How to Help a Sick Dog

If you have a sick dog, you probably want to do everything you can to make him comfortable and hopefully help him recover as quickly as possible. While diagnosis and primary care should begin with a vet, there are things you can do to help support his recovery at home.

Woman at home with dog
Making your dog feel comfortable can help speed his recovery.
credit: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Help Ease Nausea and Vomiting

If your dog is vomiting, the first thing to do is withhold food for 24 hours. In many cases, this is enough to help settle his stomach and make him feel better. Once the vomiting stops, you can try to feed your dog a homemade diet of light foods such as skinless chicken, brown rice, cottage cheese and/or potatoes. If the vomiting hasn't stopped after a day or if your dog develops other symptoms, such as diarrhea, it's important that you take him to see a vet right away.

Comfortable and Cozy

Keep your dog warm and comfortable with plenty of blankets or a sweater. Being ill can make your dog more sensitive to cold weather, so only take him outside for short periods of time, when he needs to go to the bathroom. Keep your pup out of areas with cold drafts and add a few extra towels or blankets to his bed so it is warm, soft and comfortable.

Provide Extra Help When Necessary

You may need to carry a sick dog outside to go to the bathroom, or assist a large dog to walk outside if he's in pain or feeling dizzy or uncomfortable. Another easy way to help: Raise his food dish. You can place him over a small stool or a cardboard box so he doesn't have to crouch down to reach it.

Follow Your Vet's Advice

Make sure you consistently give your dog any medication your vet has prescribed. You may need to hide pills in a treat such as cheese or a hot dog or add drops to the top of wet food. Don't forget to ask your vet whether the medication should be given with food or on an empty stomach.