Posted on Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Signs of trouble: how to know if your dog needs emergency care

emergency dog care

Some vet emergencies are obvious, but how do you tell when minor symptoms become major problems?

Like all pet parents, you probably take your dog for checkups and tests and shots, and you probably think you’d know what to do when there’s obvious trauma. The question is how to decide whether your dog’s distress indicates a minor inconvenience or a bona fide canine emergency.

Noted dog expert and PBS television personality Cesar Milan offered a number of ways to distinguish between uncomfortable and life-threatening, beginning with the issue of trauma. If a dog suffers a fall, gunshot wound or car accident, even if the dog seems okay, go to your vet or animal hospital right away, since injuries like internal bleeding and a ruptured lung aren’t always obvious. Even if you did not see the cause of the trauma but do notice cuts, bites or limping, according to Milan, you should get immediate help.

Other major symptoms to watch for are trouble breathing, seizures and vomiting and diarrhea. Each of these are common in dogs but can sometimes indicate serious health issues. Breathing difficulties, known as dyspnea, may or may not need treatment. If your pet is unconscious or has obviously swallowed something, head to the emergency.

Seizures can be alarming since they are marked by tremors, shaking and unconsciousness. Any dog experiencing a seizure for the first time, according to Milan, should be seen by a vet immediately. Such is not the case regarding pet vomiting and diarrhea, which can be what humans experience as a simple gastric upset or 24-hour bug. However, if the symptoms last more then 24 hours, or if the is blood present or if the dog is diabetic, you should head over to the vet right away.

In PetPlace, an informational site written by veterinarians, Jon Rappaport, DVM​, declared that the main reason people take dogs to the emergency is vomiting. To avoid unnecessary trips, but know when they are necessary, Dr. Rappaport suggested gathering all your dog’s medical information, including shot records, check-ups and medication and noting the timing of the last vomiting. Keep everything in a prominent place, along with phone numbers for your vet, local 24-hour animal hospital and poison control center.

It’s always good to call

Never hesitate to call about vomiting – or any other issue. You know your dog best, so if you have concerns of any kind, a phone call could put your mind at ease – and might mean all the difference to your pet.This content post is provided by the pet experts at Hartz.