Last year, my dog Charlie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. This translates into a lot of medication. A great eater, I??d always been able to sneak pills into Charlie?s food without much trouble. But lately, all the heart medication has inhibited his appetite. So, I?ve learned a few tricks to make sure he continues to eat and take his medication. Warning: I am not a veterinarian. You should check with your veterinarian before you try any of these tricks. Your dog might have other health issues, like allergies, which may limit what he/she can eat.
1. Try a 1/4 Tab of Original Pepcid AC
Break up the Pepcid AC into 1/4 tabs (Charlie is 16 pounds ? you should check first with your vet to see how much your dog might need based on their weight). Place the tab into a small dish and then add a drop or two of water. The Pepcid AC will dissolve. Then take a thin syringe (without a needle) so that you can suck up the dissolved tab. It?s important that you use only Original Pepcid AC (probably because it doesn?t have all the other additives). Open your dog?s mouth and squirt it down the throat 30 minutes before your dog eats. It helps settle the stomach.
2. Whet the Appetite
Who knew? Dogs love baby food and its basic enough not to upset their stomach. Try anything with turkey or chicken. Just dip your finger in the food and offer it up to your dog to lick off. My dog loves it and it gives him that jump start to begin eating.
3. Hide the Pills
If you?ve ever spent time digging pills out of your dog?s regular food because he won?t eat, then it?s time to tempt. Cottage cheese, cream cheese, liverwurst, peanut butter, and American cheese may all work for hiding the pills. But my favorite for hand feeding has got to be the liverwurst. You can roll a small piece into a meatball with the pills tucked neatly inside. It makes it so easy. And a little extra tip ? for those really tough days when even the liverwurst fails to inspire, try dipping the meatball in baby food. Sometimes that combo will get them going. By doing this all by hand, you?ll know your dog has taken the medication. Then, you can worry about feeding them.
4. Get Creative
No. You can not feed your dog cream puffs. Save those for yourself. But, you can vary from their regular dog food by using some simple temptations. Try Costco?s vacuum-packed skinless rotisserie chicken. It?s already prepared for you. Just open the clear plastic container and you can make up to ten small lunch bags of food. Keep one bag out and the rest, go ahead and freeze. Dice up a small amount of the chicken and add it to your dog?s regular food (you may want to cut back on the regular portion size to offset the added chicken). Again, the chicken will tantalize. And if your dog won?t eat their regular food, try topping it off with baby food ? like a dressing. Trust me, it will be gone.
5. Patience Wins the Day
We?re used to seeing our pets wolf down their meal. But if you have a sick dog, you?re going to have to be patient while they eat. It might be best to walk away, giving them plenty of time to finish their meal. My dog has developed a crazy habit of pulling the food out of the bowl and dropping it on the floor before eating it. If you?re anal, like me, it?s best to step away. You can always clean the floor later when your pet is finished.
Bonus Tip: Visit the Vet
The vet techs know a thousand ways to get a sick dog to eat. They are amazing human beings, angels all. Plus they will teach you how to get a pill down a very sick dog?s throat if you?re unable to get them to eat. Now, I know this is an awful subject, but unless you want your dog spitting up pills, and I have found a few, you need to know how to do this. I?ve been told a dog lacks a gag reflex, so the best way is to dip the pill into a healthy amount of baby food and then place it all the way to the back of the throat, head up so they swallow. There should be enough liquid on the pill so that it goes down easily. Voila! You?re now an expert.
I hope this piece was helpful. Let me know what tricks you?ve used to get your sick dog to eat. I?d love to hear them.
Oh yeah. And check out this cool video on how to get a dog to take any pill. Guaranteed to delight. bit.ly/2uWd5RC