Rob Phillips: Pill-popping pups? Meds have become the norm for many dogs – Yakima Herald-Republic

Dog feeding time at the Phillips household has become a bit of an event. Not only do we feed our two Labs two different kinds of foods, at present, we are attempting to get a plethora of pills into the mix.

My old Lab, Tessa, takes a half of a tiny little pill for chronic arthritis in her back legs. Just getting the miniature pill cut in half takes the skills of a surgeon. I am grateful to our veterinarian who prescribed the new pills a while back, because I can get them at the pharmacy at about 70% less cost than the bigger, Rimadyl pills I had been giving her.

Those little half-pills are just the start. I also give Tessa two doggie-strength glucosamine/chondroitin pills. To help all the medicine go down, I plop a half-can of canned dog food on her kibble, hiding the pills in the sloppy stew.

It works pretty well, because Tessa likes to eat and is not terribly discerning.

Then about three months ago, after hearing a radio commercial from one of the local health food stores about their availability of CBD oil for dogs, and what it can do to help them, I decided to look into it further.

According to the internet, and you know if it is on the internet it has to be true, there are some advantages to giving dogs CBD oil. All of it is anecdotal, of course, but there seems to be enough positive results reported by dog owners out there who have tried it with their pets.

One website says that while there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s some evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures. And CBD can be used as an anti-inflammatory. Some people also use it with their dogs for its cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.

Tessa is going on 12-years-old and has been hobbled with arthritis for years. So, when I read some of the information about it, I thought what could it hurt? I ran and bought a small bottle of CBD oil and began giving it to her on a biscuit morning and night.

Now, I’m not going to say the drops cured poor Tessie of her arthritis, but I’ll be darned if it didn’t perk her up. She started running more, and better, and she definitely has a new spring in her step. It was noticeable almost overnight. The CBD oil has been the only new addition to her diet and medications.

After telling a hunting buddy about what we saw with Tessie and the CBD oil, he started using it with his 10-year-old Lab. She would be extremely sore and have trouble walking after a few hours of hunting, but after my buddy started giving her the CBD, she bounces right back and is ready to hunt without any noticeable soreness.

I’m not ready to start giving the CBD oil to my younger Lab. Only 4-years-old Bailey is in good physical shape but recently she’s had some other issues.

I’ve had a bunch of dogs in my life, but never have I had a dog that had allergies. Evidently, Bailey does.

All of a sudden she just started scratching and scratching. So much so I decided she needed to be seen by the vet. Turns out she had a rash in several places on her undercarriage indicating she was allergic to something.

I had noticed her belly would be red at times when we got home from hunting, but just figured the rash was from running through the crazy mixture of noxious weeds that grow in the Valley. Nope, it is an allergy, which needed a special shot and two weeks’ worth of two kinds of antibiotics.

Getting those two pills, plus the half-pill Bailey needs for a small incontinence issue, down a dog that eats sporadically and with great casualness creates even more of a challenge each evening.

The five minutes it used to take to get the dogs fed now can approach upwards of a half hour as I try to work through all the pill bottles, getting the right medication in the right dog dishes with the right food, and in Bailey’s case, having the medication carefully tucked away in a hot dog or piece of meat so she might take the pill of her own free will.

It doesn’t always work, because sometimes she just decides she is not hungry and won’t eat a thing, including a fat chunk of pill-infused hot dog. Other times she somehow chews her way around the pill, leaving just it as nice and new as when it came out of the bottle, sitting next to her dish.

The antibiotics are about to run out, but even then, the night time feeding ritual won’t be as simple as just throwing some food in the dog dishes. All the other pills and supplements are a lifetime program.

I guess, when you think about it, given the chance to make our dog’s lives better, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rob Phillips is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer who has written the Northwest Sportsman column for over 25 years. He can be reached at



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