Dog Medical Emergency Guide created by Figo Pet Insurance.
Medical emergencies are a real, though unfortunate, part of pet ownership. Whether it’s an allergic reaction, broken bone or heat stroke, accidents can happen. It’s vital to recognize any signs of severe trauma in your pet, which may include pale gums, excessive bleeding, difficulty standing and rapid breathing.
Pet parents may find it difficult to make rational decisions in a crisis, especially if an emergency occurs in the middle of the night. For this reason, it’s critical to stay calm and know how to handle the situation. Read on to learn about some common pet emergencies and the steps you can take to help your furry friend.
Many common household items that are generally safe for humans can pose a threat to pets if accidently consumed. These include:
- Pest poison
- Sugar-free sweeteners
- Alcoholic beverages
- Raisins, grapes and currants
Ingesting these items could cause your pet to experience symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, seizures and disorientation. Call the veterinarian immediately if your pet exhibits these signs of poisoning. If you can’t reach the vet or are unsure whether a certain product is toxic, call the number for poison control.
Heat stroke can be a serious threat to pets year-round, although it’s more likely to happen during the summer months. For this reason, it’s crucial to never leave a pet in a hot car. Heatstroke occurs when an animal’s body temperature increases above 105 degrees. Dog breeds that have heavier coats or those that have medical conditions are typically more susceptible to heatstroke. Signs that your pooch may be overheating include:
- Excessive panting and drooling
- Bright red tongue or gums
If your pet is experiencing these symptoms, remove it from the hot environmentand place a wet towel on its back.It is imperative to cool your dog gradually because using cold water can cause dangerous blood pressure changes. If your dog’s condition doesn’t improve within about 10 minutes, take it to your vet for immediate medical attention.
Pets are curious by nature and like to chew on almost anything. For this reason, they may be susceptible to swallowing foreign objects, such as household items. If an object becomes lodged in their windpipe, they may begin to choke. Dogs can also choke on large pieces of food, toys and bones. Symptoms of choking include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Forceful coughing
If your pet is choking, open its mouth and perform a visual check to see if you can spot an object. If you feel or see an obstruction, carefully perform a finger sweep to remove the object if it’s reachable. If it cannot be reached, perform the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge the item. Seek immediate care at an emergency animal hospital if you can’t remove the object.
While not every emergency is life threatening to your furry friend, many issues can turn critical quickly. In most cases, your pet can be treated successfully if the issue is addressed early and properly. For more information on how to respond to a medical emergency for your pet, see the following resource.