Administering Oral Medication

Long-term Home Medication for Cats (PDF)


  1. hide the medication in a Pill Pocket, piece of cheese, small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese or liverwurst, canned food, or other food your dog likes (do not touch the outside of the treat with the hand that holds the medication). The amount of food should be large enough to completely enclose the medication, but small enough that the dog does not have to chew it.
  2. have another piece of the same treat without a pill ready
  3. THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL BUT CAN BE HELPFUL: ask the dog for a behavior (sit, down, shake a paw, whatever your pet knows – this can give the treat “value” to the dog and make the dog more likely to eat it)
  4. offer the dog the treat containing the medication, but show the dog that you have the second treat (the one without the medication) ready as well. Most dogs will be so focused on getting the second treat, that they will not think about the medicated treat they are eating.
  5. feed the dog the empty treat as soon as they have swallowed the treat containing the medication


  1. hide the medication in a Pill Pocket or small amount of canned food, liverwurst or other food the cat likes. Alternately, if you have to direct-pill the cat (if the cat won’t eat the treat or if the medication is too large to hide successfully in a treat), coat the pill/capsule with butter.
  2. (OPTIONAL) fill an oral syringe with water
  3. (OPTIONAL) if your cat is likely to resent or resist being pilled, make a “kitty burrito” by wrapping the cat in a towel with just her head poking out. You can also place the cat on a kitchen stool or other small surface which can help minimize movement
  4. hold the pill between the thumb and third finger of your dominant hand (the hand you write with)
  5. place your non-dominant hand over the cat’s head and gently hold the cat’s upper jaw (about where the whiskers start)
  6. use your index finger on your dominant hand to gently pry the cat’s mouth open by pressing down on her bottom front teeth
  7. pop the butter-coated pill into her mouth, make sure you get it over the “hump” in the tongue
  8. close the cat’s mouth gently, it can be beneficial to squirt some water into the mouth with an oral syringe
  9. if pilling your cat is difficult or stressful (for either of you!), many medications can be compounded into liquids or flavored chews by compounding pharmacies, please ask us about this option (especially if your cat is on long-term medication).