How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine

This post may contain affiliate links. It doesn't cost you anything extra and it keeps our lights on, our families fed, and our dogs spoiled. For all the juicy fine print, see our affiliate disclosure

Both Sophie and Calvin take liquid medication every morning.

Years ago, when we were first instructed on giving a dog liquid medicine, the vet tech told us to open their mouth and squirt it in.

Needless to say, that technique was not well-liked by our dogs.

They did tolerate it, but they clearly hated it. So I started to research how to give a dog liquid medicine, looking for a friendlier way to do it.

I found that there are better, less intrusive methods, making medicine time in our house a lot easier.

Giving medicine to your dog can be very stressful for them, so the easier you can make it for your dog, the better it is for everyone.

And speaking from personal experience, these top three methods for giving your dog liquid medicine are game changers.

The Fastest Way to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine

If your dog won’t eat canned food or cannot have canned food, you may have to administer the medicine directly into their mouth.

  • Step 1: Measure the medicine out
  • Step 2: Grab the yummiest treats ever
  • Step 3: Ask your dog to sit in front of you
  • Step 4: Place your hand over the top of your dog’s mouth
  • Step 5: Using your thumb, gently pull your dog’s lips, exposing their teeth
  • Step 6: Place the syringe just behind the canine tooth[1]
  • Step 7: Depress the plunger slowly, allowing your dog to swallow the medicine; your dog should be breathing normally
  • Step 8: Give your dog a treat

If medicine leaks out, do not readminister. Your vet has prescribed an amount account for this happening.

Is Your Dog Driving You Nuts During the Day?

Indoor Activities for Dogs

Get Our List of 11 Awesome Indoor Activities to Keep Your Dog Busy and Out of Trouble!

The Easiest Way to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine

One of the best and easiest ways to give your dog liquid medicine is by hiding it in yummy, stinky canned food.

Dogs who are food motivated will often take medicine easily when hidden in food that disguises the taste.

  • Step 1: Place just a tablespoon or so of food in a bowl. Use the smallest amount of food possible to cover the taste and smell of the medicine; otherwise, you run the risk of your pup not finishing the food
  • Step 2: Add the prescribed amount of medicine to the bowl and mix well
  • Step 3: If you can roll it into a small ball or two and give it as a treat. If the dog food is too moist to form a treat, allow your dog to eat the food as normal

Giving your dog the medicine as if it were a treat helps make the food even more appealing because all dogs love treats and associate them with good things[2].

Second, by hand feeding the food, you know your dog is consuming the full amount.

Using fish-based canned foods can be horrible smelling to us but often hides the medicine’s bad taste.

The two canned foods I recommend are Natural Balance Duck and Potato, which has a robust smokey smell, and Fish and Sweet Potato. The Duck and Potato formula is easier to make into a ball.

Plus, both foods are made with limited ingredients, making them an excellent choice for dogs with allergies.

TIP: If your dog normally gets canned food, try and find one that is unique to make it more appetizing and exciting.

How to Make Liquid Medicine Into a Pill

If your dog is particularly resistant to taking liquid medication, you may want to ask your vet if it comes in a pill form.

Calvin was put on a liquid antibiotic, but since I know he does better with pills, I requested a capsule form.

The medicine cost a bit more, but a pet pharmacy was able to make it into a capsule form, which was easier to administer.

The other easier and more economical option is making your own capsule. You can purchase vegan or gelatin empty capsules for as little as $0.07.

They come in eight sizes, from 000 to 5, with 000 being the largest and 5 being the smallest.

How to fill a gel cap with liquid medicine:

  • Step 1: Measure out the liquid medicine in the syringe
  • Step 2: Open the gel cap, keeping hold of the larger half
  • Step 3: Slowly squirt the medicine into the gel cap
  • Step 4: Reattach the top of the capsule

The gelatin capsules are fine too, though they are made from bovine, which will not work with my dogs’ allergies[3].

Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks to using capsules:

  • They are tedious to fill, and most can not be prefilled, so it will have to become part of the daily routine.
  • They can take anywhere between 10-50 minutes to dissolve after administered.

Always check with your vet to make sure it is okay to use a capsule; some medicine is best given in the liquid form.

Also, the delayed release may cause an issue, especially when it comes to some pain medications.

How to give dog liquid medicine in pill capsule

Tips for Giving Your Dog Liquid Medicine

Regardless of what method you choose to use, there are few tips to keep in mind.

  • Make it a positive experience, give praise and treats (unless your dog has to take the medicine on an empty stomach)
  • If your dog likes peanut butter or spray cheese, put a dab on the end of the syringe so they can be licking that off while you give them their medicine
  • Don’t depress the plunger too fast; dogs can get startled when they feel the spray in their mouth
  • Patience! Remember, taking liquid medicine is not natural, nor do they know why it is happening
  • Never get frustrated or angry with your dog; you will only make it worse for the next time
  • Try different canned foods or mix tuna into the canned food to better mask the flavor


Hopefully, one of these three methods will work for you and your dog.

I always try and go with the easiest, least stressful way possible. It may not always be the quickest, but if I can make medicine time better for them, that’s all that matters.

If your dog will not eat canned food with medicine mixed in and you are still not comfortable giving your dog liquid medicine, call your vet and ask for help.

Any veterinarian or vet tech would be happy to demonstrate how to give a dog liquid medicine.


How Do You Give a Dog Bad-Tasting Liquid Medicine?

It is best to mix it into canned food or put it into a gel capsule and give it to them in pill form.

How Do You Give a Dog Syrup?

It is best to administer the liquid from the side of the mouth, just behind the canine tooth.


How to Give a Dog Liquid Medicine Easily at Home - Pinterest

Eliminate Bad Dog Breath Without Brushing

Fresh Breathies