In 2019 and 2020, over 63.4 million U.S. households owned at least one dog, a clear indication of how popular these pets are. Owning a dog is a large undertaking that includes several responsibilities, including taking care of them when they fall ill. If you’re just getting started in your dog-ownership journey, here are eight tips for caring for your sick dog.
Find Them a Perfect Diet
The first step to helping your pup get better is to make sure they have a good diet. Many considerations go into choosing the best diet for your furry friend. Depending on the dog’s breed, size and origin, you’ll want to feed them a diet specific to their needs to help them recover faster without complications.
For instance, when taking care of a big dog, natural dog food can be a great way to help them recover. Dogs that are used to eating kibble might not have the best digestive system when they’re sick, so transitioning them to a diet of all-natural food can help their stomach heal faster and avoid further problems.
If your pup is having trouble keeping anything down, you may want to try feeding them chicken broth as a simple way of introducing food into their system. However, keep in mind that not every dog will have the same response to this method, and you’ll want to discuss it with your vet first before trying anything new.
Maintain Regular Grooming Routines
When dogs are sick, you may find that you need to help them with specific grooming tasks such as brushing their fur or checking for ticks and other parasites.
If your dog is typically challenging to get groomed regularly, it’s probably best not to overwhelm them unless they’re in a dire situation. You can always schedule some extra grooming sessions when your dog feels better.
Ensure They Have Healthy Exercise and Rest
Dogs generally require plenty of exercise to stay fit and healthy, but you may want to take it easy during their illness. Try to take your dog on a short walk or play with them in the yard without overdoing it. If you’re unsure of what exercises to engage your dog in, you can always talk to a pet specialist to help you choose the right ones.
Quality Health Care
Dogs fall sick more often than we expect, which can be worrying, especially if you’re a first-time pet owner. The most common types of sicknesses in dogs include arthritis, sore skin, watery eyes, and ear problems.
Your veterinarian will likely prescribe medication that you can administer at home if the dog’s condition is less serious. Still, sometimes you might be forced to leave the dog under the doctor’s care for closer analysis.
No matter the situation, you must ensure your dog receives quality care. If you’re taking the dog home with you, it’s important to adhere to their medication schedule and dosage and ensure there’s someone to administer their medication if you’re not available to do so.
Keep Them Hydrated
Dogs need plenty of fresh water just like humans do, especially when they’re not feeling well. Make sure your pup always has a bowl of clean water to drink, and if they’re not drinking enough on their own, you can try giving them ice cubes or broth to sip on. Ensure the drinking water is clean and is changed regularly to avoid reinfections and more health problems.
Dogs Need a Cool Head
As strange as it sounds, keeping your dog’s head cool can make a huge difference in how they feel. Wrapping an ice pack or cold compress on their head can help bring down a fever and reduce any uncomfortable symptoms. Just be careful not to let them chew on the ice pack, as this can be dangerous.
Soothe Your Dog’s Sore Throat
If your dog has a cough or a sore throat, try to get them some chicken or beef-flavored broth. This can help soothe their irritated throat and make it easier to swallow.
You can also give your dog some canned food accompanied by warm water to help ease the pain. The sore throat should disappear within a day or two after you’ve started administering treatment. Anything more than three days should prompt a trip to the vet.
Administer Post-Operative Care
If your dog comes out of an operation, your vet will undoubtedly prescribe some post-operative care. This may include administering medication, feeding a specific diet, and restricting the dog’s activities.
Most of this is straightforward, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier on both you and your dog. For instance, you can ask your vet if they have any special diets that are lower in demand or more easily digestible. You can also ask them to provide you with any medication, so you don’t have to pick it up.
Post-operative care doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful if you plan well. Make sure your dog’s recovery period goes as smoothly as possible by being proactive and following these tips:
- Inform members of your household about the post-op schedule so they can provide you with assistance.
- Ensure that your dog is always in sight or within earshot when you’re not with them, especially if other pets are around the house.
- Keep track of how much food and water they consume each day.
Following these tips effectively will help keep your dog on a safe path to quick recovery after their operation and also help reduce the cost of post-op care.
No matter what you choose to do for your sick dog, remember you are your dog’s best advocate and are best placed to administer care when they’re sick. These tips will guide you through the process, ensuring they get the help and attention they need. If symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to consult your vet for professional service.
Featured Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash