5 Life-Threatening Dog Emergencies and Tips to Handle Them
Note: Please contact your vet as soon as you possibly can about your dogs condition before administering any treatment that you're not comfortable with. These are only tips. I am not a veterinarian and this should not be taken as professional medical advice. Your dog should still be seen by a vet, but some of these tips can help your dog before you can get medical attention.
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Also keep in mind that if your dog is in pain, he/she may bite even if biting has never been a problem. A muzzle is highly recommended when trying to aid a dog in pain.
Your dog is bleeding, has been bitten, or has been cut
- Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or water and evaluate the severity of the woundA cone is a good way to prevent further injury.
- The nose and tongue (and other parts of the body) have more blood vessels than others, so your dog can bleed profusely from the smallest of nicks. If this occurs, clean the injured area and apply pressure until the bleeding begins to slow or completely stop. To prevent infection, use a topical antibiotic ointment, but make sure the dog cannot lick it off. Continue to watch for infection.
- If the wound is deep or still bleeding, take your dog to the vet immediately. Make sure you continually apply pressure. The vet may need to give the dog an oral antibiotic and/or stitches.
- If your dog has a bite wound, he/she is at a very high risk of infection. Call your vet as soon as possible. Animals mouths have a great deal of bacteria and a bite can cause serious problems.
Your dog has a fracture
- Keep in mind that there are four common types of fractures
- Closed (bone is fractured but there is no broken skin)
- Compound (bone and skin are broke this can cause infection!)
- Epiphyseal (occurs in the growth plate of a bone)
- Greenstick (partial bone fracture)
- Get your dog to a vet immediately to control the pain and to prevent anymore injury
- If the fracture is on the dogs body or head, you have to be very careful. Please use a stretcher or board to carry the dog to the car.
- If possible, have someone ride with you in the car and have one person watch/care for the dog while one person drives. You don't want the dog to be scared and move around.
- If the fracture is on the dogs leg, if it's possible, apply a splint. A splint can be made with two straight pieces of wood or metal. Put one on each side of the dogs leg and wrap it up in a bandage, not too tight and not too loose. You don't want the dog to lose circulation in his/her leg.
Your dog has been poisoned
- Symptoms to watch for: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, swelling of the tongue and other mouth tissues, excessive salivation, seizures (there are others, but these are most common)
- Get to a vet as soon as possible. There is no time to waste when your dog has been poisoned. If you're unsure if your dog has consumed something poisonous, don't take the risk and wait. Go to the vet just in case. Some of the symptoms are slow to show up and then it can be too late.
- Sometimes a vet may encourage you to induce vomiting, and sometimes that can cause more harm than good. Make sure to ask a vet before doing anything!
- Some possible toxins or allergens:
- Over 700 types of plants many that are in everyday homes and gardens
- Garden chemicals
- Foods, like chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocado, onions, garlic, caffeinated beverages, alcoholic beverages, macadamia nuts, meat fat, pits from peaches or plums, raw eggs/raw meat/raw fish, salt, and any foods sweetened with xylitol (like some candies, gum, diet foods, and baked goods)
- Poisons for household pests (ants, mice, rats)
- Lead paint chips
- Insect bites, bee stings, poisonous spider bites, snake bites, scorpion stings (in some areas)
- There are many, many, many more things that can be toxic or fatal for your dog. Please check your house for any and all things your dog can reach and can eat/lick and remove them!
Your dog is suffering from heatstroke
- Watch for the symptoms:
- red/pale gums
- bright red tongue
- thick and sticky saliva
- rapid panting
- dizziness or weakness
- Use a hose, shower, tub of cold water to wet and cool the dog
- Check temperature every ten minutes if you can a dog with moderate heatstroke with a body temperature from 104-106 will probably recover if given first aid ASAP. Severe heatstroke is a body temperature of over 106. You need to get your dog to the vet ASAP with severe heatstroke. If the vet is farther than 5 minutes away, continue to cool the dog with water until the body temperature falls to 106 or below. Then take him/her to the vet wrapped in a wet, cool blanket or towel.
- Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage and your dog may not fully recover. He/she will be at a higher risk of having a heatstroke after having it already.
AVOID HEATSTROKE: Restrict exercise on hot days. Never leave your dog in a vehicle, not even for a few minutes! Outside dogs must have shade and water. Dont leave them on concrete or asphalt. Bring them inside as much as possible.
Your dog has Bloat (Also known as Gastric Dilation and Volvulus GDV)
- This is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach fills with air and puts pressure on other organs and diaphragm. When it is filled with air, it can rotate on itself, which will cut off blood supply which causes stomach tissue to die.
- This is what Marley from Marley & Me died from.
- One third of dogs with bloat do not survive, even with treatment
- Symptoms to be aware of: restlessness, reluctance to lie down, pacing, rapid swelling of abdomen, non-productive vomiting, heavy salivation, shock, rapid heart rate, weak pulse
- Male dogs and deep-chested dogs are most at risk
- If you notice these symptoms, get to your vet immediately.
**My mom spreads my food out on the floor so that I eat slower. Since I eat so fast and have a short face (French Bulldogs are brachycephalic), I take in a lot of air when I eat, which is dangerous. I recommend spreading your dogs food on a placemat on the floor instead of allowing them to eat quickly out of a bowl.
Its very important to me that you are prepared for any kind of emergency with your dog. I hope you never need to use this information, but please keep it on hand in case you ever need it. You don't want to have to spend time researching what to do in an event like this. Make sure you know the information now and then you'll be prepared to care for my friend!
Does your vet know even the smallest details about your dog? These details could save your dog's life!
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