Getting your dog to take a pill can be a frustrating process. Just when you think you’ve gotten the pill into your dog’s mouth, they spit it out onto the floor. You know you need to find a way to get your dog to take their pill. But what should you do after several failed attempts?
A dog pill shooter may be the tool you’re looking for to finally find success. Pill shooters look more like a syringe than a gun. They have a tube and a plunger that work together to place your dog’s pill at the base of their throat, where it can be more easily swallowed.
To help you shop for a dog pill shooter, we’ve found the five best products and included helpful reviews and quick-reference pros and cons lists. Also, check out our buyer’s guide for more useful information on choosing the best pill shooter for your dog.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Vet Worthy |
|Four Paws||Transparent Plastic||4.20/5|
The 5 Best Dog Pill Shooters – Reviews 2020
1. Mikki Pill Gun – Best Overall
Our recommendation for the best overall dog pill shooter goes to Mikki pill gun. Many dogs have successfully eaten their pills with this product.
The Mikki pill gun drops the pill where you want it. The plunger works with a smooth motion to quickly dispense the pill. This dog pill gun holds all sizes of pills securely, even smaller one. The soft rubber end that holds the pill won’t accidentally injure your dog’s throat.
The long slender structure of this pill shooter allows you to get the pill to the back of your dog’s mouth while keeping your hands away from their teeth. Its thin, clear appearance shouldn’t spook your dog and should work well on all sizes of dogs.
Dog owners with smaller hands may not like its length. We also found quality control issues.
2. Vet Worthy Pet Pill Gun – Best Value
For the best dog pill shooter for the money, you may want to consider the Vet Worthy pet pill gun. Not only does it have the best value, but we also learned of multiple instances in which this product helped frustrated dog owners get their dogs to ingest their pill.
Made from durable plastic, this dog pill shooter is a lightweight device designed to fit comfortably in your hand. The plunger easily dispenses pills and tablets at the base of your dog’s throat. It has the capability to dispense multiple pills at once, though very small pills may fall out.
This dog pill shooter is ideal for small dogs. Also, be aware of how gently you place it in your dog’s mouth. The end may have rough edges, which could cause irritation or injury.
We selected the Kruuse Buster pet pill shooter as our premium choice due to its design that’s comfortable to hold and effective to implement. We discovered many dog owners who were satisfied with the effectiveness of this product.
This dog pill shooter may cost more, but you’ll get many helpful features, including finger rings to better secure your grip. The transparent barrel allows you to see the green plunger moving so you can better determine when the pill is dispensed. This device can dispense liquids as well.
The piston and rubber plunger work effortlessly to place the pill in its correct spot in your dog’s mouth. The soft, classic tip prevents damage to your dog’s mouth as you work to dispense the pill.
However, be aware that the silicone piece holding the pill can fall off and become ingested by your dog. Also, this product may be intended for a single use.
4. Four Paws Pet Pill Dispenser
With a clear plastic construction, you can ensure that your dog is getting the proper dosage and fully ingesting their pill with the Four Paws pet pill dispenser. For your piece of mind, Four Paws claims that veterinarians have designed and recommended this product. We found many examples of it working quickly and easily to dispense medication.
The classic plunger and shaft design of this dog pill shooter fits well and comfortably in most dog owners’ hands. The length is just right for maximizing the amount of control you have when properly placing the pill into the back of your dog’s mouth.
Keep in mind that small pills may fall out of the dispenser tip. Also, the diameter of this device may be too wide for toy dog breeds.
5. Jorgensen Pill Gun
The rubber tip on the end of the Jorgensen pill gun ensures that your dog’s mouth is protected from injury. This dog pill shooter works by placing even the smallest of pills into the rubber-tipped dispenser end.
However, we placed this dog pill shooter last on our list due to inconsistencies with the quality of the rubber tip. We discovered several Jorgensen pill guns that were delivered with an inflexible tip, which slowed and impeded dispensing the pill. Also, the tip may hold larger pills too snugly, causing them to become lodged and not released.
This device is narrow in diameter and an average length. It’s an ideal size for most small to large dogs. The plunger operates fairly smoothly. However, the grip on this dog pill shooter is narrow and may be difficult to operate if you have larger hands.
After reading through our reviews, you may have questions about dog pill shooters and their effectiveness. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll go over several important factors to consider when deciding on the right dog pill shooter for your dog’s needs, as well as tips for proper usage.
How Do Dog Pill Shooters Work?
A dog pill shooter is a simple device that takes on a big job. To operate, you place the pill into the tip at one end, slide the plastic tube into your dog’s mouth, take aim at the back of their throat, and “shoot” the pill out. Hopefully, the far back placement of the pill gives your dog no other option than to swallow it. Success!
This process mimics the “by hand” method for giving your dog a pill, with one important exception. Instead of shoving your hand into your dog’s opened mouth, this plastic device is inserted. If you prefer to keep your hand out of your dog’s mouth for whichever valid reason, a dog pill shooter solves that dilemma.
Parts of a Dog Pill Shooter
Resembling a syringe, there are three basic parts of a dog pill shooter. The tube or shaft is usually clear and has a long enough length to reach the back of your dog’s mouth at the base of their throat. Incorporated along the side of the tube should be a grip or a finger hold. At the far end of the tube is a soft tip that’s designed to hold the pill. Finally, a plunger fits inside the tube, which you depress to “shoot” or force out the pill from the tip.
Two Ways to Operate a Dog Pill Shooter
There are two different methods for inserting the pill. Most dog pill shooters require you to place the pill — or in some cases, multiple pills — into the soft plastic or rubber tip. However, certain ones require you to remove the plunger, drop the pill or pills into the empty tube, and then replace the plunger. Either method is effective, though placing the pill at the tip is a bit easier.
Tips for Pill-Dispensing Success
Before you give your new dog pill shooter a try for the first time, make sure to take a few precautions.
Tip #1 — Reduce Anxiety
First, your dog may already be on high alert about taking their pill. Boldly approaching your dog with a long, plastic device isn’t exactly going to ease their anxieties. You’ll need to prepare the pill shooter out of your dog’s curious gaze to ensure that your dog doesn’t run and hide. You may want to do a few practice “shots” to make sure you’re ready for when it counts.
Tip #2 — Assume the Correct Position
Unlike giving your dog a treat that you can toss in their direction or hold out in front of them, you’ll need to assume a different position behind your dog. Remember to keep the pill shooter out of sight until you’re ready. From behind your sitting dog, pet your dog’s chest and neck for reassurance. From this position, you may want to offer your dog a treat to get your dog in their most cooperative mood.
Tip #3 — Be Quick
When you’re ready to administer the pill, similar to the “by hand” method, you’ll need to grasp your dog’s snout and open their mouth. Quickly insert the pill shooter, depress the plunger, remove the pill shooter, and close your dog’s mouth. Gently stroke your dog’s neck downward to encourage swallowing.
Tip #4 — Reward Your Dog
After successfully ingesting the pill, be sure to reward your dog with a treat and plenty of praise. You’ll want this process to be as positive as possible so your dog will be more willing to take their pill in the future.
What to Consider Before You Buy a Dog Pill Shooter
Before you make a purchase, you’ll need to consider a few factors related to your dog and the pill you need to give them.
The size of both your dog and the pill is perhaps the most essential issue. You’ll need to research the length and the diameter of the pill shooter’s tube in relation to the size of your dog’s mouth.
The size of the pill, particularly if it’s very small or large, can affect how well the pill shooter works. Some tips hold smaller pills well, while others fail, causing the pill to fall out early. If you plan to administer multiple pills at once, you’ll need the size of the tip to be able to accommodate all of them.
Since you’re inserting hard plastic into your dog’s mouth, it’s important to check both the tip and the tube for rough edges, which may cause unnecessary irritation or injury. If the tip is a separate piece, make sure it securely stays in place as you dispense the pill. You don’t want to shoot the tip down your dog’s throat as well.
We ranked the Mikki Pill Gun as our top pick for being best overall dog pill shooter. The plunger on this device dispenses smoothly and quickly. This dog pill shooter effectively holds all sizes of pill and works with a variety of dogs. The dispenser has a soft rubber tip to avoid injury to your dog’s mouth and throat. This tool’s long length protects your hands from accidental bites. This product’s thin, clear appearance reduces the possibility that your dog will have an adverse reaction toward the pill shooter.
The Vet Worthy 0003-3 Pet Pill Gun earned our second spot for being the best value. Ideal for small dogs, this dog pill shooter performs well for most dog owners. This device’s durable plastic construction is lightweight and comfortable. The plunger easily dispenses the pill and can dispense multiple pills at one time.
Our selection for our premium choice goes to the Kruuse KR273093-1 Buster Pet Pill Shooter. With a thoughtful design, this dog pill shooter has finger rings for an improved grip, a soft tip to prevent injury, and a transparent barrel to ensure proper dosage. We found multiple incidences of how well this product effectively dispenses pills. It’s even able to dispense liquids.
We hope that you’ve discovered a device that will make giving your dog a pill a much quicker, easier, and far less frustrating experience. With the right dog pill shooter, you’ll be able to administer your dog’s medication in pill form with ease. We hope that our informative reviews, handy pros and cons lists, and useful buyer’s guide have helped you find a pill shooter for your dog’s needs.
Featured Image: Pet Pill Dispenser/Lxjys, Amazon
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 5 Best Dog Pill Shooters – Reviews 2020
- Buyer’s Guide
- How Do Dog Pill Shooters Work?
- Parts of a Dog Pill Shooter
- Two Ways to Operate a Dog Pill Shooter
- Tips for Pill-Dispensing Success
- What to Consider Before You Buy a Dog Pill Shooter