What Can I Give Dogs When They’re Sick?

Good nursing is the most important feature in dealing with sick dogs, as this is essential in obtaining warmth, comfort, cleanliness, pure air, good food and water, the regularity of medicine (when same is necessary), kindness and watchfulness in the progress of symptoms. A kind owner often does much harm by giving food that is unsuitable and also by forcibly trying to feed a dog he thinks is going to die.

What to feed a sick dog that will not eat

The diet for sick dogs should be light, sustaining, and digestible. Milk, eggs, beef tea, meat extracts, proprietary foods, and so on, all have their use.

As convalescence comes along, finely minced lean meat (not mincemeat) will be acceptable. Boiled fish, if available, or tripe are useful changes, and a little cooked liver, besides being a great luxury, is a natural laxative.

It must be remembered that water is a natural drink for dogs. Milk must always be regarded as a food rather than as a thirst quencher, but it is of great value for invalids.

A healthy adult dog is generally better if fed on what is called a dry diet, such as raw meat, wholemeal crusts baked hard, dog biscuits, cubes, etc. Household scraps, such as pieces of cooked meat mixed with vegetables and gravy make a welcome change once or twice a week.

A day’s fasting once a week is a splendid thing for dogs confined a considerable time in their kennels and runs. Care must be taken that an ample supply of fresh water is available to them.

Never allow your dogs to eat stale food. The remains of each meal should be removed after a reasonable time has been given to your dog to eat his fill.

How do you comfort a sick dog?

In the wild, animals will seek out and chew their own remedies when feeling ill or a little off-color.

Indeed, your own domestic dog often nibbles on grass or other plants. However, because of their domestication and diets, domestic pets need a helping hand to ensure their continual good health.

Herbs and herbal extracts can be added to their diet and used in the treatment of simple ailments. If your dog is given herbs in its diet from an early age you will find it will enjoy them.

Finely chopped garlic, parsley, watercress, and dandelion can be added and combined with some grated raw carrot. To this, you can add wheat germ flakes, yeast, cod-liver oil, and kelp. Vary from day to day, by just including some or all of the ingredients.

Minor health problems in most instances will respond to home treatment. The following remedies may help to give your dog relief. However, any serious complaint should be referred immediately to your veterinarian.

Bad breath

Add one drop of aniseed oil to their feed. If the cause is gingivitis, blend one drop each of clove, lavender and myrrh oil with a teaspoon of sunflower oil. Gently massage into the gums with a toothbrush.

Burns and scales

Apply cold water followed by neat lavender oil, as soon as possible.

Cuts and bites

Bathe the affected area with a solution of saltwater, to which has been added two drops of lavender oil.

Coat in poor condition

Blend 5 drops each of carrot oil and evening primrose oil with one tablespoon each of olive oil and wheat germ oil. Store in an airtight, dark glass bottle and add ¼ teaspoon of the mixture to each feed.

Problematic ears

Remove foreign bodies by carefully adding one teaspoon of olive oil. Later, dry out the ear gently with swabs and diluted witch-hazel. Canker which is common in long-eared dogs can be treated by cleansing the affected ear daily with three-part rosemary infusion to one part witch-hazel. To make the infusion steep one teaspoon dried rosemary in 300 ml of boiling water until cold then strain through fine muslin.

Skin problems

Blend 5 drops each of lavender and chamomile oil with 10 ml of evening primrose oil and 30 ml of olive oil, and apply over the affected area.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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