Our Dogs World 101

What To Do For A Sick Dog

As pet owners I am sure we have all had those days when our poor four-legged friend is feeling a little under the weather, and it can be a stressful time in regard to knowing what to do for a sick dog.

There are a few ways to nurse your 4-legged friend back to their health and happy ways without making them feel any worse than they already do.

The following article is only intended as a guideline for general care of your dog who is already under a vet’s treatment. If your dog is sick or ill you should ALWAYS contact your vet first.

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Vomiting or Diarrhea In Dogs or Puppies.

Vomitting or Diarrhea in dogs or puppies is quite a common occurrence. Remember dogs have evolved from a life of scavenging on left overs and what ever they can find out in the wild.

So if your best friend has found some off scraps somewhere and decided to woof these down while no one was watching, that change in their diet could be enough to bring on runny poop or vomiting.

Also a change in their diet from you could cause this.

Many owners believe that their dog gets sick of the same food every day and want to add variety into the diet.

A quick and sudden change to a dogs diet could also bring on vomiting or diarrhea so if you really must change the diet, introduce it gradually, taking about a week and start adding small amounts each day to the old diet.

If this new diet is one you are considering making yourself at home I have covered exactly that in an article, To Make Dog Food At Home – What You Must Know.

Vomiting usually means that your dog has got an upset stomach but can also be a sign they may have picked something up.

If your dog continues to vomit you would be best to contact your vet just in case it is something more serious than just an upset stomach.

For older dogs that aside from being sick still seem OK and are happy to eat you could try the following below. However, if the vomiting continues for more than a day or two you should see your vet.

You can try missing their meal for that day, but make sure they are still drinking water, we don’t want them dehydrated as well as them being sick.

You can then introduce them to tiny amounts of bland food like boiled chicken or fish and maybe a small amount of white rice or pasta.

Once they have stopped the vomiting you can then start to give them those small portions every few hours or so, slowly increasing the quantities and lessening the amount of times you are feeding them until over a period of a few days they are back to their normal diet.

Rest and Exercise

Knowing what to do for a sick dog when it comes to their two favorite things Rest and Exercise, can be a stressful time.

Dogs need both in the right amounts however, what is right for them when they are fighting fit will need to be adjusted at this time as they recover.

Just like you and me sick dogs need a lot of sleep and rest.

Try to find somewhere quiet and peaceful for them to recover where they won’t be continually disturbed by the kids or other dogs if you are a more than one dog family.

Imagine if we were sick would we want to be lying around in the busiest part of the house?

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article this is for dogs already under vet treatment so ask your about any certain needs that your sick dog may require.

I remember getting my black Labrador back from the vet after she had some surgery on her hip and she wasn’t allowed walking or exercise for a few weeks.

Something I found really helpful was a cage where I could limit her activity and at the same time give her somewhere with a nice soft bed where she could recover in peace.

What To Do For A Sick Dog With Longstanding Conditions

As dogs grow older, again just like some of us they start to develop longstanding conditions which require extra attention at home.

These need to be carefully monitored and if the bad times are starting to become a lot more apparent than the good it maybe worth seriously considering the other options carefully.

It is never a good time having to say goodbye to such a faithful friend but sometimes that is the kindest option we have.

I had to deal with saying goodbye to my old friend of 13 years and It still hurts today but I knew it was the end of her suffering, something which I wrote about not long ago called, Who Thought The Death Of A Dog Would Be So Hard which was all about my old girl Choco.

As they grow older and possibly start on medication it is always a good idea to think ahead.

Always make sure you have enough of their medication over holiday seasons where your vet is also away enjoying the break. The last thing you want is to run out of medication.

If Your Dog Suffers From Arthritis

Dogs with arthritis need a soft, comfortable yet supporting type of bed.

The orthopedic style dog beds available these days are the best for any dogs suffering from arthritis as they are designed for hip and joint relief.

My 12 year old Black Labrador has an orthopedic bed as she suffers from arthritis these days and it has helped her so much.

She sleeps on a Big Barker Bed which may not be the cheapest on the market but it is definitely the best I have bought her.

I have written a review on these beds and you are welcome to have a read of my Big Barker Dogs Bed Review if you think this maybe of help to your old friend.

If you haven’t already you should probably have a chat with your vet regarding the benefits of Dasuquin to further help treat your dogs arthritis or joint pain.

Treating Your Own Dog

The biggest piece of advice I can give you here, and it comes from experience is PREPERATION!

Along with Narla (My Black Labrador) I also have a 73kg Mastiff named Saffron who is currently suffering from an ear infection.

The vet has given me some medicated drops that need to go in each ear twice a day, sounds easy right?

Well if she sees that bottle of drops beforehand I end up spending the next hour trying to chase her down, which is where preparation comes into play.

It is always best to get everything quietly ready beforehand.

So what I do now is have the drops and the tissues on the table ready, I sit down have a snack and a few dogs treats next to me and wait until she comes to me, i then give her a little treat and before you know it I have her secured, drops in the ears and BINGO were done!

Dogs With Sores or Irritated Skin Conditions

I remember growing up as a young kid and always hearing that its good for dogs to lick their sores as they have a kind of antiseptic in their saliva. Oh how wrong that wives tale was!

Licking is not good for sores or skin irritations, in fact if you ask a vet they will tell you it actually makes them worse.

The best thing a dog owner can have (And I have two on hand always) is a pet cone which is also known as an Elizabethan collar, E-Collar or buster collar which is placed around the neck and stops them from being able to lick themselves.

You can also put socks on your dog to stop them scratching with their claws.

Giving My Sick Dog Tablets

The easiest way of course is to mix it in with their food, however there are a few things to take into consideration with this method.

Firstly your dog may not be eating as they are not feeling the best.

Secondly, like both my dogs are well-known for they spit them out, and unless you have the time to stand there and watch them eat you just don’t know if they have taken them or not.

The force method is best explained in the short video below thanks to Willard Vets

Identifying Problems

Dogs haven’t learned to speak human language yet so they can’t tell us when they aren’t feeling great.

So as responsible dog parents it is our responsibility to make sure we take note of any problems or discomfort our dog might be in.

A few things to note are;

  • If your dog or puppy is taking any type of medication always be aware of any side effects it may have. While some of these could be normal some won’t so it is always a good idea to ask your vet before leaving.
  • Keep a close eye on your dogs poop and pee. A change in color or consistency could mean something more serious and again if this does happen contact your vet right away.
  • If your dog or puppy has just come home from an operation make sure to continually check the wounds and dressing and look for any redness or swelling around the operated area as this could be a sign of an infection setting in.
  • Whatever the problem is and if you are unsure always contact your vet.

All the information I have given to you in this article is purely for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice.

I have however had this article verified by a licensed and professional vet here in the state of Western Australia for the accuracy of the information I have given you.

A Final Word From The Founder

Here at Our Dogs World 101 I am continuing to make sure that this website brings you reliable and informational articles to help enrich your dogs life.

If you have any further questions related to this article or anything else on our website please don’t hesitate to leave your comments below and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

As always I leave you with this, May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair.


Founder of Our Dogs World 101

6 thoughts on “What To Do For A Sick Dog”

  1. Dogs need food, water, shelter, and love just as humans do. These animals have been called a man’s best friend because they are so loyal and will stay with you no matter what. But when they get sick we must have the hand on knowledge to know how to take care of them. It is this knowledge that will help in nursing them back to good health. Thanks so much for your help in helping us to understand how to go about taking good care of our dogs and helping them to get back to full health.

  2. Hello, Mark. I’ve never had a dog before, but I found it more exciting to read this article since I believe that when my friends do need some advice, I’ll be able to provide it to them based on your informative post.
    When your dog becomes ill, as you mentioned, it is usually a good idea to contact your veterinarian first.
    It’s wonderful to care for them when they’re sick, and I believe it’s also beneficial to maintain a dog for people who have never had one before like me.
    It’s also wonderful how you refer to them as “faithful friends.”
    Wow, Willard Vets does an excellent job of explaining how to administer medication pills to your dog.
    Which type of dog would you recommend to me if I were to buy one?

    Thank you very much.

  3. I find it difficult to determine if my dog is sick or not doing well because I at times think it may just be bored or having a bad mood. Your advice of checking the dog regularly for any issues and illnesses is really helpful and could help you prevent any diseases from affecting your dog without notice.

    • Hi Kenny,

      Yes the best thing we can do initially if our dogs are feeling unwell is to keep a close eye on them.

      Obviously if they are getting no better or getting worse then a trip to the vet is the best option.

      Thanks for your comment.


  4. It’s always important to know what to do once you see a tell-tale sign in your pet dog. Just like knowledge of practical first aid in humans, being in the know about your dog can save its life. We once had an incident we suspect was poisoning. There was lots of drooling from its mouth. Despite it recovering it did suffer for some days. If we knew half of the remedies here we’d have helped it. We were far away from civilization so a vet could not be accessed right away.

    • Hi Steve,

      I am glad you found this article helpful and even happier to hear your dog was ok.

      I too live in a very remote part of Western Australia and know what its like to be so far from a vet.

      Well done on helping your dog to get better.



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