OBJECTIVE To investigate the sedative effects in dogs of tiletamine-zolazepam-acepromazine (TZA) or ketamine-flunitrazepam (KF) administered orally and to evaluate the effectiveness of encapsulated TZA for capturing free-roaming dogs. STUDY DESIGN Experimental study followed by a field trial. ANIMALS Six research dogs and 27 free-roaming dogs. METHODS In a pilot study, six research dogs were administered liquid TZA (20 mg kg-1 tiletamine-zolazepam and 2 mg kg-1 acepromazine) or liquid KF (50 mg kg-1 ketamine and 2 mg kg-1 flunitrazepam) orally: treatment 1, forcefully squirting liquid medication into the mouth; treatment 2, encapsulating liquid medication for administration in canned food; treatment 3, administering liquid medication mixed with gravy. Sedation was scored. A follow-up field trial attempted capture of 27 free-roaming dogs. RESULTS In the pilot study, the median time (range) to lateral recumbency (% dogs) after TZA administration was: treatment 1, 47.5 (35-80) minutes (67%); treatment 2, 30 (15-65) minutes (83%); and treatment 3, 75 (45-110) minutes (100%). No dogs in KF treatment 2 or 3 achieved lateral recumbency. Based on these results, 20 free-roaming dogs were offered encapsulated TZA in canned food: TZ (20 mg kg-1) and acepromazine (2 mg kg-1). Of these, no further drugs to four dogs (one dog captured), 10 dogs were administered a second dose within 30 minutes (five dogs captured) and six dogs were administered TZ (5 mg kg-1) and xylazine (1.1-2.2 mg kg-1) intramuscularly by blow dart (six dogs captured). Seven dogs were initially offered twice the TZA dose (five dogs captured). In total, 63% free-roaming dogs were captured after administration of encapsulated TZA in canned food. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Oral administration of encapsulated TZA in canned dog food can aid in the capture of free-roaming dogs, but additional drugs may be required. The sedation onset time and medication palatability influenced the capture rate.