When your dog is hurt or feeling unwell, it can be hard to determine if you should bring them to an emergency vet or wait to see your primary care veterinarian during their usual business hours. In this post, our Maury County vets list 5 signs that indicate your dog might need emergency veterinary care.
When To Take Your Dog To The Emergency Vet
It's a dog parent's worst nightmare, it's late at night or a long weekend and suddenly there is something wrong with the pup. The trouble is, you don't know if the injury or illness is severe enough to justify a trip to the emergency vet, or if your dog will be okay until you can get them to your usual vet.
To help you determine whether to take your dog to the emergency vet, here are a few symptoms that dog owners should never ignore:
Hard Swollen Abdomen
There are various reasons why your dog's abdomen may become hard and swollen (or bloated), ranging from heart failure or liver dysfunction to a uterine infection, internal bleeding, or 'bloat'. It's never a good idea to ignore signs of a bloated abdomen in dogs. If your dog is showing signs of a bloated abdomen, it's time to bring them to the emergency vet.
If your dog’s stomach becomes bloated, and you notice other symptoms such as pacing, repeated unsuccessful attempts at vomiting, or saliva coming back up, your dog could be suffering from Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), also known as "Stomach Torsion," or “Dog Bloat.” Bloat is a very serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention!
Exposure to Toxins
There are many common human foods, medications, household products, and garden plants that are toxic to dogs. If you see your pup eating something they shouldn't, it's best not to wait for your dog to become severely ill. Call your vet immediately! When it comes to poisons, early treatment is essential for good outcomes.
Some of the most common toxins include:
- Grapes & Raisins
- The artificial sweetener Xylitol
- Azaleas and rhododendrons
- Slug bait
- Tulip and Daffodil Bulbs
- Over-the-counter medications such as pain-killers
Pain is always an emergency! If your dog is exhibiting obvious signs of pain such as vocalizing, panting, drooling, or profoundly limping don't let your dog needlessly suffer. When your dog is in pain, it's time to go to the emergency vet for treatment.
Vomiting & Diarrhea
At some point in time, all dogs will vomit, and most dogs will have the occasional loose stool. However, repeated bouts of vomiting or diarrhea can quickly result in dehydration which can be extremely serious. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be symptoms of serious conditions such as poisoning or gastrointestinal obstruction. If your dog is repeatedly vomiting or passing loose stool, call your vet or emergency vet immediately for advice.
If you have a young puppy it's very important to monitor for signs of Parvo. Parvo is a common disease in puppies that can have potentially deadly consequences. If your puppy is suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, call your vet or emergency vet straight away! Parvo is extremely contagious, be sure to let your vet know of your suspicions so they can take the appropriate quarantine measures in order to protect other animals.
Inability to Urinate
An inability to urinate (or reluctance to urinate) could be a sign of a bladder infection or something much more serious. While bladder infections can be very painful for dogs they aren't life-threatening. That said, an inability to urinate could be a sign that your dog's urinary tract has become obstructed by bladder stones. If your dog is unable to urinate there is a very good chance they are in pain and require urgent veterinary care. Call your vet or emergency vet as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, it will be up to you whether to take your dog to the emergency veterinary clinic or your primary care vet for an emergency appointment. However, when it comes to protecting your dog's health, we believe it's best to err on the side of caution. When in doubt, contact your emergency vet for help.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.