For many people, the bond between a dog and their owner is sacred and unbreakable. You love your cute dog with every inch of your being and want to do everything in your power to keep them happy, safe, and loved. Unfortunately, all dogs will go through periods of symptoms and illnesses that can make your dog feel horrible.
Here are 7 pet care tips to help you keep your dog comfortable when they are feeling under the weather, allowing them the rest they need to get over their illness.
1. Keep their coat maintained
Keeping your dog’s coat clean and maintained should be a priority for all pet owners as a healthy coat leads to a healthy dog. Pet care experts and veterinarians alike recommend having your dog professionally groomed at least once a month, but it is entirely dependent on how often your dog sheds and their hair length. In between groomer sessions, you will want to maintain your dog’s coat at home through regularly brushing out their coat and giving them baths when needed.
When you have a sick pup, however, getting to the groomers can be a task that is nothing short of impossible. Many chronically ill dogs rarely have the energy to make a trip to the groomers and deal with the stress of being in a public setting. Thankfully, most professional groomers offer curbside and home services, so your sick pooch won’t have to leave home.
If your dog is unable to make a trip to the groomers because of their ill health, there are steps you can take to keep their coat maintained without bathing your companion. Remember to brush out their fur regularly to prevent dirt and allergen build-up. If your dog’s fur is starting to smell or is visibly dirty, you can use wet wipes designed for pets (or baby wipes) to bathe your dog quickly and efficiently without submerging them in water.
To clean around your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth, use a washcloth dampened with warm water instead of using the wet wipes. Remember to also keep your dog’s possessions, such as beds, toys, and blankets, clean and properly maintained to prevent any illness from spreading to other pets in the home.
Related: 10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy
2. Respect your pet’s wishes for peace and quiet
When helping your companion recover from an illness or procedure, giving them peace and quiet is crucial to their healing process. Like humans, dogs and other pets need plenty of rest to help their bodies fight off the illness and encourage recovery.
To give your pet the peace they deserve to rest, try to keep them in a private room that is free from loud noises and other disturbances. Ensure that the room has your pet’s favorite bed, blanket, and dog toys along with fresh water and food to keep your sick dog comfortable and relaxed. You can also line the room with puppy pads to allow your dog to relieve themselves without leaving their space and preventing messy accidents.
3. Take your dog outside often to prevent accidents
Since proper hydration is a key part of helping your sick dog stay comfortable and recover from their illness, your pet will have to use the bathroom more often than usual. Try to take your dog out every hour to keep them comfortable, if they can go outside. Keep the outside trips short and don’t walk them around the yard when they are sick.
If your pet is unable to go outside, invest in some indoor pads and put them near your dog so they can relieve themselves without exerting too much energy or making a mess.
4. Keep food and water nearby and easily accessible
When caring for a sick pet, you need to pay attention to how much water your dog is drinking to prevent dehydration. Dehydration happens when your dog is expelling more fluid than they are taking in, resulting in a large array of symptoms like lethargy and loss of appetite. In more severe cases, dehydration can lead to your dog’s kidneys and other organs failing which can be deadly. In sick animals, severe dehydration often occurs from a bad bout of intestinal illness or parasites that cause severe and prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
When caring for a sick pet, you need to pay attention to their water intake and if they are able to keep water down. Keep a good supply of fresh water near your pet at all times and make sure it’s in a location that your pet can get to without trouble. If your pet is starting to show symptoms of dehydration, move the water bowl closer to your dog until it is within muzzle reach so they won’t have to get up to drink water. An automatic dog waterer is also a good dispenser to get your dog motivated to drink more.
In cases where your pet is unwilling to drink water on their own, vets recommend wetting your dog’s gums with a wet washcloth every hour or putting out ice cubes for your dog to lick to ensure your dog is getting some hydration.
Making sure your dog is eating is also a critical step in their recovery. Since most animals lose their appetite when they get sick, making them eat their food can be an impossible task. Dog care experts recommend giving your dog smaller portions and letting them eat from your hand to encourage eating. Using warm and lightly scented foods can also encourage your pet to eat.
5. Make your home more accessible for your sick companion
An easy way to keep your dog comfortable when they are ill is to make their favorite spots more accessible. Since a sick dog often has low energy, they may not be able to reach their favorite spots or dog toys in the house, especially if it involves jumping.
Buying indoor pet steps can make a huge difference to a chronically ill pet and can make their favorite parts of the house accessible again, bringing back some sense of normalcy to their routine. If your dog is entirely immobile, carrying them to their favorite spots or from room to room can also help your dog stay comfortable.
6. Keep their favorite treats and toys nearby to soothe their anxiety
While your sick dog will rarely have the energy to full-on play with their dog toys, keeping their favorite toys nearby can help your ill pet relax. Paying attention to their interest in the dog toys can also give you a sense of how they are feeling and how their symptoms are being managed.
7. Consider getting another animal to comfort your pet
The final way to comfort a sick dog is also the most complex; giving your dog another companion. In fact, dog care studies are starting to show that animals can help alleviate feelings of anxiety not only in humans, but in other animals as well. Many vets around the US have started using comfort dogs in their exam rooms to help distract their furry patients during examination.
Getting your chronically ill pup another companion can help distract them from their illness and allow an unbreakable bond to form between the two cute dogs – providing a constant stream of comfort and relaxation.
Having a sick dog is hard. You want to do everything in your power to make them feel better and recover, but often there is little you can do beyond comforting your sick pup. These pet care tips will help your dog relax when ill, allowing them to get the rest they deserve and need to recover from their illness.