If your dog is feeling under the weather and you are worried for their safety, you should always get them to the vet. But, there are lots of ways to care for them at home in the meantime. Here’s what to do when your dog is feeling under the weather:
1. Keep Watch Over Your Dog
It’s a good idea to keep a record of your dog’s daily activities. Make note of when they eat and how much, when they go to the bathroom, and how they are acting.
Observe how much they sleep or whether they have trouble getting to sleep. Don’t forget to take note if their appearance or gait has changed. You can take these detailed notes to the vet when you visit them in person or call to ask for advice.
2. Encourage Eating
If your pet is not feeling well, it’s usually a good idea to encourage them to eat and drink liquids. This will help keep up their strength and compensate for the loss of appetite caused by many illnesses.
You can do this by warming up your pup’s food to make it more appealing, or scratching their head and neck while they are eating. If these tactics don’t work, your vet can give you an appetite stimulant for your ill pet that’s lost their appetite.
You should also talk to your vet about what to feed your sick dog. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Chicken and Rice
Chicken and rice will give them the carbs and protein they need to build up their strength, but it’s also a mild meal that won’t upset their tummy.
Shredded chicken is also a nutritious and appetizing meal. It will provide necessary protein and sustenance while your dog rests and recovers.
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
Pumpkin and sweet potato are easy to digest and full of nutrients. If your pup hasn’t been eating well lately, those foods are good to start them on.
If your dog is having trouble with solid or soft foods, bone broth is a good option. Bone broth is a delicious and nutritious food for a dog who hasn’t been eating. It’s mild on his stomach and will provide nutrients until they’re ready for something with more substance.
However, there are definitely circumstances under which you shouldn’t try to make your pup eat. If their main symptoms are vomiting or diarrhea, they are generally healthy otherwise, and are over 6 months old, you can withhold food for up to 24 hours and keep them on lots of liquids.
3. Keep Your Dog Comfortable
A dog who is feeling under the weather may have a tough time taking care of themselves, so bathing your pup frequently and grooming them can really help make them comfortable.
If your pup is incontinent, bathe their urogenital area frequently. This is important to keep your dog safe from getting sores that could become infected. If they wear a diaper, wash them often because urine can irritate the skin.
If your pup can’t get around well, think about small adaptations you can use to make life easier for them. For example, if they have a tough time getting into and out of the car, you might want to consider carrying around a portable set of stairs. You can use a pet stroller to take them for walks if they don’t have the stamina to go for daily walks.
Keeping your pup comfy also includes emotional support. Make sure to give them plenty of pets, cuddle with them if they like that, and talk to them.