How can I get my dog to stay still while I pill him?

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Administering medications to our pets can be difficult even when they cooperate, but it can be impossible if they are wiggling around in excitement or anxiety. Coaxing a dog to sit still when you are stressed can make it even more difficult, as dogs tend to feed off their owner’s energy. It is best if your dog already knows the sit and stay command.

If you use the sit and stay command, the easiest way to successfully medicate your dog would be to hide the pill in a treat, rewarding it for the sit and stay. Unfortunately, not all dogs have been taught basic obedience, or refuse to comply during medication times. This is where restraint may become a necessary step in the process.

Find a corner in your house or apartment that has solid walls on both sides. Have your dog sit in this corner facing you. At this point, you can now either reward with the medication hidden in a treat, or carefully open the dog’s mouth and pill them manually.

By having him sit in a corner facing you, any backward movement should be stopped by the corner. If the dog still proves to be uncooperative, physical restraint may be necessary. Continue to ask for a sit and stay in the corner but this time, straddle the dog as well with your back to the wall and a hand underneath their jaw. Quickly open the mouth and, manually pill the dog with your hand or a pill gun. Use your legs to keep the dog from moving from side to side and allow them to back into the wall if necessary.

If these techniques prove to be unsuccessful, visit with your veterinarian for other options in medicating.

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