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Serious Illness, Accidents and Surgery in Dogs

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Imagine being hurt or injured and not able to ask for what you need to feel better. That is exactly what your dog feels during a serious illness, or after an accident or surgery. All he wants to do is run and play, but he needs adequate time and nutrition to recuperate. To help him recover fully, he'll need additional care and attention from you.

Helping your dog recover

You should always give medication at the correct times, and take care of wounds and dressings as instructed. It's also important to provide lots of love, reassurance and encouragement to eat, and only feed the dog food recommended by your veterinarian.

Correct balance of nutrients

Because the body has difficulty obtaining enough energy during this time, the dog food needs to be high in energy, easily digestible, and extra-rich in essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

What happens during recovery?

There will be times in your dog's life when he will need your help to recover. This could be due to a wide variety of conditions— from minor illness or elective surgery to something more serious like an accident or cancer. Dogs need extra energy and nutrients, in an appetizing form, to speed up the recovery process. Even if a dog is not severely distressed, you can help recovery by feeding the right dog food and giving plenty of care and love at home.

Is your dog making progress?

Recovery can be delayed by a number of factors including incorrect nutrition and not eating enough. Whatever the reason, it's important to look for the following signs. If you notice any of them, contact your veterinarian.

  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Tired, lacking energy
  • Wound is not healing
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Increased breathing rate
Common signs of dental disease

IMPORTANT: Rapid weight loss, particularly when combined with loss of appetite indicates a stress response requiring attention. If you are in any doubt, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Remember to keep a close eye on your dog's condition to help him get through this difficult time.

The importance of nutrition

The food your dog eats plays an important role in his overall health and well-being. The food you feed him can have a tremendous effect on his ability to recover. He will be under a lot of stress from healing and dealing with his condition, so he will need more energy to deal with these changes. However, he may be reluctant to eat.

Most food won't have the right consistency or taste for dogs who don't feel like eating. These dogs will need therapeutic food that provides exceptional taste and has the right consistency to be spoon fed, if needed. Also, his regular foods may not provide the added fat, protein and key nutrients dogs need during recovery. Feeding him a dog food that is highly digestible and has increased levels of key nutrients will speed his healing.

Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. When your dog is recovering from an illness or operation, it's even more important to feed the right dog food. For accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian and ask them to recommend the best food for your dog's recovery.

Ask Your Veterinarian About Recovery from Serious Illness, Accident or Surgery:

  1. Are there any foods I should avoid giving my dog because of his condition?
    • Ask how human food can affect your dog's health.
  2. Would you recommend a Hill's® Prescription Diet® dog food for my dog's recovery?
    • Ask about special nutritional concerns for your dog
    • How much / how often you should feed the recommended food to your dog
  3. How quickly should I expect to see signs of improvement in my dog's condition?
  4. Can you provide me with written instructions or a booklet on recovery care for my dog?
  5. What is the best way (email/phone) to reach you or your hospital if I have questions?
    • Ask if you need a follow-up appointment.
    • Ask if a reminder email or notice will be sent.