There are many different methods that you can use to care for a sick dog, depending on the cause and severity of the sickness...
Dog Care

How do I Care for a Sick Dog?

Susana Bradford
3 minute read
August 31, 2021

You may need to perform a variety of different tasks to care for a sick dog. Dogs are susceptible to a wide range of illnesses, and different problems require different methods of care. Before trying to help your dog, you may need to take it to the veterinarian to find out exactly what the animal’s health issue is. Making sure that your pet eats enough and does not become dehydrated is very important as well.

The most important thing you can do for a sick dog is to take them to a veterinarian. A veterinarian can diagnose a dog’s condition, prescribe medication if necessary, and tell you what you need to do to make your dog better. Make sure to let the veterinarian know all the symptoms you have noticed. When you first notice that a dog is not feeling well or begins to act abnormally, you may want to write down or mentally note the symptoms in the order they appeared.

Keeping the dog hydrated is very important. Without drinking enough water, the animal may become dehydrated, causing its condition to worsen. If a dog becomes dehydrated, its mouth will become dry. To avoid severe dehydration, you should take your dog to a veterinarian if it stops drinking liquids for a long period of time.

When sick, a dog may not want to eat. If the dog refuses its normal food, you can attempt to give it a special treat or foods that it normally does not eat. Getting a dog to eat while sick may help them feel better and aid in the healing process.

sick dog

If the dog has been coughing or has breathing difficulties, it may be a sign of a respiratory issue. Placing a humidifier near the sick dog may help the animal feel better. If the animal has severe breathing troubles it may be a sign of a respiratory infection, and the dog immediately should be taken to veterinarian.

You will need to keep your sick dog in a warm, dry area. Try to keep the space clean, and make the dog as comfortable as possible. While the dog is healing, do your best to keep the dog’s surroundings calm and peaceful so that you do not to disturb it too much. Give the dog as much attention as required by the situation.

Caring for a sick dog may involve troubleshooting. If the animal has been vomiting or has diarrhea, it may be a signal that it needs a change in its diet. For a lethargic dog, you can try giving it more fresh air. Massaging an elderly dog's muscles may ease arthritis pain and allow it to run around more.

You should not give a dog any medication without first consulting a veterinarian or other canine specialist. If a veterinarian prescribes medication for your sick dog, make sure to follow all instructions. Giving your pet too much or too little could worsen its condition. Herbal remedies and other over-the-counter drugs may be helpful, but a veterinarian will be able to tell you if they are right for your dog.

Get helpful pet care information and other helpful resources by visiting Pettable's blog.

Meet the author:

Susana Bradford

Susana is an avid animal lover and has been around animals her entire life, and has volunteered at several different animal shelters in Southern California. She has a loving family at home that consists of her husband, son, two dogs, and one cat. She enjoys trying new Italian recipes, playing piano, making pottery, and outdoor hiking with her family and dogs in her spare time.