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Is Your Dog's Nose to Blame for Them Not Wanting Their Medication?
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Is Your Dog's Nose to Blame for Them Not Wanting Their Medication?

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Have you ever had to give a pet medication? If not, get ready to play a masters game of chess with your best friend. It’s going to be a daunting match of man and trickery vs. dog and instinct. The win will not come easy and most likely your dog will score the first move.  

That’s because dogs have some 300 olfactory receptors in their noses and the part of their brain devoted to analyzing smells is 40x greater than ours. In other words, dogs can smell up to 100,000 times better than a human. Their sense of smell is so powerful they can detect the equivalent of a ½ teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool and police dogs can uncover narcotics buried in six feet of cement.  

So what does a dog’s nose have to do with taking these various drugs? Medications are made up of chemicals & herbals that tend to have a strong medicinal smell (that even people are sometimes adverse to). CBD's unique scent and flavor are derived from terpenes (aromatic compounds) found naturally in hemp plants. The mix of these terpenes and the hemp plant's chlorophyll gives CBD oil its pungent earthy bitterness. Is it any wonder that a dog’s super sniffer can detect this pungent aroma no matter how hard you try to mask it?  

So what can you do? There’s no tried and true method when it comes to giving pets medication. They have a distinct advantage. Since pets really do rely on their nose, the stinkier the treat or food does work.

To do what's best for them, sometimes you have to think outside the box and even go against some of your own principles. When our pup wasn’t eating due to severe nausea a few weeks ago, Burger King it was. Since we believe in raw feeding or grass-fed meats, why would we do this? Because our very insightful integrative vet said, “in this short period does it matter?" She needs to eat and since dogs rely on smell, the chargrill of the Burger King burger might work. She was right, it was the only thing she would eat for 2 days. Also, freshly cooked meats right from the stove tend to work better than once they are refrigerated. We did move onto grilling our own meat for the next few days after that for a healthier option.

All Kinds of Butter to Make the Meds Go Down

First, grass-fed butter can be used sparingly on occasion as it is high in fat and no two animals are alike in how much they can tolerate. You do not want to put your pet into acute pancreatitis. If using the old standby peanut butter, make sure it is free of hydrogenated oils, salt, and added sugar. Depending on where the peanuts are sourced, they also may contain high levels of aflatoxins. Buying from a company like Once Again is highly recommended, as they test their peanuts for mold levels. Aflatoxins can build up in your pet's system if given over long periods of time. We also do not recommend peanut butter for dogs that have problems with candida, a problem with yeast overgrowth or are allergy-sensitive.

Another butter that we love is sunflower seed butter. It is a nutty-tasting alternative but comes from a seed. It’s more nutrient-dense than peanut butter and considered to be a Superfood. It is a powerful source of phytosterols which are compounds similar to cholesterols. They help control inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sunflower seed butter contains more fiber and less saturated fat than peanut butter. Check out our CBD infused Sunflower Seed Butter here.


If your pet is going to be on a long term medication regime and you want to go all out, you can customize a medication by what’s called compounding. It involves changing the taste, color, or form of the medication so it’s easier to take. Compound pharmacists can custom-flavor a medication to fit the tastes and preferences of any kind of animal. There are beef/cheese/chicken/liver flavors for dogs; alfalfa/cherry/apple/carrot/molasses for horses and fish for cats. Even birds, rodents, and reptiles have flavor preferences that can be met by a compounding pharmacist. Some animals require alternate medication forms such as pastes, custards, or traditional biscuits/treats. Veterinary compounding can take the struggle out of medicating your pet.   

Did you know?

  • You can use particular smells to help keep your dogs out of certain areas, stop them from pestering, or ruining personal belongings: jalapeno peppers, ground chili pepper, citrus fruits like lemons or oranges, alcohol, and vinegar. These items are not to be ingested – just held near their noses.
  • An estimated 80% of the world’s population employs herbs as primary medicines. In fact, in part of Europe, pharmacies dispense herbs prescribed by physicians.
  • Plants are the original source materials for as many as 40% of the pharmaceuticals in use in the United States today. That is, either the drugs currently contain plant-derived materials or synthesized materials from agents originally derived from plants.