Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Make Homemade Pill Pockets for Pets

I found out today that Fuji has Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) which is very sad.  It is in super basic terms, bulging discs that are causing loss of function in his hind limbs.  It's the kind in older dogs, so it is slow and didn't happen all of a sudden.  It can lead to paralysis.  It is, sort of, like what I have in my neck.  Unfortunately, there's no physical therapy for dogs like what Dr. Turner does with my neck, since dogs can't locate where the pain is and let you know.  However, we're hopeful that some medication will help him get back to somewhat normal.



That brings me to the topic of this blog post.  As you know, Fuji loves peanut butter and is the Peanut Butter Eating Champion of San Antonio.

Peanut Butter Licking Dog
Peanut Butter Champion of San Antonio in Action
He does not like taking pills and after 10 years is well experienced in how to avoid taking them.  I wanted to make some homemade pill pockets that were easier and cleaner than putting the pills in peanut butter, since I always seem to get it on my hands.

Store bought pill pockets = $$$$

I looked around online and found a few recipes with complicated ingredients and found lots of unhelpful suggestions on what to hide the pills in.  But I wanted something fast and not messy.  Then I found this great, short and sweet recipe.  I'll post it as an image here in case you want to share or pin to pinterest:

How to Make Homemade Pill Pockets Recipe

They work great!  Fuji doesn't even chew them, just swallows them whole.  Apparently they smell really good because the vultures (ie dogs) came out when I started making them. 

You can also make them in larger quantity using the 1:1:2 parts.  For example, this amount makes about 30 pockets:
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Flour
Helpful Hints
  • In my experience, dogs prefer whole wheat flour to all-purpose, but they'll eat anything with pb.
  • If your dog is allergic to wheat, you can use any kind of other flour you want.  
  • I like the chunky pb because then your dog won't be able to easily detect the pill forms hiding in the pocket.  Although, with Fuji, not a problem since he didn't chew it.  
  • If your dog is allergic to dairy, you can probably use water.
  • Store in the fridge a week or two, or in the freezer for longer.

Very simple ingredients that you'll already have at home.  Stores beautifully. No mess.  My favorite - Cheap

I give the homemade pill pockets 5 buttons up!
5 buttons up



59 comments:

R. H. in Coweta, OK said...

These were great! Thank you for this recipe! Greenies has gone to an all-natural formula that includes cultured milk, but my husband is allergic to milk. The allergy formula without milk is hard to find. I tried this last night using water instead of milk and creamy peanut butter and my dog gobbled up his pills! Using just peanut butter, sometimes he would spit out the pill, so this seems to be working better for us.

MuttNut said...

Thanks for letting me know the water substitution works. I find just peanut butter is messy, and yes, they do sometimes spit out the pills with it. I'm so glad they work well for you and your dog!

Theresa Thompson said...

I made these yesterday and it works great.
I had to substituted gluten-free flour and it came out perfectly.
This recipe, even using expensive gluten-free flour, cost me about $4 for 60 pockets. I pay almost $9 for 30 regular pockets and have to use plain peanut butter for the wheat intolerant dog when he needs meds.
Thanks so much for this awesome recipe.

MuttNut said...

I'm so glad to hear than an alternative flour works just as well. They ARE soooo much cheaper!

Anonymous said...

Our epileptic dog take 33 pills a day; half of them are large capsules. Since these are spread throughout 4 dosing times in a day, we are able to combine multiple pills into a pocket, but it is still at least a dozen per day. I just tried these and my dog loves them. I happened to have a small amount of Trader Joe's Buckwheat Pancake Mix that I used instead of plain flour (added a little extra, too). At this rate we will be saving approx. $50 per month on medicine pockets. Since a spit out pill means a reduced dose, which can then lead to cluster seizures, I thank you for a homemade recipe that will help to ensure her pills are completely encased in "people food" thereby increasing our success.

Diane in Northern Calif.

MuttNut said...

It makes me so happy to know that my post helped you! That's fantastic that you can save that much money!

barrie said...

How are you forming them into the pocket shape? Roll them into a ball and stuff a pencil eraser end into the ball?

MuttNut said...

To form them, it really doesn't matter. However you can do it to get the pills hidden. btw, they don't actually look like that picture ;)

michelle said...

This recipe is FANTASTIC. My dogs been through three knee surgeries and we've tried everything to get her to take her medication. Just recently though, she's started to catch on to the pills in her food and won't even touch meat! We even tried the Greenies Pill Pockets, but she'd spit them out. I was a little iffy to try this because she's not the biggest fan of peanut butter, but she loves them. Thank you so much for sharing.

MuttNut said...

I'm so glad your dog likes them! I know that tramadol (for pain) is SUPER bitter, and one taste of it and dogs will be wary of whatever they associate that taste with, even meat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for the pill pockets recipe - really, need I say more! On another note, do you have any relief salves for hotspots?

MuttNut said...

You're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome! I do not have any hot spot solutions, and since I'm not a DVM, I couldn't give it to you anyhow. I just know keeping it clean and trying not to let them lick them will help them to not get infected, which is difficult to do. I hope you find a solution!

Anonymous said...

I've been using a similar recipe with my miniature dogs - just mix SMOOTH peanut butter with dry milk or non-dairy cream until its no longer sticky. I cover & refrigerate the whole mess, pulling out a small dab to surround the pill whenever its time... Even those HUGE fish oil capsules are scarfed down whole if coated (my guys turn up their noses if I prick to give in liquid form).

811f7d96-ff55-11e0-a8a4-000bcdcb2996 said...

I'm a single male who never cooks, but lately I've been buying either steak or fish and throwing them on the grill. I bought some milk recently for some reason (I never buy it), and I have peanut butter because my 2 beagles, Sam & Sophie love it. Sam was acting strangely this past Saturday morning, and he wouldn't climb stairs or do anything that required him to put weight on his hind legs. Took him to the vet, and he has a disk that is giving him pain. Sophie is much heavier, and I suspect she hurt him unintentionally by jumping on his back. So anyway, I did a Google search for pill pockets, because I decided a long time ago to boycott Greenies because their products are way overpriced. I found this, went next door and borrowed flour, and just made a batch. Sam has to take 3 different pills for 2 weeks, and this is genius. He just swallows them whole, so creamy peanut butter did the trick. Thank you! Frankie in Charlotte.

MuttNut said...

I'll have to include in my directions that they're so easy even a man who doesn't cook can make them :). So glad they can help you. I'm also sorry to hear about your pup's back problems. When I did canine rehab, half of my patients had back problems. I'm glad that it's not more serious like paralysis. I did have a few beagle patients. Follow your vet's instructions, and keep Sam's weight at a healthy level. That will help to not put extra pressure on the spine. I know beagles love to eat! If you're looking for a low cal treat try green beans or carrots. They usually like one or the other. During the summer, you can try mixed frozen veggies as a cool off treat. Hmm, maybe this should be a post all on its own :).

Martina Weysham said...

I have a beagle bulldog mix with congenital joint problems and possible hip dysplasia, and she requires glucosamine pills daily. While she will eat them without the pockets, she loves some peanut butter. We don't usually have milk in the house but I substituted soy milk in its place and it worked great! Thank you for the recipe. BTW, she has been to the vet and she is not in any pain but she can't run or jump. She stumbles when she runs.

MuttNut said...

@Martina Weysham, I hope you read my blog post on Toe Grips. The can really help if your girl is slip sliding on the floor!

Lisa Fleischer said...

Thank you, thank you!! My husky was diagnosed with heart disease and now has three pills twice a day. She is the WORST at eating things she doesn't like. And the pill pockets are so costly!

Tried this today and worked like a charm! She ate them right up!! Sharing with all my friends!!

Emily B said...

@ Anonymous with the hot spots. I have heard a ton of treatments for these but have only found one that really works. I clean the spot by pouring Hydrogen Peroxide all over the area- don't rub, and then blot dry. After that, I smear on triple antibiotic ointment. Most important, I cover the spot with a product called NeoPredef - an antibiotic powder. The powder seals the damp from the ointment. You have to get this powder from the Vet. It's not expensive. Many Vets will go for the "wet" treatments but with this method it has the antibiotic plus the powder to dry out the weepy hot spot. Hopefully, your Vet will listen to you when you ask to try this method. Good luck!

kallie3000 said...

I was totally going to try to make my own recipe, so I'm really excited that this is already tried and tested! I didn't think about freezing them - I'm going to make a big batch!

Also, I just wanted to say that I'm really proud of everyone in the comments who takes SUCH good care of their pets. Hugs to you all.

Anonymous said...

Much easier to just stick the pill in a small piece of a hotdog!

MuttNut said...

Yes, while hot dogs are easy, they're not really good for your dog to eat every day. Some dogs have to take pills multiple times a day for long periods of time. Hot dogs are also more expensive. These pockets are not harmful if eaten frequently and they are super cheap to make. Once made, they're very easy to use, but to each his own.

MG said...

Try some Vetricyn VF for the hotspots.

http://www.probioticsmart.com/pets/vetericyn-vf-wound-and-infection-treatment.html

Thanks for the recipe. I'll be trying it today. My dog cannot have any dairy while on doxy, so I think I'll try apple juice for the liquid.

Dan ORT said...

I haven been buying the Greenie Pill Pockets for awhile now. With the addition of a new puppy and while both dogs are currently taking medications for kennel cough I was going through the pill pockets like crazy. I made these this afternoon and the dogs love them for a fraction of the cost. Thanks for the recipe!!!!!

MuttNut said...

I hope y'all don't make Greenies go out of business ;)

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you!!! I am up at 1 am with a dog who has severe allergies, and anxiety. He re-started the steroid/antihistamine yesterday, but has worked himself into a frenzy licking and chewing. I was going to add water instead of milk in case dairy is a trigger, but instead I cut open two fish oil capsules and put them in. Personally, I think they smell terrible, but my dogs give them 2 paws up! (the other dog had to have one, just because. They were begging for them like treats!) Sorry so long... this got his medicine in no problem, plus fish oil, and it will save a ton of money! (maybe not as much as if I use water...)
I will also ask about the hot spot powder next time we go to the vet.

MuttNut said...

So happy to hear that my recipe is working for you. My dogs look forward to their daily fish oil pills. They're just all around good for them. According to another one of my readers, the water works fine as well. Have you tried a thunder shirt for the anxiety? Even though it's not thundering, it can be comforting, like swaddling. Good luck!

Christabel Castro said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! My poor Labrador has allergies and need to take meds everyday. The Pill Pockets are costly but we still buy them to prevent him from "cheeking" his pills.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe. Since it's best for dogs to avoid gluten and the casein in dairy, I used almond milk and rice flour with organic smooth peanut butter. They're dynamite human taste-tested! Thanks so much!

Judi Huddleston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I just made these pill pockets and first formed them into balls then used the end of a small wooden spoon and made small pockets into them, will use them like the original pockets and put the pills in them close the end.

Anonymous said...

Just curious ... is that amount of raw flour okay for dogs? My dog needs medication twice a day. Does anyone know? Thanks!

ikstuart said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe! I just got home from spending $8.99 on Greenie Pill Pockets at Petsmart. I'm so irritated by how fast the price has risen on these that I came home to see if there was a recipe and found your blog. I've saved your recipe for future use.
Thanks again!
Iris

Priscilla Price said...

My pet dog and one of my suggies just recently got out of an illness, and I had a hard time giving them medicine and feeding them in general. Dogs are quite choosy of their food especially when they're not feeling well. And while suggies eat everything, it's the exact opposite when they are sick. I had to use a dropper to feed them and it took a lot of effort, but I guess it paid off because they were well again after a few days of meds bought from the vet and some TLC. This post of yours gave me an excelent idea on how to face any future problem when it comes to giving medicine to sick pets. But I do hope they never get sick again. I hope you and Fuji are in good health this year. More power to your blog!

Priscilla Price @ thepetglider.com

ladyasker30@gmail.com said...

hi becky i just made them for my 3 dogs and they love them well i give pills to my 2 old dogs and they like them thank you for showing me this

K said...

My Dobi has really bad arthritis in his left hip and is on pain meds. I had great difficulty making him take the pills. Yesterday I've prepared the above recipe and added a little bit of bacon grease. OMG, he absolutely loves it. Thanks so much for such wonderful idea.

Sophie H said...

Hi. How long can you store the pill pockets for? (How long do they last?). And how do you store them? (Do they need to be refridgerated?)

MuttNut said...

Sophie H, I could swear I put in the directions how to store them. So sorry. I've updated the directions with storage info. The fridge will work for a week or two, but the freezer will make them last a long time.

Melody Hintergardt said...

Thank you so much for doing what I've been wanting to do for some time. I do think Greenies is a good product, however, they have raised their prices so quickly & high, it makes it sort of a hardship for owners who have multiple ill pets especially when we find a copy so inexpensive & satisfactory. Thank you from the bottom of my heart & my three doxies.

MuttNut said...

You're welcome! And you're right, you're going to need cheap pill pockets for 3 doxies. They're notorious for back problems. 1 in 5 have it. I hope all yours are ok, though!

Anonymous said...

Those store pill pockets are ridiculously high priced and this is a blessing for those that have dogs that like peanut butter, unfortunately my dog doesn't care for it.

I'm going to do a search for something else, but if you or a reader have an alternate recipe, that would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for figuring out an inexpensive alternative to Pill Pockets. My dog Petey is on a maintenance dog of a mild chemotherapy in pill form which is costly enough without adding in the expense of store-bought pill pockets.
I was a little concerned about using raw white flour and whole mik for my dog and game up with these alternatives:
I substituted Carnation nonfat dry milk for most of the liquid whole milk. I also substituted Gerber's baby multi-grain cereal for the white flour. It still has a smooth texture and isn't "raw" plus the baby cereal has lots of vitamins. I still had to add a little liquid milk the form a smooth enough dough to work with.
I made enough pill pockets for a month. I shaped the pockets using the end of a chopstick, shaping the mixture around the end to form a capsule-shaped pouch. I put each pill pocket in several ice cube trays so they'll hold the shape and into the freezer they went. Petey and my 2 other dogs, Max and Roxy, taste tested and gave them 4 paws up (or rather 12 paws up)!

MuttNut said...

I am glad that everyone is able to customize this recipe to meet their dogs' dietary needs.

Linda N. said...

We rescue senior dogs, which mean lots of pills. All of our dogs started spitting out their Tramadol, which is really bitter, even when encased in pill pockets. This recipe is not only saving my sanity getting the dogs their meds, but a ton of $ too! All three woofed down their pills and didn't even know it tonight. Thank you!

MuttNut said...

Tramadol is really bitter. I'm glad the pockets are working for you. Be careful not to let the pills dissolve a little in the pocket or the dogs will associate the pockets with the bitter taste :P.

Kimilee Steinmiller RN said...

Thanks so much for the recipe. My poor service dog, River, has terrible allergies. The Greenies have stuff in them she is allergic to, but I still have been using them. It was the only way to get her to take her allergy meds!

I set her meds up in a planner box for the week when I set mine up. I'm a little leery of using the milk, because they will sit in the box all week. Think I will try the powdered milk variation.

Here I've been shelling out all this money every week for Greenies the last 4 years. It's also a 5 alarm emergency when we run out. Costco stopped carrying them.

Just the other day I thought SOMEONE must have a recipe online for these. All but yours were really complicated and called for weird stuff. Who has time to go to a health food store to get ingredients for dog food?

Thank you again in advance. When I actually make them, I will post a "review".

MuttNut said...

I did try to leave the pill pockets unrefrigerated, and they get moldy. I think it would be that way regardless of using milk or not. You could always put the whole pill box in the fridge!

Kimilee Steinmiller RN said...

I have to keep her medbox with mine, or I forget to give them. I made a huge batch in my stand mixer with the dough hook. I figured out 1/2 tablespoon of dough is a little more than each large pill pocket. My version of the recipe makes enough for 4 months. I put the big recipe in two week big balls, and stuck them in the deep freeze. I balled up the 1/2 tablespoon balls for the next 30 says, just like a bag of pockets would be. She eats it no problem. In fact, my 17 year old kept eating the dough! He wanted me to bake them into cookies! So far so good on keeping them at room temp in the pillbox.

My version:
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups dry milk
2 cups of vegetable oil

Put all ingredients in mixer with dough hook until it looks combined. Work dough into balls about 1/2 tablespoon.

Anonymous said...

SUCH a great trick!! Thank you so so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I've been using your recipe for over a year and it saves me so much money! Lord knows after yet another infection which results in a very big vet bill it's nice to save money on the pill pockets. :-)

My dog actually looks forward to her medicine and I like knowing what is going into her little body. Love this!

-Honey's Mom

Loves Sophie said...

PERFECTION!

SAVES MONEY and I can give a small "treat", (sans pill,) to the other two interested pups!

Thanks also to those who gave ideas about freezing. I'm making a 2-cup batch at a time but if they freeze okay... nice!

MagnoliaSouth said...

Just a FYI for your readers. I saw someone above say something about pancake mix.

It's important for people to know that baking powder is toxic to dogs in large amounts. The amount in pancake mix is probably okay, except that like dough, it will expand a bit and can cause a blockage in the intestines.

For this reason, plain flour and not any self-rising or mixes would be best.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your recipe! Sorry to hear about your old dog. Have you though about laser therapy or acupuncture? One good turn deserves another.

MuttNut said...

Fuji is no longer with us :(. I do know about laser therapy and acupuncture. I am actually certified in canine physical rehabilitation. I did do some rehab with Fuji when he was alive.

Someone you may know said...

Becky,

Thank you SO much!! I have 2 very spoiled Basset Hounds. I tried ever1wything over the years to get them to swallow medication. I no longer have any problem getting them to take pills is no longer a problem. The "Caspaw Cwew" says Thank You for sharing this with everyone.

Kirk Pittman said...

Thank you very much! My dog went from needing the occasional bag of 30, to 1 bag of 30 per month, to 1 bag of 60 per week. You recipe is saving me nearly $100 per month.

MuttNut said...

It's saving so many people money, I hope that Greenies doesn't come after me! :)

Kimilee Steinmiller RN said...

Well, here is what I discovered. No matter which of these recipes I use, they are ok to set up in a pill box for the week. They DO NOT store well at room temperature in larger amounts. (Moldy grossness ensues.)

I make a big batch at a time. I separate them into 1/2 cup balls. I leave one ball in the fridge, and freeze the rest. I pull the one in the fridge out an hour or so before I ball them up. This system has been working well.

Kimilee Steinmiller RN said...

So sorry for your loss by the way. I had to go on antidepressants over the loss of our Rusty. Wish doggies lived longer lives. They are the sweetest creatures.

 
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