Get Ready — For Any Dog Medical Emergency (Guide)

No one wants to think that a catastrophe is waiting around the corner, especially when it involves our pets. However, emergencies happen all the time — and you’ll need to know how to react. For Instance, would you know what to do if your dog gets into that box of chocolates you set on the counter to put away later? Or if your beloved pup unexpectedly experiences a seizure? What about if Fido gets into a fight with the neighborhood bully dog and happens to get a severe bite?

So let’s get proactive instead of scared and handle any dog medical emergency with this handy guide. Here’s what you need to know.

Dog Seizure

Seizures — which are episodes of abnormal electrical brain activity — can occur for all kinds of reasons. As stated above, sometimes they happen due to toxin exposure. Other times, a seizure could be low blood sugar or certain brain diseases. 

In any case, if your dog has a seizure, here’s what you might see: 

  • Uncontrollable Shaking
  • Unable to Stand Up
  • Unresponsive 
  • Odd Facial Movements
  • Tremors
  • Loss of Bowel and bladder control

If this happens, here’s how to respond:

  1. Do not try to restrain your pet during the seizure.
  2. Keep your hands away from your dog’s mouth, as it may not be able to control accidental biting.
  3. Move away from any objects that might cause injury during the seizure.
  4. Call your vet and go to the care center ASAP.

Pet Poisoning

Dogs naturally want to explore their environments, which can sometimes lead to danger. Some of the toxic substances to dogs are obvious: rat poison, antifreeze, alcohol, snail/slug bait, or flea and tick products. Others may surprise you, including several common household foods: raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, some plants, and chocolate.

 If your pupster gets into any of the above substances, here are the most common symptoms:

  • Excessive Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

Here’s what to do in such a situation:

  1. Call your vet ASAP to get direct instructions.
  2. Go to the nearest vet hospital.
  3. If you cannot do the first two steps, call the National Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

For an Injury or Attack

Whether your dog gets into a fight with another animal, is hit by a car, or comes into contact with broken glass, an injury can be severe.

Exterior bleeding will be hard to miss, but internal bleeding can show itself through various symptoms. These may include:

  • Swollen Stomach
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Extreme Weakness

Sometimes you’ll see blood in your dog’s discharge, such as vomit, urine, stool, saliva, or nose. Whatever the case, vet care is a must — no matter how small the injury may appear. Here’s what to do:

Remove the dirt from and clean the wound for external bleeding, wrapping it with gauze or a clean towel. If an object gets lodged in the wound, stabilize it. Go to the vet or emergency center ASAP.

For internal bleeding: Get to your vet or emergency center ASAP.

Related read: Have a First-Aid Kit Ready & Know How to do CPR on dogs

Final Thoughts

While the three examples above are some of the most common dog emergencies that can affect pets, there are more to prepare for, too. See the below infographic, which lists causes, symptoms, and steps to take in the case of an allergic reaction, cardiac episode, gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat), choking, or overheating. You can save yourself further trouble and trauma if an emergency arises by doing a little research and prep now.

Dog Medical Emergency Guide created by Figo Pet Insurance.

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