If you are like me, you treat your dog like you would your own child. Food at the table, play dates at the park – even birthday parties do not seem too farfetched!There is nothing we wouldn’t do for our four legged friends. That is why when our dogs get sick, the first instinct going through our minds is to rush them to the vet. The problem? A trip to the vet can be quite pricey and give unnecessary anxiety to our fur babies, plus it is not always necessary. Here’s a list of issues when you should go to your vet for and when you shouldn’t:
Rush to the Vet:
- Seizure. Always call your vet if you suspect your dog has had a seizure.
- Swallowed unknown object. Always call your vet should you suspect your dog has swallowed a foreign body.
- Dog has been in a fight. Whether with a wild animal or a fellow dog, a rabies shot will be needed just in case. Plus there could be a hidden trauma.
- Sudden change in temperament. If your dog is normally calm and becomes aggressive, this is a big warning sign of something going on beneath the surface.
- Difficulty breathing. Dyspnea is also known as difficulty breathing and can manifest as wheezing, choking, weak and raspy breathing or respiratory arrest. This can be caused by a foreign body in the throat, allergic reaction, heart disease or pulmonary disease. If there is a foreign body present it is important not to try and extract it yourself – doing so may lodge the object even deeper, completely obstructing the airway. Breathing problems almost always indicate major dog health problems so do not wait to take immediate action.
- Dog Distended Abdomen or Abdominal Pain. Also known as “Bloat”. If you notice your dog’s abdomen is swollen and she seems to be in pain and/or uncomfortable then a serious medical problem necessitating immediate veterinary care is likely. The swelling may be accompanied by dry heaves, retching, weakness, collapse and difficulty breathing. This can be caused by air trapped in the stomach which can cause the stomach to twist over on itself. This is a life threatening situation. Immediately bring your dog to the vet for this one.
Call the vet first:
- Vomiting and diarrhea. These are common problems in dogs and while they can be sign of a more serious health issue, most of the time the problem will disappear within 24 hours. Just keep the food away for 4-6 hours and monitor your dog’s behavior.
- Loss of appetite. It may be a sign that your dog is in pain from his teeth or other parts of his body. Just like humans don’t like to eat when they are in pain, dogs are the same way. Most of the time this is nothing to worry about – unless it lasts longer than 24 hours. I would call the vet before actually bringing in your pup!
- Limping. Most of the time this is a minor problem, stemming from sleeping the wrong way or getting hurt from play. As with most cases monitor your dog for 24 hours and limit any physical activities for the day. If the problem doesn’t get better after a day or so, it could be a broken bone or even arthritis.