What To Do When Your Dog Gets Sick: The Ultimate Guide

We love our pets, and for many of us when they become sick, it can be a terrifying time. After all, we not only have to look after them, and nurse them back to health, but can see them suffering without being able to explain why. Happily, even if this situation happens to you, knowing exactly what to do can make it easier for you and your pup. In fact, that is why I have written the ultimate guide on what to do when your dog gets sick below. Read on to find out more.


First of all, while it can be tempting to ignore getting your dog insured when they are healthy and bouncing around all over the place, it's best to get covered. The reason being that if anything like an accident or they get ill does happen any vets bill and treatment they need will be financially covered.

In fact, by getting your pup insured from a young age, you can severely reduce the stress should they become ill, because you know you won't have to find hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars for vital and life-saving treatment. To that end, be sure to look into getting an insurance policy for your pooch today, if you haven't already got one.

Know what signs to look out for

Next, before you can take any action, you need to be able to spot when there is something wrong with your pup. This means is that you need to have some familiarity with common symptoms that suggest they are sick.

One of the most evident symptoms is that they stop eating for longer than a day, and vomiting and diarrhea are also pretty self-explanatory and obvious. Other things to look out for are a change in mood including whimpering, tiredness, and even aggressive behavior. The latter often being a defense mechanism for a dog that is feeling unwell.

It's also worth giving them a quick examination at home if you suspect there is something wrong. When doing this look for cloudy or red eyes, lumps and bumps and as well as signs of itching, and increased drooling, bad breath, and trouble breathing. All of which can be indications of illness in your dog.

Lastly, be on the lookout for symptoms such as nosebleed, bruising or redness in the whites of your dog's' eyes and coughing as this may incident they have a lung or heartworm infection which can be particularly dangerous.

Of course the sooner you can spot this the better, as it means they can receive the correct treatment. Although an even smarter solution is to protect your pup against these conditions before they occur with vaccinations. Something that is often well worth the cost and effort because the treatment available for these conditions are not only slow but can also harm your dog's health too.


Once you have established that there is indeed something wrong with your four-legged friend, then it's time to get a diagnosis. For the most part, this is something better off being done by a professional vet, as they will not only have the equipment suitable for your dog, but they also have the experience to be able to spot the difference between two similar conditions like fleas and tick bites. One which can be dealt with really easily, and the other which need additional care because of the risk of Lyme disease.

In fact, unless you are 100% sure that you know exactly what your pup has got, taking them to the vet for a visit is always a wise idea. This is because they will be able to pick up any other symptoms that you have missed, as well as provide the most effective medication and treatments to get your pup back to their old selves in the fastest time possible.

When visiting the vest it's likely that the medical professional will do a visual examination of your dog, and then further pursue any problems they find. This may include taking blood samples to be tested, giving you pup x- rays, or an electrocardiogram, or even sedating them so exploratory surgery can take place. The latter being a test that is quite likely in the case of suspected cancer.

Of course, this can be tough for both owner and dog, so be sure to ask your vet what to expect and to explain things as you go along. The reason being that can reduce at least some of the anxiety you are feeling, and help you keep calm for Fido’s sake.


Once the problem that your dog is suffering from has been correctly identified, your vet will take you through the treatment they need to receive to get better. Of course, the treatment they need depends on what condition they are suffering from, as well as the size, weight, and health of your dog when you take them in.

For example, canines with joint problems, and arthritis may be prescribed anti-inflammatories, a new diet, or even hydrotherapy to help improve their mobility.

However, those with mange will need to be isolated from other pets, so the condition doesn't spread, as well as being given oral medication, injections, or even special baths to cure the infection of skin mites and soothe the skin.

Don't be surprised if your veterinarian recommends a change in diet for a pup that has experienced an outbreak of mange either, as an improved diet can really help boost their immune system and prevent the condition from reoccurring.

Changing your dog's diet can help improve their health.

It is essential, if not pleasant also to acknowledge that sometimes your dogs' diagnosis will be one that will not respond to treatment. Of course, this can be an incredibly painful and distressing time, as you will be asked to make the decision to put your pup out of their suffering or allow them to continue on for a while.

They key thing to remember here is that one you will get some time to decide this, and that it is crucial to do what is best for you dog. After all, no loving dog parent would want to see their pup suffer unnecessarily, no matter how hard a decision they are faced with.

Creating a safe space for your sick pup

While your dog is being treated for any illness, injuries, or condition, they have its vital that you create a safe and stress-free place where they can spend their time. What this means is that you need to find a quiet corner in your home that you up can easily get to, but that is away from everyone else.

Add a clean bed to this corner and provide plenty of water and food, if they are allowed to consume these during their recovery. Remember too that while keeping your dog calm and quiet is good, they are social creates and will miss you terribly if you don't often visit, so be sure to take regular breaks and check in on them to say hi and see how they are doing.

Protecting your family and home

Of course, it's not just your dog that suffers when they get ill, but it can affect your family and your home as well. In fact, depending on the diagnosis that your pup gets it may be necessary to take extra steps to protect your family from being exposed to the problem that your dog is suffering from.

One classic example of this is that if your pup has picked up fleas, it's unlikely that they will limit themselves to only your dog's body. What this means is that your family and your soft furnishing including carpets, rugs, and sofas could also be infested. Of course, this won't be pleasant for anyone involved, and it can even end up reinfecting your pet even if their treatment is successful. To that end, it's important not just to treat your dog, but your living environment as well to get a hold on the infestation.

Another issue that many long-suffering dog owner experience as their pet recovers from sickness is having to deal with incontinence. Obviously, this is both highly unpleasant within the home, as well as unsanitary and can actually pose a significant risk to your family if they come into contact with it.

Happily, there are some tactics you can use to prevent this from happening. One in particular that many find helpful is to use washable doggie diapers that include an absorbent section, and elasticated fittings so no waste can seep out. Something that can prevent the spread of any dog feces or urine in the home and make sure that your family, as well as your pup, stays well. Some folks even add puppy pad inside the diaper, so they don't have to be washed after every single use, but still offer hygienic protection while your dog is recovering.


Finally, when it comes to recovery, patience, diligence, and kindness are all key. After all, it's crucial that you administer the treatment that your dog needs on a consistent basis, but you also treat them kindly while they recuperate.

Yes, sometimes this will test your patience, but as a dedicated dog parent, this is a small price to pay for the recovery of your most beloved and favorite four-legged friend.

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