Nothing hurts worse than when a family member who is ailing — including a pet. This month’s newsletter focuses upon how to care for your pets when they are ill.

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Caring for a sick pet starts with prevention. Annual check-ups can help identify potential issues before they become major health risks. And for older pets, semiannual (twice per year) examinations can be invaluable to identify concerns before they become too difficult or risky to rectify.

Caring for Sick Pets
Beyond regular check-ups, no one knows your pet better than you. If they refuse to eat or drink, appear tired or sluggish, have trouble breathing, exhibit signs of pain or discomfort, or otherwise they simply are “not themselves,” please contact us. We will conduct a thorough examination of your pet, identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment regimen.

We encourage every pet owner to fully engage — asking as many questions as you like and ensuring you understand your pet’s situation and the instructions for any medication or special activities. We will share waypoints, indicating their improving health or the need to call us. But once your pet has been examined, you’ve completed one of the most important steps in caring for your pet.

Spend Time with Your Pet
While your pet is sick, one of the most supportive actions you can take it to spend time with them. This may require you or a family member take a day or two off from work or school. While you can’t make your pet chicken soup, you can touch, pet, and constantly reassure your pet that you love them. This, following any medication, is vital to a quick recovery. And if you need to depart for errands, try leaving a piece of clothing that smells like you — for their comfort.

Spending Time with Sick Pets
Monitor and Record Their Progress
While your presence will comfort your pet, it will also enable you to closely monitor your pet’s health and provide any required medications. You should keep a log of your pet’s activities — including events, dates and times. And if you’re asked to quantify food or water consumption, use a measuring cup to determine how much of each you place in their bowls. Then, when they are finished, measure what remains and the difference is how much they consumed. And to the extent your pet is able, you should consider a moderated version of their daily routine and note their physical desires, abilities and performance.

Review the Household
As your pet will likely be in the home all day, it’s a wise idea to review the environment with a “keen eye” similar to the approach taken for new puppies and kittens. Ensure there are no dangerous items within reach and be sure to gate any stairs or rooms — particularly if your pet has mobility challenges. You definitely do not want your pet chewing or eating any item that can make their condition worse.

Protecting Sick Pets
It can be extremely helpful to clean your pet’s favorite areas — including their bedding, floors and “hideouts.” Use a pet-safe disinfectant and deodorizer and be sure to clean the litter box and pick up any feces in the yard. Beyond fundamental hygiene, cleaning can help limit the reintroduction of health risk factors.

It is also advisable to comfort your pet in an area with ready access to the yard — enabling your pet to quickly “do their business.” Having a small stockpile of training pads can be helpful as they are soft, superabsorbent and leakproof and can be used for a variety of purposes — from “mistakes” to vomiting.

Importantly, ensure your pet is comfortable. Set the house temperature to a moderate level preventing panting or shivering. And adjust the blinds so they can look out and watch the neighborhood per their regular habits.

Think About Their Food
When your pet is sick, we’ll provide a list of food that they should consume. Generally, however, food that is easy to digest is preferred — including rice and boiled turkey. The same holds true for treats — which should not be overlooked when comforting your pet.

Consider Other Pets
Depending upon your pet’s condition and the diagnosis, it may be wise or necessary to separate your sick pet from others in the household. If this is necessary, try to select a favorite bedroom (whereby the door can be closed) in close proximity to the yard. Whether you’re spending time with your pet in the living room or a bedroom, they will simply be glad that you’re near.

Separating Pets When Necessary
Keep in Touch
When your pet is sick, we want to hear from you. We would like to know how they are eating, drinking and feeling. And with your presence, you’ll notice even small improvements in their condition. If, while spending time with your pet, you have any issues, concerns or questions, please contact us. We can provide comfort to you over the phone or request that you bring your pet in for an examination. Just remember, your pet will appreciate your presence and this will help accelerate their return to health.

 

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