What to Feed a Sick Dog - LUV My dogs

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What to Feed a Sick Dog

  Everyone gets sick at one time or another and having someone to look after you, look after you, and guide you in the correct direction in this time of need can make all the difference in getting you back to your normal health and strength. Dogs are no exception to this rule and looking after and caring for your dog can make all the difference to their recovery.
  When your dog's tummy is upset, he can't tell us what's wrong. When lethargy and "accidents" tell us there's an upset, there are general rules to follow when feeding a sick dog. Just like children, they have systems that are smaller than those of adult humans, tend to recover quickly and need to start eating again to replace lost water and nutrients. However, if the upsets are violent or last more than a few days, it's time to take your friend to the doctor.
  But what happens if your dog has lost their appetite and you know they need some sort of food inside them before they run into more illness? Well this is a very common situation to be in with an ill dog so there are a few ideas that you might want to try and they might shorten your dogs suffering and help keep it bearable for the time being. 

Let your dog eat grass
  Let them eat cake! And by cake, we mean grass! Grass is one of those instinctual remedies dogs may go for when they’re feeling unwell. Grass may cause a dog to vomit.  Let your dog’s instincts lead you both. If they want to eat grass when they’re not feeling well, if they want to vomit a bit, that may be just what they need to do to feel better. Just make sure to keep them well hydrated. If they vomit more than twice, or persistently eat grass and vomit every time they take a trip outside, call a vet.



  Give your dog bland food (food with little or no strong flavours, smells, and tastes) to start with, bland food will help them keep their food down with not too much in it to upset the stomach and cause more illness. Anything that makes it easier for your dog to eat without too much strain is best; if they have to put a lot of effort into eating when ill they will probably not bother in fear of causing more illness and sick feeling, try blending food up finely so they can lick it up instead of chewing and swallowing, as this often works well for a lot of pets.


Simple foods
Your dog’s kibble may be a bit too rich for them when they have an upset stomach. Try some simple boiled shredded chicken with a bit of white rice, or try some mashed pumpkin. Offer small amounts at a time, rather than a full meal. If they appear eager for more, it’s a good sign. Their tummy might be on the mend. If they’re still dubious, consider a no-salt chicken broth to entice them to eat a bit. Add water to whatever you offer them, as dehydration is the real danger of your average run of the mill upset tummy.

Gradual Feeding
  After fasting for 24 hours, your pup could probably down an entire bowl of food within a few minutes. Feeding him a small amount at first and then increasing that amount each day prevents him from stuffing himself to the brim and vomiting again. Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine suggests feeding your dog his bland diet three to six times a day. The amount of food you should give your dog depends mostly on his size. Feeding an adult German shepherd 2 cups of bland food on the first day will be fine, but feeding that same amount to a Yorkshire terrier is too much. After about two days, begin mixing in your dog’s regular food with the bland food diet until he’s off the bland meals completely.

Check for dehydration
  Lift your dog’s lips and look at their gums. Gums should be pink and slick. That is, wet in appearance instead of dry. If you’re not sure, press on your dog’s gums until you see the color change. Remove your finger, and note how long it takes for color to come back. Color should come back immediately. If it takes a couple of moments, your dog could be dehydrated. 
  You can also pull at the scruff of their neck, the way a mother animal may lift their young. If the skin snaps back, they should be fine. If it takes a long time for the skin to retract, they could be dehydrated.

How to prevent and treat dehydration
  If your dog is showing the above signs of dehydration, it’s time to take their condition seriously. Many people offer their dehydrated dogs unflavored Pedialyte, which is a child’s electrolyte drink. Even if your dog is drinking water, it sometimes isn’t enough, and Pedialyte will help replace electrolytes they may have lost from vomiting. Other dog-friendly products like Rebound may also help.
  If they won’t drink it on their own, you may wish to use a feeding syringe (needle-less) to feed them the Pedialyte. Put the syringe into the side of the mouth, between the cheek and gums, and go slowly to prevent your dog from choking or breathing in the liquid. Be careful, take it slowly, and keep them calm. Really sick dogs sometimes don't have the greatest gag reflex, and aspiraton of these liquids can be dangerous.
  How much should you give? A dose to help a dog maintain hydration should be at least 15 mL per pound of body weight per day. This can turn out to be quite a bit of fluid to deliver with a syringe, so you may want to divide the dose into 4 a day.

You can also simply take your dog to the vet, where they'll be able to treat dehydrated dogs by delivering fluids under the skin.

 If this works then you should build the tastes up slowly from bland food to normal stronger tasting foods but always keeping to what your dog is comfortable with, if you do too much too soon then your dog will become ill again so take it slowly.


If this doesn't work then try to feed them sufficient amounts of water if nothing else. When a dog is unwell they may have other symptoms like diarrhea which will cause them to become dehydrated easily and set them up for more misery so try to maintain good hydration levels, which in turn will maintain your dog's happiness.


If all else fails and nothing seems to be working then you should contact your vet and seek advice there, if you do not then you risk your dogs health and bodyweight deteriorating and there may be other difficulties to overcome before your dog will start to become better.

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