dog sitting on grass

What to do if you have a sick puppy

No pet parent wants to think about their precious pup getting poorly. Unfortunately, puppies can be susceptible to many of the same health conditions as adult dogs. This naturally means it’s important you know how to look after your pet if they ever become ill.

James Wellbeloved takes a look at why you might have a sick puppy and how to care for them when they’re unwell.


Signs of a sick puppy

When it comes to dog health, puppies aren’t the best at communicating if there’s something wrong with them. As such, vigilance is always the key. Of course, first–time owners may not know the warning signs and how a puppy might look or behave if they’re ill, which is why getting clued up on these is important.

Common signs of a poorly puppy include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Whimpering more than usual
  • Excessive licking or scratching

  • If you notice your puppy exhibiting any of the above symptoms, arrange an appointment with the vet immediately. They will be able to examine your puppy, see what’s going on, and let you know the treatment options.


    Common puppy illnesses

    When puppies get ill, it can take longer for them to get well again compared to adult dogs. That being the case, you’ll want to nip any illness in the bud quickly to prevent any long-term health effects that may be associated with certain puppy health conditions.


    Puppy sitting on a lawn


    Some of the most common puppy illnesses include:

  • Intestinal parasites – a regular worming routine should be enough to prevent this from occurring in your pup
  • Parvovirus – bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and a loss of appetite are the most common symptoms, and you can easily avoid parvovirus altogether by getting your puppy vaccinated
  • Kennel cough – a persistent dry, honking cough; highly contagious, so keep your puppy isolated from other dogs until successfully treated
  • Hypoglycemia – characterised by lethargy and possible seizures, this condition is typically treated with proper diet and vet-prescribed, canine-safe diabetes medication

  • It may very well be that your canine companion is poorly because of something they ate, in which case you should familiarise yourself with foods dogs can eat at puppy stage. It’s always best to have a vet examine your puppy in person though, as they’ll be able to determine exactly what their illness is and advise on appropriate treatment.


    How to care for a puppy

    Caring for a sick puppy requires plenty of patience and dedication on your part. For example, if the condition gives your puppy vomiting and diarrhoea, don’t be angry with them if they have an accident in the house. Your goal should be to keep them comfortable and do everything you can to help in their recovery. Despite how you may feel, try not to show anxiety either, as your puppy will pick up on this and become upset themselves – which is the last thing either of you needs in an already stressful situation.

    In terms of steps you can take:

  • First note down any behaviour changes, including appetite, mood and energy. This will help the vet to work out what’s wrong.
  • Next, you should encourage them to lie down in their bed or somewhere else where they can rest.
  • Finally, while they’re sick, feed your puppy a bland diet, as well as small amounts of water to keep them healthy and hydrated. If they can’t keep down water without vomiting, take them to the vet immediately.

  • If you’ve got a sick puppy on your hands, recognising the changes in their behaviour and intervening early will almost certainly help nurse them back to health. But remember, you must take them to see a vet as soon as you notice any potential symptoms so that they can receive professional diagnosis and treatment.