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5 Ways to Make a Sick Dog Feel Better

5 Ways to Make a Sick Dog Feel Better

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Is there anything worse than when one of your puppies is sick?

They’re always puppies when they’re sick, no matter how old they really are. My first urge when one of my dogs is sick is to pick them up, hold them close and coo “It’s OK” at them until they magically feel better, but we all know that I’m not really helping when I do that. The only one who feels better after is me. I consulted with our vet and an hour later, the local after-hours ER vet and both told me to try not to worry, keep an eye on him and bring him in if he’s not feeling better tomorrow. So basically, do nothing and try not to panic.

Still, it’s nearly impossible to sit back and do nothing, so I’ve developed a few ways to help them feel better, without being a pain in their tail.

I’m no vet and you should always check with your vet to make sure you’re doing what’s right for your dog. These are my go to, tried and true ways to make a sick dog feel better.


1. The right bed for a good rest – Depending on your dog and how they’re feeling, they may want a nice cool spot to lay or a warm spot to snuggle. Earlier tonight, Kolchak was loving his spot on my cooling gel pillow, but once he started to feel a bit better, he snuggled into his warm grey blankie. Make sure you give your dog a cool spot and a warm spot to lay.

2. Keep them hydrated – When your dog is sick, the last thing you want to do is let them get dehydrated, but letting them have too much water can actually make their tummy feel worse. I like to let Koly have a few sips at a time at regular intervals, so I can keep track of how much he’s drinking and if any vomiting is random or a result of the drink. When you have a dog who might be getting dehydrated, an unflavoured pet-friendly electrolyte mix can do a world of good.

3. Curb snacking – When I’m sick, all I want to do is lay on my couch and eat Sour Patch Kids, but resist the urge to give your dog treats just because you feel bad that they’re sick. I know that when Kolchak is under the weather, my first thought is to tempt his finicky appetite with all of his favourite things, but withholding food for a while actually helps your dog’s stomach to rest and heal.

4. Don’t skip the walk – As long as your dog is up to it, a walk can make them feel better. What’s not to love? The fresh air, the chance to smell some stuff? Be cautious though. Keep the walk short and sweet and always make sure your dog is up to it first. If they are dehydrated or if it has been an overly long time sing the last time they ate, a walk might not be the best idea, but it *totally* helps Kolchak feel better.

5. Try not to stress. Dogs pick up on how we’re feeling and if you’re a ball of nerves, they will be too. I know this is easier said than done. Pour yourself a glass of vino, put on some soothing music or grab your favourite book or put on a movie that makes you furiously happy. A relaxed human is one of the kindest gifts you can give your sick pup. Well, that and not losing your cool when they get up, head for the nicest piece of furniture or the new rug and yak all over it. Thanks a heap, Kolchak.

How do you help your dog when they’re feeling a little sick?

Also, does anyone have one of those carpet and upholstery steam cleaner things that they want to lend me?


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A Dog's Outlook ~

Sunday 7th of July 2019

[…] I believe the difference was us. When we relaxed and made the decision to make life as good as possible for her, Pumpkin did, too. When she was the sickest and we were the most fretful, she was too. There’s research out there that backs up my theory, as well as anecdotal evidence. […]

Millie Hue

Wednesday 2nd of January 2019

It really helped when you said that we should provide water for them to keep them hydrated, but it must be just enough to keep their tummy from aching. I will share this tip with a friend of mine since their dog started becoming sick after the New Year's Eve. It might have been caused by the smoke from the fireworks and the stress it gave him.

Burt Silver

Wednesday 16th of May 2018

I like what you said about keeping the dog hydrated but also that too much water could make their stomachs hurt worse. My dog hasn't been feeling very well lately. Hopefully, he will get better soon and not feel so sick. Maybe it would be a good idea to take him to the vet and find out if he needs any sort of special treatment.

Debbie Hardcastle

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

Hi my name is Debbie my brothers dog is sick coughing and is really skinny how do I make her better to put weight back on her


Friday 24th of November 2017

Hi Debbie, A cough and weight loss can be the sign of a serious medical issue. I would strongly recommend seeing a vet as soon as possible.

Hannah Schroeder

Tuesday 19th of September 2017

Thanks for the tip about not letting them drink too much water or it might make them feel worse. My dog Byron has been really lethargic lately, and I'm worried that he might be seriously sick. I'll make sure he drinks a good amount before I take him to an animal hospital.

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