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Your dog is being sick? Learn how to take care of your ill pet!

Pug wrapped up in a blanket advice
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When a dog is being sick, there are many different things you must do to take care of him properly. Learn how to properly do so

By Daniel Mar

There comes a time when your pet will be sick. Every dog owner should know when their dog is being sick. “Dogs will generally show some signs that things aren't completely perfect. Most commonly, they will either seek you out more than usual or hide more than usual”, said Dr Dani McVety.

There are many advantages in caring for a sick dog at home. Dogs feel more familiar and relaxed in places where they feel safe. Being in a hospital tends to make everyone more stressful and concerned. The same thing applies to pets.

What’s the first thing to do when your dog is being sick?


If you believe that your dog is behaving strangely and he/she is showing symptoms of a disease, the first thing to do is go to the vet. Once your pet has been diagnosed, it is your job as a dog parent to take proper care of your pet during recovery.

Once you bring your sick dog back from the hospital, get him a spot at home which is quiet, cosy and warm. When your dog is being sick, he will appreciate the comfort and cleanliness as he recovers. You need to change the blankets (or whatever you are using) frequently to prevent the accumulation of bacteria. Likewise, make sure that this spot is close to “his toilet”, sunlight and a source of fresh air.

Fortunately, dogs recover faster in their natural surroundings meaning home. Therefore, what do you do when your dog is being sick?

Feeding your sick dog

When a dog is being sick, he is going to need a special diet (or additional supplements) while recovering. It is important to consult your vet about the kind of food that he should be fed during this period.

However, when a dog is not feeling well, he tends to fast for a day or even two. Vomiting and fever can increase the number of fasting days. If this is the case, do not force your pet into eating. In fact, fasting is a natural way for a sick dog to expel the toxic materials in the body. Nevertheless, make sure that he has enough water to avoid dehydration.

If fasting continues and he is starting to lose weight and weakness takes over the entire body, you need to change the procedure. When this happens, you must tempt your dog into eating. Do this by offering him very tasty food! It needs to have a very strong aroma, so you can sprinkle some culinary herbs like fennel, ginger, dill and peppermint. You could also add some bone broth to increase the nutritional value of the meal. Make sure that the food is warm. The warmth will make the food smell stronger.

Observing the conditions of your sick dog

You need to monitor and keep a tab of your dog’s health conditions. This is helpful especially when you are trying to track his progress of recovery. This is also very important information for your vet! On a daily basis, you need to check:

  1. Body temperature
  2. Pulse
  3. Amount of food and water intake
  4. Times of medication given
  5. The frequency of urination and defecation
  6. Any obvious physical or mental changes

Administering the dog medication

When your dog is being sick, you must give him the medication prescribed by the vet to speed up the recovery time. However, giving medications to dogs has always been a hard task! As a dog parent, you need to be patient and approach your pet in a soft manner. You could try to pet him before giving him the medicine. If that doesn’t work, you can also trick him by hiding the medication inside food. Here you have some tips on how to administer different types of medication:

  • Liquid medication: use one hand to pull out the corner of your dog’s lower lip in a way that it resembles a pocket. Then, use the other hand to tilt your dog’s head back. Pour the liquid into it with the other hand. Use a needle-less syringe. Afterwards, hold your dog’s mouth almost closed. You can either massage his throat or blow on his nose to encourage swallowing.
  • Pills: use one hand and grab the upper jaw just behind the fangs. Use the other hand to hold the pill (with the thumb and first finger) and to hold the lower jaw (with the remaining of the fingers). Then, quickly insert the pill into the throat and induce swallowing as mentioned earlier. Also, “Hiding the pill in peanut butter, pill pouches, wet dog food, or even dissolving it in chicken broth [make sure the broth contains no onion and your vet says the pills are okay to dissolve] are some ideas to help make medication time a little easier”, said Dr McVety.

How to keep a sick dog clean?

This is another important part of the process. When a dog is being sick, he can be contaminated by diarrhoea, vomiting or any skin discharge. That is why you need to know how to keep him clean. Do not bathe your dog if he has a fever or if he is still too weak. Learn how to maintain clean the different body parts:

  1. Nose: Moisten a soft cloth with warm water and clean the nose to get rid of secretions that could have formed. If the nose is dry, apply vitamin E oil once you cleaned it. Repeat this process at least 2 times a day.
  2. Eyes: Prepared solution of salt water. Saturate a soft cloth with this solution and slowly wipe the eyes. If the eyes are irritated, put a drop of almond oil in each. If the eyes are dry, put a drop of cod liver.
  3. Anus: when a dog is being sick, he can frequently have diarrhoea. That is why his anus can get inflamed. In serious cases, the area can become infected by bacteria. To clean it, soak a soft cloth in warm water and sponge the anus and its surrounding area. Do not attempt to rub it. Also, apply calendula ointments three times a day.

It takes a lot of effort to take care of your sick pet. When a dog is being sick, you need to know how to take care of him until he recovers.