How to Deal With a Sick Pet

No pet owner wants their pet to be sick. There’s the stress of caring for them, of clearing up after them if they’ve experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, trying to comfort them and make sure they’re safe and have everything they need and the ever present worry that they might have a serious health issue.

Today we’re taking a look at how you can deal with a sick pet: how you can recognise and meet their needs, and take care of yourself too.

Building Your Knowledge

The best time to start preparing for a sick pet isn’t when you start to notice worrying symptoms, but before you even bring them home! If you know from the start what normal is like for your chosen species and breed, what common symptoms of sickness are, and what are warning signs of serious health issues then you’ll be well set up to care for a sick pet. Simply recognising whether or not they are sick is a great place to start! Being able to tell when a cat is being sick and when they’re simply coughing up a hairball (or if they’re coughing up hairballs too regularly for comfort) means you’ll be proofed against one major worry to start with.

Use resources like the RSPCA website, owner’s guides, online groups and other pet owners to build your knowledge and set some realistic expectations of what having a pet will be like.

Getting Advice

You can’t expect yourself to know everything that could happen to your pet, and be equipped for every situation. As part of your research, learn where you can get advice when you need it. If you’ve questions about behaviour issues and training, then local pet owners and online groups might be able to help and if you’re really not able to solve the problem then it’s worth getting a recommendation for a trainer.

If your pet is sick, and you’re not sure what the problem or if it’s serious, it’s worth finding a service that lets you talk to a vet online – they can take a look at the symptoms you’re seeing, ask you some searching questions and come up with an initial diagnosis as well as letting you know if you need to get to a physical vet.


Hydration is a serious issue that many people overlook when their pets are sick. Whether they have a raised temperature, are vomiting or suffering diarrhea, or are simply too sluggish to drink as often as normal, they’re losing fluid from their reserves.

Try to prevent dehydration by keeping plenty of fresh, clean water near to them so they don’t have to venture far to find it. If they’re not tempted to drink, pouring water from a bottle to create a moving stream might pique their interest, or giving them an icecube to lick could help them remain hydrated until they’re back to their usual self!

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