The Veterinarian is In! Budleigh Offers Advice on Not Swallowing Pills
Daisy, my labradoodle, has a skin rash and she has to take pills. She really hates that and tries to spit them out. Also, she tries to hide under things that are way too small for her, like an antique end table.
I don’t want her to be so anxious. Could you, maybe, talk to her?
Carla H., Seattle, Washington
Labradoodle? Really? That’s a thing now? OK, no judgments.
Much of the blame for Daisy’s – and all dogs’ – reluctance to swallow pills can be laid at the feet of Giant Veterinarians who routinely treat illnesses with medicines rather than exploring alternative cures, like bacon. I may have had no formal education beyond Basic Obedience and Leash Etiquette, (instructor’s critique: “Budleigh doesn’t heel up to potential.”) but if bacon is “cured” and an illness needs a “cure”, well, you do the math, since I can’t.
So, we’re stuck with pills.
However, although I sympathize with your request that I talk directly with Daisy, that would erode the trust of my readers. Plus, her skin rash? Ewwww! Let’s just keep this as girl talk between me and you. Except I’m a boy. Oh, and a dog.
A dog’s anxiety to take pills is often directly related to their Giant’s anxiety over losing fingers. They need to meet somewhere in the middle, but no lower than the wrist.
The Giant should first offer the pill to the dog in case she’s interested. That should give you both a good laugh, which will lower the tension.
Next, try coating the pill in something smelly and delicious. Like a muddy leather boot or, more economical, peanut butter. Peanut butter is why dogs know there’s a God. I would eat a pill slathered in peanut butter. I’d eat a hissing, crunchy bug slathered in peanut butter. Well, honesty, I’d eat the hissing, crunchy bug anyway, but I’d enjoy some peanut butter after.
But I’ve heard Giants complain that peanut butter is messy and quite difficult to coat pills, let alone frantically hissing, crunchy bugs. So let’s consider an alternate drug delivery system known as, “Those soft, chewy treats with the pill hidden inside that I can spit out™.”
As the name implies, there’s a drawback. So the next tactic is to mix the pill into the morning or evening meal. This satisfies Giants, who can observe food and medication consumed, and dogs, who then spit out the pill at their leisure.
As is often the case with Giants, you can always stoop to brute force by prying open a dog’s jaws, shoving a pill deep in its mouth using your dirty fingers that smell vaguely of muddy, leather boot, then stroking their throat until they swallow – an interrogation technique refined during the Cold War.
The best tactic of all, though, is to take advantage of that unique trust between Canine and Giant that has evolved over 30,000 years. Or 210,000 in our years. You Giants trust us to guard, protect and defend. We trust you to turn doorknobs.
Carla, I recommend that you sit down with Daisy and calmly explain the situation. Point out her skin rash, (Ewwww!) show her the pill, let her sniff and lick it, then in the spirit of trust, swallow it yourself. I guarantee that a teary-eyed and grateful Daisy will eagerly swallow the next one.
And if not, well, no offense, it might improve your skin.