Useful Tips: Compounding at Home - DIY Medication Capsules

Some dogs accept medications well, some are quite finicky and some, like Jasmine was, couldn't be fooled. She accepted a pill hidden in food once. Found it in there and that was it forever. She could tell whether the food was manipulated or not. If she really wanted the food, shed eat around the pill and spit it out. Or she'd just spit out the whole thing. Jasmine had to have all her pills shoved down her throat ... it was the only way.

One of the important differences is whether a dog chews their treats. 

If they don't, it's easy to hide the pill in anything enticing enough. Unfortunately for us, Jasmine did and Cookie does too. I can only hide her pills in stuffs that I know she won't chew and there are not many of those. Basically we are limited to bone paste, or cream cheese.

Some medications are made in chewable form, so they could be given as a treat. 

JD takes those happily, to Cookie they're not attractive enough and also have to be wrapped in food.

Pill pockets type of delivery is great if your dog just needs one or two pills a day and, again, doesn't chew them. Cookie, with all her herbs and supplements gets over 15 pills, gels and capsules a day. Which means that the pill pockets would have to replace her meals.

Jasmine actually used to like her integrative herbs mixed with her meals.

Cookie does not. I started by just introducing literally a pinch into a small portion of her food. She turned her nose on it and refused the rest of the food as well even though it was not tainted.

"What did you do to my food? It's contaminated!"

The herbs we used to give Jasmine just came as a powder. Cookies come as a powder too. She refused even just a pinch, how would we ever get her to accept the whole dose, which was substantial?

That's when I first got the idea.

Some medications come in capsules, such as Gabapentin Jasmine was on. When we were weaning her off it, we had to reduce the dose to less than a content of the capsule. What do you know, if you do it carefully enough, these things come apart quite well.

My initial thought was to try and get some blank capsules and put Cookie's hers in that. When we talked to our pharmacist, though, he said that it is cheaper to buy something benign such as gelatin capsules instead, and just empty them and replace the content with whatever we need Cookie to take.

And it works quite well.

In the meantime we got Cookie's herbs already in capsules, however I've been using these for some other things that come in powder and she's not keen on.

But you don't have to use the capsules just for powder medications.

Some medications, such as Tramadol, Zytran, and as it seems even Cookie's Trazodone taste quite awful. When Jasmine got a taste of Tramadol or Zytran she was very unhappy, foaming like crazy and trying to get the horrible taste out of her mouth. Now imagine that is she did spit it out hubby still had to go ahead and put it right back in.

Cookie too found the Trazodone in her cheese roll and was less than impressed. As it turns out, many of these things fit right into the capsule too. The capsule itself doesn't have any taste on its own and hides the nasty content really well.

So if you have some pills that are nasty tasting, or powder your dog won't eat, make your own medication capsules.

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  1. Delilah will take just about anything. Sampson's we have to hide. I usually take a bit of his raw and make little balls around the pill. BUT there are times when he does bite into it and I find the pill on the floor. Those are challenging times.

    Have you ever done a post where you shared what supplements/meds you have Cookie on and why? Since we are both working with similar issues, I'd be curious as to what you are giving her.

    1. Yeah, JD will chow down about anything too. I guess it's a guy thing LOL

      I tried raw but doesn't wrap very well and yes, the meds are found in it. That's why I have to use things I know she won't chew. Plus putting the nasty pill into the capsule really helps in case she did find it.

      Ah, I think I might have included what she's on under some other topic but I could probably make it a post in itself.

      Just quickly for now, she is on DOK's formula (TCVM herbs), fish oil, of course, wheat germ oil (vitamin E), evening primrose oil (non-inflammatory omega-6), Standard Process Ligaplex II and Standard Process Cataplex C and B complex.

  2. Our 3 yr. old Labrador is a master at detecting pills! If she sees you even take a pill bottle off the counter, she is downstairs....under the bed! Pill pockets.. not a chance! What we do is..

    Make her a small salad (she loves salads). We use a salad mix with lots of different stuff in it. Sprinkle on some sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or fresh diced pears/apples/strawberries or whatever fruit you have and some croutons. THEN, at the bottom of the plate there sits her pill.. broken into a half dozen pieces each covered with a dab of bleu cheese dressing. We also drizzle the dressing on the salad. By the time she gets to the bottom of the dish she just gobbles up the pills. I'm sure the bleu cheese flavor, being quite strong, hides the taste/smell of the pills. Works without fail!

    She has the same salad we do, every day at supper time. Has since she was a baby... and she only likes bleu cheese dressing. (we make our own)

    We discovered this with our first Lab. When we were traveling and would stop at MickeyDees my wife would get a salad. she would be in the back seat with our dog and she'd hand feed her pieces of the salad. She liked the more crunchy parts, more than the leafy parts. THen we started giving her the same salad we eat at supper and she liked it as well. Our second Lab loves them as well.

    1. Wow, quite an elaborate effort! As long as it works :-) Lucky you don't need to give any of the foul-tasting ones like some of the pain pills, I'm sure those wouldn't just "get lost" in there.

  3. By the way.. we are hiding her Dasuquin pills in the salad. They are big 1000 mg monsters. Great for arthritis though. Its what my vet recommends as a joint supplement.

    1. Ah, yes, Dasuquin would work. It's actually a chewable, so the taste should be fine. JD just eats it as is. For Cookie I do have the cover it with the cream cheese or bone mixture.


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