Help me my give my dog Tramadol
May 6, 2011 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Help me my give my dog Tramadol

Apparently, it tastes bad. My dog refuses to take it. I've tried hiding it in every food I can think of. Meat of all kinds, chicken skin, pork rinds, cheese, bread, peanut butter, marshmallows, etc. Any one thing works twice, then he figures out what's going on and spits it out. A pill gun or placing the pill in the back of his throat is not possible. I always try before a meal so that he is hungry. What else can I do?
posted by allelopath to Pets & Animals (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried pill pockets? Also, if you act like it's a pill, your dog will pick up on it and not take it. Put it in a pill pocket and dump it in your dog's bowl of food with it's food. I'd be somewhat surprised if he/she doesn't eat it.
posted by TheBones at 5:46 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might ask your vet if there's another format - I have a friend with a cat that will cheerfully take her hand off at the wrist if she tries to feed her a pill, but the cat will gobble down the fish-flavored liquid medicine. If you have access to a compounding pharmacy they may be able to help, too.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:53 PM on May 6, 2011

Take *three* small pieces of cheese or other tasty softish stuff. Wrap the pill in one of the pieces of cheese. Give the dog a non-pill piece of cheese. The give the other two pieces of cheese almost at the same time, making sure the dog takes the one with the pill first. The dog will just swallow the second pill-containing piece without chewing, to get to the third bit as quickly as possible. Works every time for us, no need for any of the messy fingers-down-throat stuff even with disgusting-tasting pills.
posted by anadem at 5:53 PM on May 6, 2011 [8 favorites]

Forgot to say ... when giving the second, pill-containing bit of whatever, be sure the dog sees the third desirable bit. I wave it under the dog's nose as I give the pill-laden treat.

Also, I use cheddar, which becomes quite soft enough to wrap a pill when kneaded, and has enough strong smell to hide the medicine.
posted by anadem at 5:57 PM on May 6, 2011

I used to use the same method as anadem only instead of cheddar I used cheap liverwurst - a plastic skin of which lived in the freezer for times like these.
posted by ninazer0 at 6:09 PM on May 6, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, I tried pill pockets.
anadem, jamaro: I will try your techniques. Thanks.
posted by allelopath at 6:14 PM on May 6, 2011

During a two-month bout of antibiotics, my dog twigged to everything I could wrap a pill in. I finally started crushing them and mixing the powder into a few tablespoons of canned food, which she ate happily.

To this day, if I give her an empty pill pocket she nibbles though it looking for the pill.
posted by workerant at 6:22 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been having success with small chunks of steak. I plunge a sharp knife tip into them to create a slot big enough to stuff a tablet into. She inhales them and doesn't even know the Tramadol is in there. Same technique is also working for much larger half caplets of Vetprofen.

Now if I could only sell her on the idea of snuggling into a crate . . .
posted by Camofrog at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2011

Hiding the pill in a big blob of cream cheese worked well for my dog -- the cream cheese is tasty, and it's slimy enough to go down quick!

Another tip: don't let the pill touch much of the food medium. So, for the cream cheese, I'd use a knife to put a bit on my finger, place the pill on top of that, then use the knife to put another bit of cream cheese on top of that, creating one big blob. The pill never touched the "outside" of the blob that my dog could immediately sniff.

Good luck!
posted by Boogiechild at 6:26 PM on May 6, 2011

Our dog has been on Tramadol for two weeks. Gobbles it down with a pill pocket. But, my last dog was like yours about it. She could always tell it was in there, just the powder on my hands from handling it made her turn up her nose to anything else I touched. Finally had to wrap it up in something secure and smooth like a pill pocket, then put it on the back of her tongue, hold her mouth shut and rub her throat. It slid down her throat much easier than the pill alone. Still felt bad doing that to her...
posted by jshort at 7:05 PM on May 6, 2011

We used to crush the pill in a crusher and mix the resulting powder with melted ice cream.
posted by gnutron at 7:24 PM on May 6, 2011

Liverwurst! Our old hound who wouldn't take pills in *anything* would happily gob up liverwurst-coated meds.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2011

Nthing cream cheese, which works well because it's got a little bit of that fatty factor and sticks to the pills. Our dog is on long-term Tramadol - she takes it wrapped in a ball of cream cheese about the size of an almond. And nthing, too, the multiple treat method - if she gets one no-pill treat and then two more in rapid sucession, her treat greed keeps her from thinking about what might be hidden in there. Also, try it when he is already hungry.

When that doesn't work, crushing a pill into something very rich, like canned cat food or tuna, overrides the bitterness.

And if THAT doesn't work, give him a treat with no pill while making lots of happy noises and being all excited for him. Do it a few times, until he (hopefully) stops being suspicious, and then the next time, do it WITH the pill inside.

Good luck!
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 8:04 PM on May 6, 2011

I use peanut butter and mix in powdered sugar so that it has the consistency of play-doh (not sticky). Cover the pill with enough to hide it but not enough to warrant chewing. Roll into a ball and down the hatch! I find this works better than plain peanut butter because it lacks the mouth-smacking quality.
posted by bolognius maximus at 8:09 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why is a pill popper or tossing it in the back of his mouth not an option?
If its because it sticks or he still coughs it up try butter. Its tasty and it helps it slide further down.
posted by gally99 at 9:13 PM on May 6, 2011

Peanut butter is the only way I can get my stubborn Corgi to take pills. My technique varies depending on how obnoxious she is being, but generally I give her a lick of pb first, then shove a blob of pb with a pill in it as far back/up as I can. While she's dealing with that I also keep another spoon/finger of pb ready so in case she tries to spit the pill out she eventually swallows it with the last of the pb.
posted by radioamy at 9:19 PM on May 6, 2011

pill pocket and follow *immediately* with tasty chaser. The point is to make sure the dog says "OMG MORE TREAT!" and inhales the chaser, thus ensuring no time to discover the pill in the pill pocket. Also, give it first thing before meals for the same reason :)
posted by canine epigram at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2011

My old lab looks forward to cold little bits of hot dog twice a day. Cut off pieces about as long as they are wide, stuff the pill into the squishy middle, let the dog smell your fingers so he or she knows what's coming. The pill is totally encapsulated in something soft that smells like meat. It will literally get "wolfed down" I hope.
posted by Itinakak at 7:59 AM on May 7, 2011

Response by poster: Already tried:
Cream cheese
Grinding and mixing it in anything, I guess because the taste is now throughout.
Being very careful about hiding the pill. Not getting any 'dust' or exposing any of it.

Have not tried:

>>Why is a pill popper or tossing it in the back of his mouth not an option?
He will bite.

I've now tried a sequence of 3 chunks of salami, with the middle one containing the pill.
This worked twice last night, twice this morning. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
posted by allelopath at 8:24 AM on May 7, 2011

Definitely go for the liverwurst if the salami doesn't work. I think it's so stinky it overwhelms the medicine smell.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:17 AM on May 7, 2011

I agree with the steak method as well. When I give my dog steak, she chews twice, then swallows it whole. No matter how big a chunk it is.
posted by Vaike at 11:17 AM on May 7, 2011

God, Tramadol. I think it is nasty and also makes their tongues numb. I have one dog who's a really suspicious eater, and she's so hard to drug even in the best cases (apparently delicious liquid children's allergy medicine has to be mixed with yogurt or ice cream). We had to give her and another dog Tramadol recently, and the other dog would gladly take it in peanut butter. But after one bad experience with nasty Tramadol-yogurt she stopped taking anything in yogurt, or peanut butter, or cheese or weenies or butter or begging and pleading. And she was hurt in such a way that we couldn't grab her by the head and get it over with.

What worked? Canned cat food. Friskies Mixed Grill (and other "pate" textured food) is apparently the bomb and will mask whatever is so horrible about crushed Tramadol. At first I put it in a feeding syringe (for puppies, from Petco) thinking I'd have to just fill her mouth with it and force her to swallow, but nope, she'd belly right up for me to squirt it in her mouth. That's kind of a slow process, and it turned out she'd eat it off a little plate as well.

Since that worked so well, I taught everyone that Magic Cat Food comes out of the syringe and occasionally get it back out so everyone gets an undrugged treat. The next time I have to give them something, they should all be well primed for it.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:46 PM on May 7, 2011

Ask your vet or your pharmacist for empty gel caps. Cut the pill up and put it in the gel cap. If it is the taste of the tramadol that is the problem, this should solve it.
posted by little miss s at 6:36 AM on May 8, 2011

Response by poster: Nope, he's figured it out. With a series of 3, he'll either refuse them outright, or chew on the 2nd one and spit out the pill.

>>put it in the gel cap
Won't work. He'll just chew through it.
posted by allelopath at 8:09 AM on May 8, 2011

You said you could not pill him manually because he bites. As a last ditch effort, if he absolutely needs the meds, buy a muzzle that is a little too big for him so that his mouth can open slightly. Then use the pill gun. You can back him into a corner, stand over his back while he is seated, hold up his head and put the pill gun through the front of the muzzle into his mouth. Hold his mouth closed for a minute to better the chances that he will actually swallow. Dribble a little water in his mouth to trigger him to swallow. He is going to fight it and he will not like you very much while you are having to give him his meds. He may even lash out later when you try to put the muzzle on him later. Be careful. Try this method at your own risk if your dog truly is a biter. The other option is to weigh his need for the tramadol with the trauma of trying to give it to him. Good luck.
posted by little miss s at 9:00 AM on May 8, 2011

Years ago, when I had my previous 90-lb Rottweiler, her nose was so keen that you couldn't sneak anything by her, she'd nibble around the pill but spit the pill out. I eventually found a video on YouTube that showed how to put the pill in the back of your dog's throat. The trick is to hold your dog's muzzle grasping it from the top, then curl her lips over her teeth so that she won't bite down, then put the pill in the back of her throat. Despite how strong and powerful she was, she pretty much succumbed to this trick. Now, I use the same trick on my present dog who is also stubborn about pills, except I put the pill in a Pill Pocket before placing it in the back of her throat, just to make it more palatable.

Here's a video I found on YouTube that shows how to do it. Here's another one.

Good luck!
posted by choochoo at 10:21 PM on May 9, 2011

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