Sanctuary residents, Jack Spratt and Miss Nolene have both suffered with serious health conditions and had operations to cure them. Spratt had a large lump which had to be removed and Nolene had a hernia which caused paralysis. Even when pets have only mild ailments, how we look after them makes a big difference to their recovery.
The same old routine just won’t do. Follow your vet’s instructions as to medication of course. Provide plenty of fresh water to drink and change at least twice a day. Try warm goat’s milk too, it’s a good restorative and palatable to both cats and dogs. Cow’s milk is best avoided as it’s likely to upset their tummies.
A soft, comfy and clean bed should be provided. Following an operation we use a couple of clean (new) duvets and then put a clean sheet on top. We have a pile of sheets ready to change when soiled. Pillows and cushions, again new or freshly washed, put round the duvets make a comfy nest. A dog, especially, needs to be able to stretch out and get in the best position to sleep in comfort.
We keep pets who are poorly nice and warm. A heated pad is best for a cat, near to a warm radiator is good for a dog. A dish of water, scented with lavender or tea tree oil is good to have nearby so the air doesn’t get dry.
The lights should be dimmed until the invalid begins to pull round. It might take several days and keeping the room quiet is best. Other pets who might be disruptive shouldn’t be allowed near.
We offer soft and tempting food when dogs and cats are ill. Warm tuna, mashed up is often liked by cats. The best invalid food though is chicken soup, we make it by stewing chicken along with bones. The chicken carcass is the key ingredient and a slow cooker is perfect as the bones need to simmer for a long time. When the meat is falling off the bones you can switch off and allow it to cool. The soft chicken meat will be surrounded by jelly and it’s this that does all the good. Like chicken soup for the soul (and for a cold) this jelly has compounds in it that combat infection and speed recovery. It’s easy to digest, very tasty with no nasty artificial ingredients and makes a nice invalid dinner.
When your pets are up and about again they can gradually go back to a normal diet. At least one bowl of chicken soup every day for several weeks will still be beneficial and help full recovery.