Let’s Discuss: Picky eaters

A certain blonde creature that we all know and love, who definitely has opinions, also seems to be a discerning food critic. Treats go out of popularity quite quickly these days, and getting meds into him? Fuggedaboutit.

Now, I haven’t exactly run the gambit of coaxing (or tricking) him into eating his meds (right now a basic anti-histamine for clearing up his nose). The first day he actually accepted his now-weird tasting food with aplomb. But since day 2 he’s been leaving about half his breakfast (which was wet and mixed up to “hide” the medicine) behind. Not good for a pony that I’ve been working hard to fatten up these last couple months.


Last night I tested the apple sauce idea, just to see if he’d eat it mixed with grain (no meds yet). And that too got a weak nope from Jack.

Riveting material here

Short of mixing his meds with a little water and squirting it down his throat, what can I do? I would like my horse to still like me when it’s all said and done. But it’s important for him to get his meds as well.

What tricks do you guys have for masking medicine? Any tips for hiding icky flavors? Or treats that won’t turn noses?

15 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Picky eaters

  1. My favorite special needs horse will refuse all grain if it has been contaminated. The trick with him was finding a soft treat he enjoyed enough to hide everything in. The one time he was on Doxy for 3 months that meant I literally hid the powder in 7 treats per dose and they had to be hand fed (no suspicious items allowed in bucket!).
    Stampede’s favorite is nickerdoodles for this. If they are a bit hard (ie you get an older batch, lol) just microwave for a few seconds. For powder you can then either make a hole which you then squish back around to cover or cut off the top, make a hole, and then put the lid back on. I think the second is easier with powder but both work fine. Definitely much easier with pills since you can squish them in.
    That said anymore for things like antibiotics I just add applesauce and syringe it in but my horse is at home and I had a great BO who was willing to do morning meds like that for me when I boarded.
    I feel your pain basically, lol.

  2. Welcome to my life. If I ever come up with a solution, I’ll let you know. But, mix bad tasting stuff with apple sauce and squirt down throat is the best solution. Granted, I have the pickiest eater known to man and we barely eat as it is and just decide that one feed is no longer acceptable (going on 12 years of this) so I’ve given up on supplements in feed as it makes eating even harder. Good luck???

    I discovered this weekend that manna pro’s senior horse treats are completely inedible. They are NEVER to be offered EVER. So, yeah. 20 minutes of gross faces.

  3. Unfortunately no good tricks of the trade to share but I can commiserate! My horse was only on 1 prascend pill/day and I couldn’t put it in his grain as he tended to drop some from his bucket so I tried everything possible (homemade treats, hollowed out carrots, fig newtons, in a handful of grain from my hand, etc etc ETC!) He would either refuse the treat entirely (contamination!) or find the pill EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. and spit it out. He really was quite skilled. A syringe was the only solution. I did mix meds with applesauce vs. water so he didn’t completely hate me. Good Luck!

  4. Copper can be the same way…though oddly ate his Lyme meds like candy but noped out of the pro biotics that were like treats that he was supposed to take afterwards. Horses… Honestly, I’d just do the syringe/apple sauce or syrup thing and leave his food alone if you’re worried about his weight. None of us like to take meds, he’ll just have to grow up haha

  5. I probably won’t be any help, either since Amber eats EVERYTHING (even slurps up 15 tabs of SMZs in only 8 oz of grain crazy horse) but I did have to give a lot of meds to a lot of horses that would never eat them in grain. Some just sincerely dislike it and never will like my mom’s horse. Most others though would actually start nickering for me when I came with my syringe full of meds because I legit just doused it in molasses and then would praise them and feed them treats afterwards. They loved it. Amber actually likes it when syringes appear as well because she remembers when I’d shoot it down her throat with a whole ton of molasses lol.

  6. If I want Eli to have meds, I have to mix them up into a paste and syringe them into his mouth. Or find something that can be given IM/IV. He has recently protested his Purina Senior that never has anything on it because he refuses supplements in powder and pellet form but I guess got bored with the taste? Discovered he likes the barn’s current grain option, which he seems to be finishing. This is great because it will save me money, but I am having the vet check his teeth, maybe do blood work, x-ray his head for funsies … When he needed to be on antibiotics for a while some time ago, everyone gave up trying to give them to him orally and I paid for an injectable/IM antibiotic that he had to have 2 or 3 of, I think. My dog is also this picky and I think this is karma for me being a very picky eater a child.

  7. I have a recipe for pill-hider treats on my blog. I use them sometimes though not often as now since Levi will eat a handful of benadryl from my hand like grain. An apple isn’t food to his mind and he’ll refuse most things that aren’t carrots, but medicine he’ll eat. Anyway, back to the treats. They worked pretty well for Nilla as she would refuse to eat her food if meds were in it. I went through a lot of them when she was getting treated for the suspensory tear. She’s a nightmare to syringe or I would go that method. Levi allows syringes so if I have to do bute and don’t have treats, I do a syringe with applesauce and meds mixed.

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