Being sick and owning a dog can be an uphill battel at the best of times. When you aren’t prepared or your condition deteriorates unexpectedly things can feel like they are going from bad to worse. I have learnt this time and again the hard way. So I thought I would share some amazing tips I have picked up to make things easier. Anyone can get sick at any time, it is always good to be prepared.
1) If you are sick and don’t already have a dog but are desperate to get one, do as much research as humanly possible!
Puppies are really hard work have you considered an older dog? You need to get a dog that you can care for on your worst day. So maybe a Malinois might not be the breed for you. Look for low energy and don’t be fooled into thinking small = low energy it really does not! Ensure you take into account how trainable the breed is. You may not be well enough to be spending excessive amounts of time training the basics.
2) Teach them fetch.
Having a really solid fetch can be a life saver. Imagine you are so sick it hurts to move or walking makes you feel like you’re going to vomit. This is me all too often. Just because I don’t want to move doesn’t mean my dog will laze around all day. Chances are if you do leave them full of beans with nothing to do they will make their own fun / be destructive. Being able to give them exercise while sitting down or standing in one spot is awesome. If your dog doesn’t know fetch and you get caught short you can always troubleshoot. Grab two toys and throw one, then call them back and throw the other. Most of the time they will drop the first toy so you can just do a rotation. This is a great how to for training fetch.
I strongly recommend the ‘Dog ball thrower’ I know they look a bit dorky but bear with me. With PCOS I get extreme abdominal pain paired with nausea. This makes most movements painful. Having a device that allows me to throw a ball a huge distance is great but, the best part. You can pick up balls with the stick. No more bending over in pain just to play fetch!
3) Toys and Games have allllll of them.
Make sure there are lots of fun things for your dog to do while you aren’t well. Treat toys like Kongs and dog IQ tests are great they can keep them occupied for ages. Have things for them to chew will also keep your dog busy. Things with different textures keep it interesting for the dog. On hot days try freezing stock with toys or bones in it. Change their toys and games regularly so their alone time is always exciting and fun.
4) When you are well prepare things in advance.
Things like food, toys or frozen treats. If I have a good day I like to prepare my dog’s food for the week as it takes a bit of effort being raw fed. It’s also a great time to get toys and frozen treats ready for them so you have them ready to give out when you’re not feeling great or in a rush. I like to have a few Kong type toys and things like that so I can stock up. You can get Kong style toys fairly cheap from Kmart (Aus) just make sure it has a hole in both sides for safety.
5) When you are well spend time playing with them and when you’re sick cuddle them as much as you can.
Make sure even when you’re down you still cuddle and spend time with them. This isn’t as easy if they are outside dogs. Consider getting a sun lounge so you can have cuddles outside and still be comfortable.
6) A flirt pole is awesome way to work out your dog.
Not all dogs will want to play with them but it’s worth a shot. Flirt poles require minimal effort on your part to wear them out. You won’t come out of it feeling drained but they will get a good work out and have a lot of fun! You can even make a DIY flirt pole with a toy and lunge whip.
Check out this German Shepard loving his DIY flirt pole
7) Two bowl rotation.
I feed my dog pretty far away from the kitchen. So I have two food bowls for him. I can make up his food take it out and bring the old bowl back. This saves one trip across the house which some days can be exhausting.
8) Take the help!
If you have family members, friends or a partner who offers to help take it. Don’t feel bad you aren’t a bad person and you can’t help being sick, make sure to say thank you though! :)
9) Sandpit = fantastic fun!
If you have little diggers or dogs who can be bored easily you can try getting them a sand pit. Plastic shell sand pits are good because they comes in a set of two. You can have a pool for hot days and a sandpit for digging fun. I like to put toys and treats in the sand pit this makes the sand more appealing to dig in. Clients I have suggested this too have had dogs stop digging elsewhere straight away.
10) Do as much training as you can.
This can wear your dogs out just as well as a walk sometimes. Training is fantastic quality time to help strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It can be hard some days but try and give it a little go every day. You don’t have to stick to the basics try fun tricks, always make training a positive experience for both of you.
If you have any suggestions to add let me know!