California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc

Pill Taking

Getting Your Pig to Take Pills

by Eric Bratcher

Oh, man. Getting a pig to take a pill they don't want to take is an exercise in creativity and will power.

At the moment, I just grind all Bacon's meds in a mortar and pestle, stir the resulting powder into a couple spoonfuls of canned pumpkin, and then stir the glop into his food. However, that doesn't work as well with the really nasty stuff. He spent some time on Cephalaxin capsules, which he absolutely hated. And I understand why. It was so bitter my fingers would taste terrible after just touching the capsules. Ugh.

The thing that finally worked for me was something I call Druggie-cots. Recipe below.  

1. Go to the store and get two things. First, a bag of dried apricots--get the big, meaty, expensive ones because they're easier to work with. And second, a jar of fairly healthy peanut butter. I use Jif Natural, but that's because it's what I eat. Anything with a minimum of added sodium should work. But do go with peanut butter and not almond butter or any fancier, milder-tasting nut butter. You want that sugary, peanut-y flavor. 

2. Now it's time to do a bit of delicate surgery on the apricots. Count out one apricot per pill you want to give. Then, take a slender, sharp-pointed knife like a steak knife or paring knife and make a slit maybe as wide as your thumb along the edge of each apricot. Then carefully make the slit deeper, so the apricot ends up like a tiny purse. Note: Don't make the cut any wider than you have to, though, and definitely don't just filet the apricot in half. You're going to hide the pill in there, and if the hole is too big, the pill can squirt out when the pig bites it.

3. Fill the purse with peanut butter. Get your pill (just one per apricot) and shove it ALL THE WAY into the middle of the peanut butter (I use the tip of the knife to push it in without getting my fingers too gooey). Then add another dab of peanut butter to seal it in. The idea is to give them enough peanut butter so that when they hit the pill, it helps deaden the taste, sticks to the medicine, AND is so sticky they have to keep eating it anyhow. 

4. Give it to the pig, preferably along with his/her regular meal. Obviously, these are a bit labor-intensive to make. And it might take you a few tries to get the hang of making them. But I had about a 90-95% success rate once I got the craftsmanship down, and considering the pills he was taking and the other methods I'd tried, I was overjoyed.

Good luck!

Cats look down on you...Dogs look up to you...

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