How to give a dog medicine, revisited

I thought I was an expert on how to give a dog a pill. In one of my posts below, I even gave confident advice about it.

And then something happened. 

My dogter got savvy. She knew all the tricks in the book. She decided to sift for pills, and she learned how to block them and spit them up -- even AFTER I had silently felt the triumph of giving one to her. At the age of 8 and three quarters, she has become an inviolable castle that no pill can penetrate. The only exception proved to be an antihistamine -- but that is the size of a short grain of rice. Most pills are considerably larger.

This pill-refusal was a problem for me, for two reasons. Firstly, trying to force a pill down a dog's throat (tilting the head with a treat and trying to plunge the pill in at the same time) is both unpleasant for everybody and pointless: if your dog is a Houdini of tablets, you will not succeed, but after some frothing from the bad taste, your dog will deposit the pill on the floor. Where -- according to your dog -- it belongs. Secondly, we humans are willing to take 'a spoonful of sugar' to 'make the medicine go down', and why should a dog not have the equivalent? Why should my dog not have the pain relief in amongst her meal? Of course I tried that, in pill form, and she wouldn't touch her meal at all. But then I found the solution.

Tramadol is a powerful drug. But eye ulcers are painful, and as long as one does not overdose, a dollop of Tramadol may be the answer to pain and the accompanying urge to rub -- which is not helpful for the healing of the ulcer. I didn't detect much discomfort in my girl, but she is not a complainer and I knew that this was not a picnic in the park for her. On the other hand, she rejected pills whenever she could detect them, which was nearly always. How was I going to help her? As I told the vet, I can squirt nearly anything ON her, but trying to put medicine IN her is an entirely different matter.

Fortunately Tramadol comes in liquid form. Just as essentially, it can be flavoured and thus properly disguised. I asked for chicken flavour. And today, squirting a trial amount on some chicken chunks, I found that the medicine went down. Not before my girl tested for pills, of course. She is as savvy as they come.

Update: So savvy that the liquid 'solution' of medicine-giving only worked ONCE. The next time I tried it, she refused to eat her dinner. Back to Square One. I gave her pills again but I didn't try to give them whole: I broke them in half. It seems so obvious. but when they are fairly small and you are anxious to get the medicine in, such simple expedients can be forgotten. I may have to get through quite a lot of treat to get one-and-a-half pills ingested as three doses, but so what? Anything, so long as it works!