Every so often, our beloved pooch may get sick or unwell. When this happens, it is important to ensure it is given the best diet and care possible, in order to set it back on the road to recovery.
The first step is in being able to recognise the symptoms when they arise, and in taking the appropriate advice from the vet.
You should also ensure that any medication you give it, is compatible with the food you are feeding it.
Be sure that any medication is also given at the prescribed time. If your vet gives you any special instructions or dietary advice, these should also be observed.
If your dog appears tired, or listless, this is a sign that something could be wrong, particularly if it is usually energetic and lively.
You will often also find that shortly before being sick, dogs will drool, or lick their lips excessively. Before throwing up, you may see a dogs stomach contract.
If your dog is behaving in an erratic way, or seems agitated, this is another sign of possible illness.
Loss of appetite - or indeed eating much more than usual - can also be a red flag, so you should certainly investigate if this is the case.
Indeed, if you notice anything unusual, including any rashes it may have, you should get it checked out.
What not to feed your dog
There are certain foods which are likely to aggravate any illness or make problems much worse.
These include things like avocados, chocolates and grapes, which are all highly toxic to dogs and can make them even more unwell.
Similarly, alcohol, garlic and sugar cubes are an incredibly bad idea, as a dog's system is not designed to cope well with these.
Bread dough and macadamia nuts can also cause stomach problems in dogs.
First steps to take in the initial stages of illness
When you notice your dog being sick, the first thing you should do is take away all food and water for two hours. After this, allow it to have some very small amounts of water occasionally, but continue to withhold more food for about ten hours.
Small amounts of food can then be reintroduced slowly once vomiting has ceased. If sickness continues, you should get your dog over to a vet as quickly as possible.
Reintroducing food into the diet
When your pet is unwell or just recovering from illness, meals should be reintroduced into the diet very slowly.
Instead of having a large meal once or twice a day for example, you should instead aim to feed your dog small amounts of food on a regular basis.
This should include plenty of fluids, including broth. Do not be tempted to add any sugar or spices into the diet, as this can cause further upset.
Any changes you make to the diet should be made depending on what it is your pet is suffering from.
Never be tempted to overfeed your pet, and be sure to get advice from your vet if you are unsure.
Keeping your dog's diet as simple and natural as possible can help to facilitate recovery from illness.
For example, raw, natural pet foods, such as those given in the Barf diet, can help a dog on the road to good health.
This type of diet is packed with healthy nutrients to get your dog back to its best in no time.
Boiled meat is another good snack for dogs who are sick, and works particularly well in cases of diarrhea.
Try giving your dog unseasoned skinless white chicken meat boiled with brown rice at a ratio of 2:1.
This meal is gentle enough even for the most sensitive stomach to accept.
In some of the most severe cases, a liquid diet may work best. For example, you can make chicken broth and boil that in plain, white water.
You can also make broths from overcooked rice, which can work well if your dog's stomach or pancreas is particularly fragile.
Scrambled eggs can work particularly well in dogs who have diarrhea. Offer one or two tablespoons every two hours, and then gradually increase the intake if your dog is able to keep it down.
Once your dog has recovered, you may want to mix some of the scrambled egg into its regular food, for a few days while you monitor its condition.
Written by: Declan Weed