Just for Kids: Caring for Your Sick Dog

We never want our pets to be sick, but sometimes it happens. If your dog gets sick, you will probably have to take care of him until he gets better. Depending on how sick he is, you may have to give him medicine, feed him or help to keep him in his bed. This can take up a lot of your time.

You will have to do exactly what your veterinarian tells you to do. But if you take good care of your dog, he will get better much faster.

Keep a Journal

You should keep a record of everything about your pet. Write down things like when he has his medicine, when he goes to the bathroom, and whether or not he is eating and drinking. You should also write down any problems that you notice. Take this journal with you when you take him back to your veterinarian.


Your veterinarian may prescribe medicine for your dog to help him get better. This is not an easy thing to do, and your parents will probably want to do this with your help. Your veterinarian can show you how to give a pill or liquid medicine. Sometimes you can put it in some peanut butter and he will lap it right up. You can help by making sure the medicine is given on time.


You may have to feed your dog special food while he is sick. It may have certain nutrients to help healing or it may be a soft diet. You may have to help your pet get used to it. Sometimes putting some on a spoon and letting him lick it off will encourage him to eat. If you see that he is not eating or drinking, make sure you let your parents know so they can tell the veterinarian. You might want to write everything down that he eats and drinks.

Home and Bed

Make sure your dog has a clean, soft, warm bed to lie in. It should be in a quiet place where he won’t be bothered by noise or other family pets. You want to make his bed nice and comfortable so that he will spend a lot of time there resting so that he can get better. Dogs that live outdoors may benefit by being inside where they can be closely monitored until they are well.


Your dog may not be able to keep himself clean while he is sick. You can brush him every day. In fact, this might feel good to your pet and it will let him know you care about him.

Potty Time

Depending on how sick your dog is, he might have trouble going to the bathroom. You may have to help him out into the yard so he can go. Your veterinarian will tell you what you should do. When your pet does go out, observe his urine and bowel movements. Report to your parents if he does not go, seems to have problems or has any sign of diarrhea or blood.


Make sure you give your dog lots of love. Make sure he knows that you understand he is not feeling well. Give him lots of attention and talk to him in a soothing voice. This might be the most important thing you can do.

The Geriatric Patient

If your dog is old, he may need extra care. You may have to keep him in one part of the house so he doesn’t go to the bathroom where he isn’t supposed to. You should make sure his bed is soft and comfortable because his joints may hurt. You may have to feed your pet occasionally, too, if he has trouble eating.

If your dog has trouble walking, you may have to help him stand or lie down. If your dog is large, this may not be easy to do, but your veterinarian can tell you how to help your dog. If your dog can’t walk, make sure there are plenty of absorbant towels or pads under him. You may have to have his hair clipped around his rear end to keep him clean(have your vet do this for you).