Advice on nursing a sick dog back to health.
Unless your dog is seriously ill and needs to be hospitalized, you have the option of nursing your dog at home and although it can be a challenge it is worth the effort. Dogs heal faster in familiar surroundings close to their human “pack”.
Here are some pointers to ensure that your sick dog gets the best possible home nursing. Always consult your vet for advice on your dog’s unique condition.
Nursing a Sick Dog
- Your dog needs peace and quiet while he is convalescing, so give him a spot away from the hustle and bustle of the house, kids and other pets. If necessary provide a crate or use a dog gate to isolate a room.
- Always give medication exactly as instructed. Complete the full course of all medicines even if the dog appears to be ‘better’.
- Provide your dog with a comfortable bed. This should be dry and warm. A dog’s body temperature can drop when it is ill so you may have to warm the bed with a covered hot water bottle.
- Make sure that your dog has an area where he can relieve himself. Either provide newspaper or arrange to let him out several times a day, even if it means carrying him.
- Follow your vet’s advice on the amount of fluid your dog needs to take in daily. If the dog is reluctant to drink you may have to feed him fluids with a syringe.
- Your sick dog may be reluctant to eat, so you may have to tempt him with his favorite foods. Warm food to room temperature as the smell of the food will stimulate the dog’s appetite.
Be careful not to give food that may cause diarrhea and follow your vet’s advice closely on what foods to avoid.
- Dogs will lick and bite at an open wound, stitches or bandages. If necessary fit your dog with an ‘Elizabethan collar’ to prevent this from happening.
- If your dog lies in the same position for extended periods he could get bed sores, especially if he is a heavy dog. Treat affected areas with a skin cream.
- If you choose home nursing over hospitalization you must follow your vet’s instructions to the letter, even if it means doing things that you and / or your dog don’t like, e.g. cleaning wounds and changing bandages.
If you find this too distressing, consider whether your sick dog may be better off in hospital.