I medicate alot of clients' dogs.
I tried compounding my OWN dog's meds at a pharmacy into a liquid but sometimes the taste is so awful they foam it out inadvertently.Even IF you add flavors like beef, bubble gum, etc. I tried it myself and I had the same reaction! Foam and numb mouth for an hour. This dog had a bleeding ulcer, gi infection, acid reflux, and megaesophagus so he was certainly not typical and had a regimen that had to span hours.
Anyway, I have a few tricks. With megaesophagus you have to find any way possible to get fluids, food, meds down. Example: One clever one we use is making chicken broth gelatin cubes. Then "throw" them down the throat while in an upright position shoulders level/perpendicular with neck. (these dogs can't swallow). But for "normal" meds once or twice a day there are easier ways. (and nothing here works for sucralfate so nobody do these things with that med - no food or gelatin you will create a blockage as barndog
knows!) And yes dogs can seem like they're on their last legs and you freak out then they can h
ave a miracle recovery.
Anyway, The newest one I do with a 15 year old 11lb dog on enalapril actually, and proin 2x day...is I found she loved chicken/turkey. Her diet is Hills ID. Turkey based. I tried with a piece of lunchmeat and it was great.
The former sitter pilled her when she started rejecting her pills in Hills ID meatballs. That is not my preference, I always try and engage the dog into moving FORWARD, wanting to participate in the meds. Not force it. The owner lives in an assisted living facility with mild dementia. I also have the challenge of stopping the owner from overfeeding Milkbones or contraband like NUTS and crap. But even the dog is sick of them by now LOL.
Of course sometimes you HAVE TO force it, pilling them. Period. The way to do that is not surprise them and PATIENCE sitting a long time and showing them what you're doing. And try and find a positive reward like massage or even a piece of food "chaser".
Here's my routine for this dog, I stopped pilling her the 3rd day i had her when I decided to try chicken and it worked:
I poach chicken breast strips (tenders) at home in the microwave and save the poaching liquid and make small ice cubes like 1/4 of a normal cube to be used later in her food/on her plate. I include the tiny shreds of bits of chicken on the bottom of the pan in the poaching liquid for the ice cubes. (I microwave, actually for like 5 minutes on half power to cook).
I freeze the pill size pieces of chicken. Large enough to be an envelope for the pill.
Before serving her two meals a day, I defrost the chicken and make my own "pill pockets" out of chicken. Be careful you don't nuke it HOT and burn the dog! Only thaw temp. I use a drop or two of Easy Cheese or Cream Cheese as the "glue" to hold the pill inside and "seal the envelope". At first I used alot and cut back. I've also tried turkey meatballs (tiny) but they can crumble of they're too firm so you need more "glue".
Some people get away with just Easy Cheese or other things but not this dog. I don't use Liverwurst, or beefs or chicken liver (yet) because the higher protein or fat foods can cause a gi upset or acid reflux in some dogs so I save these things for more tough times.
The more bland the food the better. Even if I made an oatmeat ball but all dogs will come for meat, usually.
(Sometimes I walk her outside first to get her in gear, eliminate and sniffing - also my version of "working" for food haha)
NO FOOD unless she does pills first. Not a problem she's not a chow hound (except NOW, ok, she is LOL)
I prepare all three pill pockets of chicken at once to be ready to give one immediately after the other. (sometimes there's a third for Rymadyl or Flagyl).
I have her walk TO ME about one foot away...to take a piece of chicken. Plain tiny shred of chicken. (actually I only did this in the beginning now I don't have to even offer plain chicken...just sayin.) She has limited vision and it does not impair her and I want her to WANT the chicken, not sit there and not "work" for it.
I will NOT put her on my lap or coax her. I say her name if anything. I want her to use her brain and get excited not be "weak" and "catered to" even though she is catered to LOLOL. I want her to make the choice and decision to get that chicken and it becomes something SHE's doing not something being done TO her. A challenge.
I offer one pill pocket and she wolfs it down. WHILE she is taking the 1st pill pocket I hold the 2nd one right in front of her as incentive to not detect or care about the pill in the 1st. Then I give the second with the 3rd pill pocket right in front of her face, or just another shred of chicken. I mean SHRED not PIECE. Like the size of a hairpin or your pinky nail. TINY. Then I give that.
Now we're finished pills and she can eat. I have the chicken smell still on my hands and the countertop with the food I've gotten out. To be honest, she's expecting and praying for more chicken but no, I have a trick for that too. AND now her appetite is stimulated.
THEN, I have already thawed an piece of "chicken water ice cube" and put it on the plate smeared around like a sauce then add the Hills ID. I don't mix it I want her to smell it on its own. I may or may not put a couple of chicken shreds on it.
She knows exactly what I'm doing, her nose can detect cancer she certainly can detect a pill. But she has been EXCITED and doing this for a solid month now 2x a day 7 days a week. She comes FLYING to me and sits in a strong attentive pose and won't move till she gets her meds in pill pockets. I can even LEAVE THE ROOM and she is still sitting under the sink where I left the food in progress waiting patiently LOL.
I discovered the love of chicken and the chicken water incentive to eat the Hills because I PLACED the chicken pill pocket on her plate for 5 seconds before giving the pill. THEN, when I put the food plate down with the Hills ID on it...she focused STRICTLY on the tiny spot where the chicken was. It was so CUTE. So I was like Ah HA!
Now I spread the poaching liquid on the plate of food and she eats happily where she was down 3 lbs before.
This will likely change and I'll have to come up with something else. But as long as she is moving FORWARD to sniff grass, then sniff food then take it I will keep finding new things to hide pills in.
BTW TWINKIES work, too. The cream in the center holds the pill in there.