Caring for sick dogs at home can benefit them a lot, both physically and emotionally. This page outlines the various important things that we need to do to keep a sick dog comfortable. It also describes how to monitor the conditions of sick dogs, how to keep the dogs clean and how to give them medication.
There are a number of advantages to care for a sick dog at home. One obvious advantage is that home is familiar to the dog and definitely less stressful than staying in a hospital.
Dogs usually recover faster in their home surroundings. At home, a dog parent can pay closer attention to the needs of the sick dog, and extra meticulous cleaning can be given to the dog to keep him more comfortable and less miserable.
More importantly, the dog can get a lot of tender loving care and personal attention from his human family members!
Of course, there are cases in which a sick dog is best taken care of at a hospital.
For example, conditions that are life-threatening or very messy (e.g. severe vomiting and diarrhea) make it difficult, if not impossible, to have the dog at home.
In most cases, your vet will only allow your sick dog to go home with you when he or she is confident that you can provide adequate nursing.
When you bring your dog home from the hospital, you need to give your dog nursing care, such as giving him medication, keeping him clean, monitoring his physical and mental conditions, as well as paying attention to his nutrition. If your dog has little or no appetite, you may need to work harder to get him to eat.
The first thing to do is to find a place in your house which is quiet, safe, cozy and warm so that your sick dog can rest comfortably. Keep the area clean and change the blankets or towels frequently. Make sure that your dog has easy access to toilet, sunlight, and fresh air.
Let's take a look at what caring for sick dogs involves, and how it is done:
A sick dog may need a special diet or additional supplements while recuperating, so be sure to consult your vet about the kind of foods and supplements that should be fed to your dog.
Very often, a dog who is not well (especially one with a fever) chooses to fast for a day or two. If your dog does not want to eat for a few days, do not force him.
Fasting is a natural way for the body to get rid of toxic materials and wastes. Just make sure that he has sufficient water so he does not get dehydrated.
But what if your sick dog is still not eating after a few days' fasting, and he is losing weight or becoming weak?
In such a case, you need to tempt your dog into eating by giving him tasty food that has a strong aroma, such as freshly broiled chicken or turkey.
Sprinkling some culinary herbs on the food may do the trick as well. Herbs that are not only appetite-stimulating but also nutritious include peppermint, fennel, ginger, alfalfa, and dill.
You can also add a few tablespoons of bone broth such as this Human Grade Bone Broth Nutrition Boost to the food. Not only does the broth add nutrients to the diet, it's yummy, and if your dog eats dry food, the broth can soften the food a bit making it easier to eat.
Another way to coax your dog to eat is to warm up the food a bit. Dogs love to eat foods that have strong smells, by warming the dog food a bit, it becomes more aromatic and may just be the way to get your dog eating again.
Caring for sick dogs also include monitoring and recording the sick dog's health conditions. This can be very helpful in tracking his progress of recovery. The records can also be invaluable information for your vet.
Your daily recording should include the following:
Many people caring for sick dogs find it hard to give medication to their dogs. Be patient, approach and speak to the dog softly. Pet the dog and calm him down before trying to give him the medicine.
If your dog really doesn't like taking pills, consider making these simple pill pockets to hide the medicine.
Caring for sick dogs also involves keeping them clean.
Your sick dog can be fouled by vomiting, diarrhea, or skin discharge and you really feel that he needs a good scrubbing. However, do not bathe your dog if he has a fever, or if he is still weak and not yet fully recovered.
Even if you cannot yet give your dog a full bath, you can still keep him relatively odor-free by cleaning his body openings. Sick dogs very often have discharges from various body openings; if you can regularly clean his openings, he will be much more comfortable and less smelly!
These eye wipes also come in handy (click on the link to find out more):
The wipes contain extracts of lavender, cucumber, witch hazel, and chamomile, and are pre-moistened with an all-natural, botanical cleansing solution.
Please refer to our page on Cleaning Dog Ears for steps to clean your dog's ears.
You may also want to take a look at these ear wipes:
If your dog has been suffering from diarrhea, his anus can get inflamed. In serious cases, the surrounding area may become irritated and even infected with bacteria. It is therefore important to keep this area clean.
These grooming wipes sure come in handy when caring for sick dogs takes up a lot of your time. Use a few of these wipes to quickly clean up your dog.
They contain natural ingredients (e.g. green tea leaf extract, aloe vera) and can be used to clean your dog's paws, belly and bottom.