Why are dogs easier to pill than cats?

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Administering oral medications is one of the most frustrating aspects of pet ownership. Most medications do not taste good, so animals try to avoid taking them, much like children. Unfortunately, our dogs and cats can inflict damage to us even though we are trying to do something good for them by making sure they receive their medications.

Most owners will agree that dogs are far easier to pill than cats. If it is done the old fashioned way of physically pushing a pill down their throat, a dog has a much larger mouth that allows more room for the human hand. They are also less likely to bite their owner versus a cat, which is much more likely to panic and bite.

If the owner chooses to hide the medication inside a treat, dogs are generally more food driven than cats, and will consume the treat without investigating it. Most cats are suspicious of a non-medicated food bowl, and more so a treat. Due to the size of their mouths, they are more likely to take several bites out of a treat and find the pill whereas the dog will most likely swallow it whole without a second thought. Often, liquid medications are easier for cats, as they can be quickly squirted down the back of their throat or squirted into wet cat food.

Regardless of the species needing to be medicated, an owner is more likely to be successful if they work with the animal and use their natural behaviors to encourage them to consume the pill. If at any time it proves impossible to medicate your animal at home, call your veterinarian and explain your difficulties, so they can find you and your pet a better alternative.

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