Tips and Tricks to Make Caring for a Sick Dog Easier
When your furry friend is sick, it can be tough to know what to do since your friend can’t tell you what’s wrong. Even when we do our best to make sure our pets are happy and well, there are times when they may be ill, and so we want to care for them in the most effective way possible. The more we can do ourselves, the fewer trips we’ll need to take to the vet, which saves you time, money, and potential added stress for your pet.
Here are some tips for you to care for your buddy until he or she is back up on all four paws again.
Know the signs of sickness
The more you know, the more prepared you will be. Here are some symptoms to be aware of so that you will know when to make that trip to the vet and when you may be able to give some extra special care at home.
Be on the lookout for:
- Any significant loss or reduction in appetite
- Less energy than before
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting
- Crying or whining more than usual
- Lots of scratching or licking themselves
- Any unpleasant odors coming from their skin, mouth, or ears
- Hiding behaviors
If any of these symptoms get worse, call your vet straight away.
If you have an older dog, there are common conditions to watch out for in older pets. If you know what to watch for, you’ll be able to contact your vet faster, which could make all the difference.
Make sure your dog stays hydrated
A dog will often lose fluids if they are ill because of a loss of appetite, diarrhea, fever, or vomiting. Dehydration can impact your pet’s bodily functions, so providing plenty of fluids is essential while they are ill to help the body heal.
Water is the first obvious choice, but often water might not be sufficient when a dog is sick. Your dog needs electrolytes, too, so you may want to offer some beef or chicken broth (a clear bouillon) or an electrolyte supplement made for dogs.
Keep your dog comfortable
As with humans, when dogs are ill, they may not want to move very much. Offer a nice and comfy spot for your dog to lie down. If your dog’s favorite place is on your bed, you might want to consider a dog ramp to help your friend access it with less effort.
You may want to check with your vet about whether your dog should take time out from exercise. They may not be able to jump and play as they usually would. If your dog needs extra rest, you will need to ensure that they are calm.
Pay attention to the ambient temperature, offering a warm or cool spot depending on what your dog needs. You can take your dog for a short walk if he or she is up to it, but don’t force it. Fresh air is important, but keep walks short so that they don’t get too tired and possibly make things worse. Check with your vet before taking your dog out for walks.
If your dog has had to have surgery with anesthesia, he or she may take a while to recover. In the meantime, you’ll want not only to let them rest but keep an eye on their balance. Help your dog walk if needed, and make sure their resting place is quiet and free from distractions.
Give extra love and cuddles
Dogs thrive on love and affection due to their very nature, and they appreciate our love and support even more when they are sick. Your affection and cuddles can calm your dog and help him or her feel safe.
If at all possible, try to be at home with your dog as much as possible. You can treat these days as a special bonding time with your friend, and you’ll also be better equipped to record your pet’s habits and behaviors.
If you have to visit the vet, keeping a record of your dog’s habits and behavior when they are ill can help immensely. The more information your vet has, the easier it will be to make an accurate diagnosis if it comes to it.
If your pet is on medication, keep track of the doses and any reactions or side effects.
Record your dog’s eating habits and toilet habits so that your vet can know how well your dog’s body is functioning.
Sick dogs often have upset stomachs, so make sure your dog doesn’t eat too fast. You may have to separate their food into smaller portions while they are ill.