Archives for September, 2009

Caring for a sick animal at home

Hi Everybody,

Hooray! We finally have gotten some relief from the horrible heat wave and drought we’ve had in San Antonio since June. It is such a pleasure to be about to walk Roxie and Gypsy in the morning without coming home drenched in sweat!

Here are some tips from Dr. Andrew Jones, a holistic vet from Canada, for taking care of a sick pet at home:
If your pet is sick, there are several reasons why you should care for him at home. Your home is comfortable for your pet, and free of the stress and anxiety of being in a veterinary clinic. Barking dogs, strange people, and unusual smells are not conducive to healing.

You can provide superior nursing care to what is offered in most veterinary clinics. They are busy places, and your veterinarian can only spend so much time with your pet. You can offer a range of treatments not usually available at a veterinarian. You can give natural and alternate forms of treatment.

You will often save money – in most cases this can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And perhaps most importantly, you can avoid the serious side effects of many of the traditional medications.

You and your pet both win. You will heal your pet at home, and in doing so you will greatly increase the bond you have with your pet. This deeper emotional connection will make your life more enjoyable and help keep your pet healthy.

The following sections describe basic at-home care, with a few simple solutions for general problems.

Nursing Care

Comfortable Bedding

Every sick pet needs to be comfortable. Ensure that big dogs have lots of padding, especially if they have difficulty moving.

Quiet environment, but not TOO quiet

All sick pets need a quiet area. Place their bed out of the main traffic area, but not so far away that they are isolated. They need regular contact.

Keep the area clean

Your pet may have difficulty getting up and going to the bathroom, and may soil himself. Change the blankets or towels frequently.

Eating problems

Most sick pets will not eat for 24 hours, and that should not be a concern. If your pet has still not eaten after 24 hours, that is a serious cause for concern – especially in cats. There are many simple things that you can do to stimulate your pet’s appetite.

Hand feeding
The simple act of feeding with your hand – this will often work.

Warm up the food
When the food is warmer, it is more appetizing, and it is easier for your dog or cat to smell it. If it smells good, they will often eat.

Pet your pet
The simple act of stroking your pet will stimulate positive feelings in your pet and often cause them to begin eating.

If your pet has gone more than 48 hours without eating, he may need force feeding, and you have a few options. You can pick up high calorie liquid nutrition such as ‘Hills Prescription Diet a/d’ or ‘Eukanuba Maximum-Calorie’. You can also make your own high calorie food. I have included an example of a diet below.

Home Pet Nutrition Booster
1/2 cup cooked turkey or chicken
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup of rice
400 mg calcium
1 One-A-Day Multivitamin
1 tbsp flax oil
Mix this well in a blender or food processor.
Feed 1/2 to 1 cup per day to small pets, and increase
proportionally. In some cases you will have to syringe feed -give frequent, small amounts.

Drinking / Dehydration

My June 12th post has Dr. Jones’ signs and solutions for dehydration.

Bathing and Cleaning
You do not want to subject a very ill pet to unnecessary baths, but when they become fouled with vomit or diarrhea, they will feel much better after a bath. I would advise using a mild oatmeal-based shampoo, drying well with a towel to ensure that he does not get cold, and a blow dryer.

Many diseases will cause discharge from the various body openings:

The Nose
Keep the nose clear of plugs or secretions. Compress the end of the nose with a warm cloth to loosen up the secretions before you try and wipe them. It helps to keep the secretions off by covering the end of the nose with Vaseline.

The Eyes
Crusts and secretions often form in the corner of the eyes. Apply a warm cloth compress to loosen the secretions and make it easier to remove. Often this is secondary to eye infections, and you may find the best result using infusions of ‘Eyebright’.

The Ears
They are often infected in dogs, less commonly in cats. The easiest way to keep debris from building up is to clean the ears once weekly – one way is a homemade vinegar solution. Instill it directly into the ear canal, massage the base of the ear to allow the solution to work its way in, then wipe the excess out with a cotton ball (see: Ear Infections). Gently pull the ear flap over the head and drop the vinegar solution into the lowest opening of the ear canal. Gently massage the ear area to help work the solution deeper into the ear canal. If there is enough medication in the ear, you will just begin to hear ‘squishing’ noise as you massage.

If the ears are very inflamed, then it’s best to apply a soothing topical lotion first. Calendula and Aloe Vera are both effective in decreasing the inflammation.


Here’s how one Texas dog beat the heat this summer.

Until next time,


Sep 17, 2009 | 2 | animal welfare, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs

Let’s Not Fight!

Hello to Everyone,

Hooray! We had a 1/2 inch of rain a couple of days ago (first we had to clean out the cobwebs in our rain gauge!). We have a LONG way to go to break the drought in South Texas, but at least it is something.

A couple of weeks ago, Michael Vick was interviewed on 60 Minutes after his release from prison for dog fighting. I watched the interview, and it has taken me awhile to figure out what I wanted to say about it.

I am a football fan, and Michael Vick was a joy to watch on the field with his athleticism and grace. So, I was outraged, appalled, disgusted, and any number of other adjectives to learn he was involved in dog fighting. That an individual who has been so blessed would take part in such an inhumane activity was beyond my understanding.

I was and still am extremely skeptical about his stated desire to help animals and to guide young people away from dogfighting. But, I agree with Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS that we have a unique opportunity to use Michael Vick’s life experience and celebrity to talk to these at risk kids with a credibility that no one else has.

I hope Michael Vick is truly remorseful and sincere in his work with the HSUS. I guess only time will tell.


Sep 02, 2009 | 1 | animal welfare, Dog Behavior