Taking Care of a Sick Dog at Home

For many people, their dogs are the next best thing to a child. It’s only natural that you want to care for a sick puppy. Your dog can’t tell you if he’s feeling ill or he’s in pain, so it is important to look after him carefully after surgery or during a bout of illness.

Tummy Bugs

Dogs can pick up bugs just like us, so they do sometimes throw up or suffer a bout of diarrhea. You can take care of most minor problems at home. Dogs love to eat things that disagree with their stomach, no matter how noxious it might taste or smell. The decomposing rabbit your dog dug up on a long walk might not look very appetizing to you, but it is the equivalent of cordon bleu cuisine to him. Unfortunately, it will probably give him a bad tummy for a few days.


If your dog has a bad tummy, restrict his food intake for 48-hours, or until the symptoms clear up. Avoid giving him anything that could upset his stomach further. Boiled chicken and rice are bland but palatable, and may tempt him to eat something.

Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water, especially if he is vomiting and/or has diarrhea. Keep a close eye on his urine output, and if he isn’t peeing much, contact your vet for advice, as dehydration could lead to more serious health problems.

Sick dogs need to be kept quiet, preferably away from the hustle and bustle of the family. Move your dog’s bed to a quiet room where he won’t be disturbed by kids and visitors. He won’t feel like being sociable, just like you don’t when you are ill.

Keep Your Dog Quiet

Lay newspaper on the floor if your dog is throwing up or he has diarrhea. He will not be able to tell you if he needs to vomit or go to the toilet, so accidents may happen. The newspaper will make it easier to clean up the mess.

Administering Medicine

You may need to administer medicine to your dog. Read the dosage instructions carefully and if in doubt, check with your vet. Give your dog his meds according to the label, or it will not be as effective. Some dogs hate taking pills, so buy some pill pockets so you can hide pills inside a tasty treat.


Keep your dog quiet until he is feeling better. Walks should be short and sweet. Give your dog enough time to do his businesses and then take him home. If he doesn’t want to go for a walk, respect his wishes.

Is it Serious?

If your dog is feeling off-color, monitor him closely. In most instances, he will pick up again within a short time, but if you have any reason to suspect it is more serious than a dodgy tummy or your dog could have been poisoned or come into contact with a contagious infection, schedule an appointment at the vet. Your vet will be able to treat your dog and advise you on the best way to take care of him.