My dog needs to have mini pills hidden in treats twice a day for life. We know pill pockets exist, but would like to use something with less calories if still possible. (And she does not like pill pockets much.)
In the past we first used Natural Balance Mini rewards chicken flavor. But unfortunately about a year ago every bag that showed up they were rock hard and no longer soft enough to squish a pill into. They would crack apart, crumble up and would not hold pill inside.
Then we found Nutro Moist and Chewy Bites. These things were AMAZING! They literally felt like soft play doh and you could mold them around anything. They just got discontinued!!
I know many treats are listed as soft and chewy, but most of them will literally break and start crumbling apart if you try to shove a pill in them. I have given up asking advice from shops online and buying stuff that does not work. And I medically can get out of the house, so I can actually feel them for myself from the outside of the bag in a store.
Does anyone know of a HEALTHY, small dog treat that is as soft as what I am describing? Moist, malable (moldable) and will not crumble and break on me? Other than the Nutro Moist and Chewy that just discontinued?
I would be forever grateful for any helpful info! Thank you for your time!
- This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Sandy B.
Healthy? Not so much, but my dog has I.B.D. and is on an elimination diet right now. He too needed pills twice a day and my Vet told me to use marshmallows as they do not contain possibly offending proteins. They are very soft and you could either get the mini ones or cut the regular ones into pieces. They hide the pills great, are very inexpensive and my dog loves them. The small amount of sugar and calories in a bit of marshmallow is not a big price to pay to get your dog to enjoy taking pills.
I had not heard of using a marsh mallow before. Love it!
No need of using any food item to give a dog a pill. Have the vet tech show you the next time you visit your vet. It’s a simple technique. All you have to do is ask, that’s what is nice about having a regular vet.
PS: Dogs are not stupid, sometimes they chuck up the pill 20 minutes later when you are not watching.
The vet recommended it.
Even the friendliest, most easygoing dog can put up a fight when it’s time to take a pill. But it’s your job to make sure she takes the medicine she needs. The good news: You can employ a few tricks—and offer some treats—to get the job done. Read on for a step-by-step guide.
If you know your dog doesn’t like swallowing pills, you can ask your veterinarian if the medicine comes in a chewable “treat” form or if it can be compounded, or changed into a liquid to make it easier to administer. But these options aren’t always available. If the medication must be given in pill or capsule form, you may need to experiment with different methods before finding one that works for you and your pet.
When your veterinarian prescribes a medication, it’s important that you use only that medication, and that you treat your dog for the full length of time prescribed, even if your pet seems to have overcome the health problem. If you have any questions about how to administer the medicine, you can ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to do it.
The easiest way to get your dog to take a pill or capsule is to hide it in a treat or in her food. But dogs are smart, and if they don’t like the taste or texture of the medicine, many will eat the treat or food and leave the pill behind. Another problem with this method: If you hide the pill in food, it may be hard to tell whether your dog has taken the pill on time—or at all—if she grazes throughout the day. To work around this, you can buy dog treats designed to hide pills. But before you give your dog medicine with her food, ask your veterinarian if it’s OK, since some medicines can’t be given with treats or food. You should also find out if there are any restrictions on what your dog can eat while taking the medicine.
If you want to give your dog the pill without hiding it in food, try the following technique, which many people find to be more reliable:
For a small dog, put one hand on top of your dog’s head, holding firmly—but not too tightly—so that the tips of your thumb and middle finger touch the corners of the mouth. For a large dog, put your hand on top of your dog’s nose and hold the upper jaw.
Tilt the head back.
Hold the pill between the first finger and thumb of your other hand. Use the tips of the other fingers of this hand to push down on your dog’s lower jaw to open her mouth. Be careful to place your finger on the short teeth at the very front of the mouth, not on the longer (canine) teeth at the corners.
If you have a large dog, you may be able to fold the upper lip over her teeth as you open the mouth, a trick that may keep your dog from closing her mouth.
Drop or quickly place the pill as far back in your dog’s throat as you can. Don’t push the pill down.
Hold your dog’s mouth closed and stroke her throat or blow on her nose to encourage swallowing.
Give your dog a reward, like a veterinarian-approved treat, for being a good patient.
When using this technique, be aware of your dog’s mood. If she gets agitated and seems likely to bite, stop and try again later or contact your veterinarian.
Restraining Your Dog
It’s often a good idea to have another person keep your dog still while you administer the medicine. But you can do it alone if there’s no one to assist you.
If you have a small dog, you can start by placing your dog in your lap. Put one arm—the one you will use to hold the head—over your pet’s shoulders, and use your upper arm and elbow to help keep her still, without using excessive force.
If your dog won’t stay in your lap, or is too big, you can use the same method while seated on the floor, either holding the front of your dog’s body partially against your body or on your lap. If you have a large dog, you can stand behind her and have her sit back against your legs. Sometimes it helps to back your dog into a corner.
If your dog struggles, talk to her calmly and stop what you’re doing if she becomes extremely agitated. Contact your veterinarian if you have questions or difficulty administering any medication.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
Putting meds in a soft treat is what works best for our particular dog. We have already been through the methods of getting a pill at the back of the throat and all of that taught by the vet. Truth is, it is no 100% effective when a dog is extremely anxious, and I am simply not willing to have to struggle with her because she knows what is happening to her, watch her get anxious every single day when it can be avoided. I’ve seen her gag, spit it out waste medication and everything else, so no that “vet” method is not something we will do again. This has to be done for the rest of her life, not for a week. Thank you to the person who gave an idea for the marshmallow, I will look into it but would still like ideas for a really soft and chewy treat.
I think the Pill Buddy brand is lower in calorie than the Greenies pill pockets. There is also a pill masking paste that may be lower in calorie since you can only use as much as needed.
Maybe look at the Freshpet refrigerated food. There’s a variety that’s tiny pieces and those are very soft
How about hiding the pill in a small bite of broiled chicken liver, just mush it in the middle.
I have never seen a dog refuse cooked chicken liver. Plus it is cheap
and you can freeze it in small batches.
PS: Or hide it in a bite of canned tuna? A bite of boiled chopped chicken meat? There are all kinds of options to try, rather than processed treats.
Hello Sandy B:
I like the marshmallow suggestion too! UC Davis lists marshmallows on a weight management treat list, never thought to use one to hide a pill. 😉
Freshpet is a good idea too.
A few months ago I tried Wal-Mart’s Pure Balance dog food roll. I was looking for something to use as a treat I could cut into various sizes. It has a consistency similar to Play-Doh, just a little firmer, that could easily be molded around a pill.
Last month I needed something to wrap pills in for my cat, I was going to give the roll a try for him, but they were out of stock. Not sure if it’s a new or discontinued item, but it’s still on their site just listed as “out of stock.” I hope they stock them again because it was perfect for what I needed it for.
Since this is long term for you another idea would be to try baking some pate’ style canned food into a consistency that could be molded. That’s if you are into experimental baking of course.
I think marshmallows are a terrible Idea. I can only assume that the vet ran out of options to offer this client.
It’s better than forgoing giving medicine to a dog…and the vet didn’t say to give the dog a whole bag of marshmallows
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-marshmallows/ (excerpt below)
Marshmallows are one of those treats that can be hard to resist — and it’s nearly impossible to eat just one. But, can dogs eat marshmallows? The answer is no. Though not all marshmallows are toxic to dogs, they certainly aren’t good for your canine companion. Made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, vanilla extract, and coated with either cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar, marshmallows contain very little, if any, nutritional value or health benefits.
Dr. Carly Fox, a staff doctor at New York City’s Animal Medical Center, says if the marshmallow has xylitol (an artificial sugar) as an ingredient, it is absolutely toxic to your dog and can be extremely harmful, even if ingested in small quantities. “Xylitol can cause dangerously low blood sugar, leading to seizures and even death if the dog is not treated properly,” says Dr. Fox. “It has also been shown to be toxic to the liver, even days after ingestion.”
Let’s agree to disagree.
Xylitol is dangerous for any dog, not sure how this veered so far off topic.
I prefer UC Davis over the author of “Can Dogs Eat Marshmallows?” Alexandra Anastasio:
I’ve used to use feline Lean Treats by Butler when training as they held together well and I could make really tiny treats out of them. The canine version would fall apart easily.That is the only commercial treat I can think of off hand.
Currently I use cream cheese to medicate my cat. Spray cheese in a can is another option. I’ve used that for training purposes as it isn’t as messy as cream cheese. I tried it for my cat but he wouldn’t eat it.
Options my vet gave me are cream cheese, spray cheese, marshmallows, mashed potatoes with meat based baby food mixed in for flavoring, and liverwurst ( some have onion check with your vet)
Off topic? We were discussing the option of marshmallows as being used as a pill pocket for dogs.
From what I understand, some marshmallows contain the ingredient xylitol (toxic to dogs)
According to the moderator, thousands of people read these posts every day.
Do you think that all of them take the time to check the ingredients on the package? See my point…
Thanks for your input.
You’re talking about marshmallows, Anon. The poster asked about soft treats to use as pill pockets.
I’ve used banana for small pills with perhaps a dab of PB on it before. I can’t be trusted with a can of spray cheese! LOL! Yum! 🙂
How about a tiny glob of butter, the soft kind? I just gave my dog a pill coated in Smart Balance. She swallowed it immediately 🙂 No drama.
I guess it depends on the dog. I usually use the vet approved method of just popping it down the throat and then rubbing the throat area till you feel the dog swallow, takes a second once you learn how to do it. If you coat the pill with butter it will go down quicker.
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