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How to look after a sick dog

Top tips for your poorly pooch

Caring for dogs at home through illness and injury

If your dog’s ill, looking after them can be a full-time job. We often help dog owners with their pet health problems and know that a huge range of conditions can affect them. Whatever your dog is suffering from, here are some tips to keep them comfortable at home while they recover.

How to tell if your dog is sick

When your dog becomes ill there are certain warning signs they might display:

       Vomiting or diarrhoea for more than a day

       Drinking more water than usual

       Limpness

       Stiffness

       Extreme tiredness

All dogs are different and can show pain or illness in their own way. You know your own dog best, so if their behaviour is unusual, consult a vet.

If your dog needs treatment, you should notify your insurance provider as soon as possible. You don’t have to speak to us before starting treatment – after all, your dog’s wellbeing comes first.

What to feed a sick dog

While your dog is unwell a bland diet of boiled chicken or white fish, along with white rice, is easiest to digest.

For dogs with stomach issues, like sickness or diarrhoea, it's best not to give them food until they've gone 12 hours after they’ve stopped.

If your dog is refusing to eat, try tempting them with tasty food like chicken in gravy, ham or pilchards 1.

Keeping a sick dog comfortable

Let your dog rest as much as he or she wants to. If they’re spending a lot of time lying down, use cushions and blankets to keep them comfortable, and make sure there’s a full water bowl near them.

You can use a heater pad to keep your dog warm as long as it's covered to prevent burns, but check on your dog regularly to make sure it’s not too hot.

How to stop your dog licking its wounds

If your dog has wounds it's important to stop them licking or scratching the affected area, as this can make things worse.

Your vet might have provided a special collar for your dog to wear. You could also clothe the area to cover the wound.

To soothe the wound, use an ice pack, cool salt water, witch hazel or calamine lotion .

Giving a dog medicine

Struggling to get your dog to take tablets prescribed by the vet? Here are a few things to try:

       Ask someone else to hold the dog, keeping the front legs still

       Wrap small dogs in a towel

       Mix the tablet with sticky, strong-tasting food (unless the package instructions advise against this)

       Once the tablet is in their mouth, hold your dog's mouth shut until it swallows

       Stroke the throat or rub the nose

●     Praise and reward your dog afterwards

Keeping your dog from getting sick in future

Many serious illnesses, including kennel cough and rabies, can be prevented with vaccinations, so keep these up to date.

Also make sure you dog gets an annual check-up at the vet, so you can take action to stop health problems developing.

If your dog has been ill, Pet Insurance can be a big help to your bank balance. Vet bills can easily climb beyond your budget, so make sure you're covered in case of unexpected sickness or injury. Then you can focus all your attention on getting them well again.

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