how to give a dog liquid medicine can help you administer it and offer a better experience for you and your pet.

How to Give Liquid Medicine to a Dog Safely

Figuring out the best way to give a dog liquid medicine doesn’t have to be challenging or mysterious. Start by following these steps for safely administering the medication:

  1. First, and most importantly, read the label to understand the correct dosage of liquid medication for your dog. Make sure you know how much to give, when, and how frequently. Administering medicine correctly is key to helping your dog get better. Follow instructions for storing and handling the medication.
  2. Gently pull your dog’s lip away from the teeth, creating a pocket between the teeth and cheek. This is where you’ll administer the medication. Avoid putting the syringe directly in the dog’s mouth, which may cause the dog to choke or aspirate.
  3. Take the syringe, with the correct dosage, and place it inside that pocket, just behind a canine tooth. 
  4. Angle the syringe past the tooth line, toward the throat, so the medicine hits the back of the tongue. 
  5. Squeeze the syringe slowly to dispense the liquid. Going slowly gives your dog time to swallow and breathe. 
  6. Hold your dog’s mouth closed, blow on their nose, or stroke their throat to encourage swallowing. Don’t tilt their head back, as that may cause them to choke.
  7. Dogs will often spit up some of the liquid, but don’t give them any more medicine to avoid an overdose.

How to Trick Your Dog into Taking Liquid Medicine

For many dogs, the straightforward method above for giving liquid medicine to a dog works well. But if your dog has a hard time, spits out the medicine, and resists future doses, you may need to try something a little more creative to trick your dog into taking liquid medicine. Try these tips:

  • Hide the medicine in their food. Choose a food with a strong flavor and smell, and ideally one they enjoy. You might try putting liquid medicine in peanut butter, for example. However, if your dog has dietary restrictions, if the only food that they will take the medicine in can’t be given frequently, or if the medicine has a strong taste that can’t be disguised, you may need to try something else. Also, double-check that the medicine can be taken with food.
  • Try using a small spoon instead of a syringe—your dog may see that as less threatening to bring into their mouth.
  • You may need to enlist a second person to help you handle the dog and keep them calm while you focus on administering the medication.
  • If the medication is stored in the fridge, hold the syringe in your hand for a few minutes to warm it up. Never put medicine in the microwave.
  • When you’re all done, offer a treat—if allowed with the dose—and plenty of praise!
  • Consider compounding. Liquid medication doesn’t have to be the only option. The taste of the medicine may be too bitter, or your dog may be struggling with swallowing the liquid. A compounding pharmacy like Strive Pharmacy can adjust the flavors of your medication, and even offer it as a powder or pill instead.

Get the Right Medication for Your Pet with Strive Pharmacy

Strive Pharmacy can help customize the right medication for your dog. If you’ve tried everything and are still having problems administering the liquid medication to your dog, we can help you create a more pleasant experience for you both. Compounded medications make sure your dog gets their needed treatment without too much of a struggle.

Contact Strive Pharmacy for more information on pet medication compounding in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and California.