Getting a new puppy is an exciting moment for both puppy and owner. Taking care of a puppy can take a bit of work, though. Just like children, puppies can become sick pretty easily. Here’s everything you need to know for helping a sick puppy and how to keep them happy and healthy.

Is my puppy sick?

Identifying sickness in your pup can be tricky. Since puppies are so young and can’t communicate well, it’s up to you as an owner to spot certain behavioral differences. Here are some common signs of a sick puppy:

  • Lethargy: Puppies are very active pets, they have a lot of energy they like to burn off. So if you notice their activity level isn’t what it used to be, or they aren’t active at all, there may be an underlying issue.¹
  • Change in appetite: Puppies love eating and that’s not a bad thing: without the proper nutrition a puppy’s growth can be affected. As long as you’re feeding them a high-quality and delicious dog food such as AvoDerm Natural® Puppy Chicken & Rice Wet Dog Food, you won’t have to worry about their nutrient intake. However, if your puppy won’t eat for some reason, it may be because they aren’t feeling their best.
  • Changes in bowel movements and/or vomiting: If there is an inconsistency in how often your puppy uses the bathroom they could be feeling under the weather. If your puppy is vomiting, it’s a pretty sure sign they aren’t feeling well.
  • Whimpering: Puppies can’t speak when they aren’t feeling so well they whimper or bark when something is upsetting them. If you notice your puppy whimpering more than usual, they may be feeling sick.
  • Excessive licking and/or scratching: Dogs tend to groom themselves regularly but if you notice they are grooming a specific area more than others and very frequently, they could be dealing with some type of sensitivity or illness.²
  • Changes in coat: An easy indicator for a sick puppy is in their skin and coat. If their coat is losing its luster or patchy, there’s definitely something going on with their health or diet.
  • Dizziness, weakness, or disorientation: One of the most adorable things about puppies is their lack of balance and weird movements. However, if falling over or regular dizziness becomes a habit, they could be ill.¹

Helping A Sick Puppy:

Caring for a puppy, especially when they’re sick, is a great way to build a bond between you and your pup. Here are all the ways you can help your sick puppy begin to feel at home:

  • Encourage to lie down: If your puppy is sick, they will most likely be eager to rest. To help, make up a comfortable bed for them to sleep on. Try to encourage them to lie down with toys and praise.
  • Speak in a calm and soothing voice: Puppies pick up on your mood and energy, so be encouraging and let them know everything is okay with a calm and soothing voice.
  • Give water: Take steps to ensure your puppy is drinking enough water. Staying hydrated is vital for a sick puppy. Drinking too much water can be dangerous too, so monitor how much water they are taking in.
  • Feed a bland diet: If your puppy is able to eat, feeding them a bland diet such as chicken and brown rice will help them digest easier and eat more.
  • Speak to a vet: If signs of sickness last longer than a day or seem too serious, always be sure to check with your vet so things don’t get worse.
  • Travel safely: Keeping your puppy calm and relaxed while traveling to the vet is very important. Offer them treats and toys, while also speaking to them in a soothing manner during the trip so you don’t agitate your sick pup any further.

Keeping A Puppy Healthy:

No matter what you do, your puppy is bound to get sick for one reason or another. While there’s no avoiding a sick puppy, there are ways to ensure they won’t get sick as frequently.

  • Diet: Providing a healthy and nutritious diet is crucial to raising a healthy puppy. Puppies are constantly growing so a full diet is important to keep this growth healthy.² We suggest feeding your puppy a protein-heavy meal so you know your dog is getting their proper nutrition.
  • Coat, teeth, and eyes: Pay attention to your puppy’s coat, skin, and eyes. It’s vital to keep these three areas healthy to ensure your pup’s overall well-being.
  • Weight: Check with your vet what your puppy’s ideal weight should be. Managing your puppy’s weight is a great way to establish great health.
  • Exercise: Exercise is imperative for all dogs, but even more so for puppies. Puppies have a lot of energy they need to get out so it’s important that you walk and play with them as much as they can. Don’t overdo it though; they are still puppies and aren’t as tough as adult dogs.

Having a puppy is a very rewarding experience. The extra amount of work and attention pays off in great ways. Getting sick is inevitable for puppies but hopefully this helps you to better understand how to care for them when they’re under the weather.


  1. How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sick.”, Aquanta LLC, 2017.
  2. Baker, Lauren. “How to Care for a Sick Puppy.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 9 Nov. 2017.
  3. 7 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Pet Healthy.” American Veterinary Medical Association.

AvoDerm Natural® is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.