Do you know the signs that you should take your dog to the veterinarian? Dogs are not people, and while it might be obvious in some cases that there’s a veterinary emergency, other cases can slip right past you if you don’t know what to look for. Here are six times you need to find a pet hospital ASAP:
- If your dog is having any difficulty breathing. If you hear any kind of wheezing, raspy breath, or something that sounds like choking, don’t laugh it off or delay. It could be something as minor as allergies, but it could be something stuck in the dog’s throat, or even heart or lung disease. Breathing problems in a dog are never normal, so look for an animal hospital where you can get help quickly.
- Seek out an emergency veterinarian if your dog has changed mental status. Your healthy dog should be alert and responsive to you and the surrounding environment. If the dog is unresponsive, or if it is showing confusion or lack of coordination, it almost certainly needs immediate veterinary attention. This is also the case if your dog seems profoundly lethargic.
- Carefully monitor any cases of vomiting and diarrhea. These are pretty common in dogs, usually the result of simple stomach upset from eating something they shouldn’t. But they can be signs of very serious issues. If the stomach issues are accompanied by weakness or severe lethargy, last more than 24 hours, or are if you notice any blood, be sure to see a veterinarian immediately. You should also seek help from your vet if your dog has a chronic condition like diabetes.
- Get emergency help immediately if the dog’s stomach is distended and sore to the touch. Especially if the distended stomach and tenderness is accompanied by retching, breathing problems, or weakness. This could be a sign that the stomach is twisted, the spleen has ruptured, or there is a serious internal bleeding issue. This is a serious emergency, and the faster you get help, the greater the chance your dog will have a good outcome.
- Keep an eye on your dog’s eyes. It’s impossible to reason with your dog and convince it not to keep scratching at an eye that’s bothering it. In fact, some dogs will manage to scratch their own eyes while aiming for their ears, and once they’ve irritated the eye will keep pawing at it in discomfort. This means that eye infections in dogs can quickly go from minor to serious and result in blindness. If you see excessive tearing and swelling, or if your dog is constantly pawing at its eye, see a vet. Even if it’s not yet serious, a veterinarian’s help is often necessary to prevent it from becoming so.
- Seek out an emergency vet if you have any suspicions about toxins.
If you see your dog eat something toxic, you know to contact your veterinarian immediately. Even if you didn’t see it, though, it’s not worth waiting in most cases. If you see chewed up pills, bags, bottles, or containers of rat poison, fertilizer, cleaner, or anything else that’s toxic call for advice immediately. Sometimes the best thing to do is immediately induce vomiting; other times the dog will need to go in and get emergency help.
You love your dog, and your dog loves you. Don’t want to get help for a beloved pet in an emergency, and educate yourself on what conditions require immediate medical help.