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How to Safely Foster a Sick or Injured Dog

While you don't need an abundance of medical experience to tend to a sick or injured dog, you do need a basic knowledge of clean-up protocol, administering medicine and changing dressings. The most common illnesses are infections and parasites, so be sure to have the prescribed medicine, antiseptics and anything necessary to provide comfort and relief.

Set up an isolation area

Sick or injured animals should always be separated from resident pets. A stable, quiet environment that is well-ventilated will ensure a faster, more successful recovery. Isolation will also help ensure your resident pets stay healthy.

Practice good hygiene and sterilization

Clean and disinfect floors and other surfaces with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Wash dishes, toys and blankets in a dishwasher or washing machine. Pick up stools immediately after being expelled and discard properly.

Wash your hands before and after handling your sick or injured pet, preferably with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Administering medicine and changing dressings

Giving medicine to dogs can be tricky, so here are some tips: pills can be crushed between two spoons or a mortar and pestle then mixed in with a small amount of canned food or even baby food. Roll the mixture into a small ball, making sure the consistency is soft enough to dissolve in your pet's mouth. For sicker dogs you can add water to the mixture and use in a feeding syringe.

Open wounds need to be gently washed with warm water. After washing, pat dry, apply a non-stinging antiseptic and then an antimicrobial ointment, such as neomycin. Do this 2 to 3 times a day until the wound heals.

When to seek veterinary care
If you notice anything abnormal, like a spike in temperature, inflammation, loss of appetite or lethargy, call your vet immediately.

Providing a nurturing environment and plenty of tender, loving care will ensure a speedy, safe and comfortable recovery for your pet.