Your dog relies on you to know when they require medical attention. The problem is that canines can be quite stoic. So even when they’re in great pain or discomfort, they may only give you the slightest indication that they’re not feeling well. It is important that you are aware of the signs of these eight typical canine emergencies.
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Dog Medical Emergency Guide created by Figo Pet Insurance.
Dog Medical Emergency Guide:
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from heart disease, especially if they’re overweight or elderly. Certain breeds, including toy poodles and Doberman pinschers, are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease. If you notice that your dog is in respiratory distress, coughing, vomiting, and/or has blue or pale gums, it could be having a cardiac emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
You might be surprised at the number of items around your home that seem harmless but are poisonous to your canine. Some houseplants, for example, are toxic if your canine chews or ingests them. In addition, several human foods — such as chocolate and grapes — can be poisonous to your dog.
Common symptoms of poisoning include disorientation, vomiting, and tremors. If your dog has eaten something, and you’re not sure if it’s poisonous, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They can help determine whether or not the item was poisonous. If you know that your pet has consumed something poisonous and is experiencing symptoms, take them immediately to your veterinarian.
Dogs, especially puppies, enjoy gnawing on and eating items that could pose a choking hazard. If you notice your dog is pawing at its face, coughing forcefully, or gagging and retching, it may have something stuck in its mouth or throat. You may be able to remove the problematic item on your own in some circumstances. Otherwise, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet for help.
Gastric dilation volvulus (bloat)
Bloat is a very serious condition that needs to be treated immediately. It strikes mostly large breed dogs with deep chests, such as German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. When dogs develop bloat, their stomachs fill up with air, causing them great discomfort. In severe cases, a dog’s stomach might twist. If left untreated, bloat is a fatal condition. That’s why it’s imperative that you take your canine to the veterinarian immediately if you observe a distended abdomen or if you notice that your pet is in extreme discomfort, is panting heavily, or is agitated.
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Dogs, like humans, can experience serious, even life-threatening reactions to a variety of allergens, including bee stings, certain foods, or medications. A severe allergic reaction includes hives, difficulty breathing, and the sudden swelling of the face or body. If you notice your canine experiencing these symptoms, and you suspect an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian. In milder cases, they may recommend that you give your pet an over-the-counter antihistamine and that you monitor them closely. In other cases, you may be asked to bring your pet in for an examination and/or treatment.
Dogs can suffer seizures for numerous reasons, including illnesses, disease, ingesting a toxin, or because of physical injury. Some seizure episodes can be obvious. For example, you may see your dog convulsing. Other times, your dog may just seem a little “off.” You might, for instance, notice that your dog is staring off into space or is generally not responding to you.
If your canine is convulsing, do not restrain the pup and move items away that could cause injury. You should also consult with your veterinarian to learn of possible causes of the seizures as well as treatments.
Dogs can overheat quickly under certain conditions. For example, running with your dog on a hot day or leaving a canine in a closed-up car when it’s warm can cause a dog to overheat or fall victim to heat stroke. Sadly, it only takes minutes for a dog left in a hot car to suffer brain damage or die. If you notice that your dog is panting excessively, is weak, or has a body temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or above, do your best to cool down your canine and then take a trip to the veterinarian.
When a dog is bleeding heavily from an external wound, it’s easy to conclude that you’ll need to seek immediate treatment, but not all bleeding is obvious. Dogs that have suffered some type of trauma — such as being hit by a car — will often have internal bleeding that isn’t visible to the naked eye. If internal bleeding is left untreated, your dog could suffer permanent damage or even die. Symptoms of internal bleeding include a painful or swollen abdomen, pale gums, trouble breathing, and weakness. If your pet has a heavily bleeding external wound or you suspect internal bleeding, your pet could require emergency treatment.
According to a recent study, one out of three pets will require emergency treatment by a veterinarian each year. It’s always best to be prepared and knowledgeable in the event your pet does suffer a medical emergency. Please see the accompanying resource for more tips on how to handle an urgent medical situation with your pet.