How can you successfully split a pill?

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Most medications come as a capsule or a tablet. At times, it may be necessary to give half of a dose as prescribed by your veterinarian. To do so means it’s necessary to split the pill in half or quarters so that your pet receives an equal amount of medication during each dose.

Capsules cannot be accurately split. They can be pulled apart and the powder sprinkled over food, but it is not possible to accurately split a capsule dose in half. If a medication requires a step up in dosage or a step down in dosage during treatment that requires you to split a whole pill, you will need to make sure the veterinarian has prescribed tablets. Tablets are either smooth coated or scored. A scored tablet has a small indention that runs down the center of the tablet surface; this helps in the splitting of the tablet to decrease your dose.

Pill cutters can be used to cut tablets in halves or quarters. A pill cutter has an area to hold the pill, and then a sharp razor blade in the lid that cuts the pill as you close it. This is a convenient way to split a pill, but it isn’t always the most accurate.

Another method that tends to be far more accurate than a pill cutter is the manual method. To use this method, first lay the pill on a smooth surface. Using both index fingers, push down at the same time on the opposite edges of the pill. The downward pressure should snap the pill quickly in half with little crumbling. This can be repeated to create quarter pieces of the halves. Either method is acceptable if the pill is cut cleanly in half to ensure equal dosages.

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