10 Most Common Dog Emergencies in East San Jose CA
Dog emergencies can be scary situations. Yet, being prepared is the best chance you have at getting your pet the care they need as fast as possible. Having an understanding of the most common dog emergencies can help you react quickly and with a clear head to stabilize your pet while you get them to the vet.
These are not in any particular order — all are relatively common among dogs.
1. Car Accident
Dogs can get into car accidents after they’ve escaped from your backyard or slipped through an open door. Car injuries can be severe, and if your dog has been hit by a car, they’ll need immediate veterinary attention. To get your pet safely to the vet, cover wounds with a clean cloth, or any clean material that is available. In order to avoid causing more injury, use a blanket or other makeshift stretcher to transport them. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic, if possible, to let them know what happened at that you’re on your way. This helps them better prepare for your arrival.
2. Bite Wounds
Bite wounds can come from another dog, a cat, or even a wild animal. If ever your dog is attacked or gets into a scuffle with an unfamiliar or wild animal, it’s important you take your pet to the vet, even if it seems their injuries are minor. Rabies is a serious concern in these instances, and your pet will require medical attention, even if they are up to date on their rabies vaccination. If your dog suffers from deep, bleeding wounds, cover them with a clean cloth and apply pressure to stem the bleeding. Take your pet directly to your vet or an emergency animal hospital.
3. Eye Injuries
Eye injuries can be serious and result in blindness or the loss of an eye. If you notice your pet scratching or rubbing at their eye more than usual, try to keep them from causing more damage. Some symptoms to watch for that suggest an eye injury include:
- Redness in the eye that doesn’t get better
- Blood coming from the eye
- Sudden blindness or vision loss (stumbling, bumping into things, whining)
- Runny eyes with colored discharge
- Sudden and persistent dilation of the pupils
These symptoms are all serious and demand immediate veterinary attention, especially if more than one symptom is present at the same time.
Our pets are more vulnerable to heatstroke than we are, and the condition can quickly become deadly. Since dogs and cats cannot sweat like we do, they expel heat through panting, which is far less effective. Flat-faced breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Persians are at greater risk due to their constricted airways. Warm, humid days are especially risky for pets because the humidity makes it even more difficult to regulate their body temperature due to the moisture in the air.
Signs of overheating in dogs include:
- Excessive panting
- Lethargy/unresponsive to commands
- Bright red or very pale gums
- Excessive saliva
Excessive panting and lethargy are early signs of heatstroke, and it’s important to act before the problem progresses. If you are ever unsure about whether or not your dog is overheating, err on the side of caution and get them out of the heat. Take them inside to air conditioning, or if you don’t have access to AC, have them rest in the shade, and provide cool water to drink. Filling a kiddie pool with cool water can also help. Whenever you are trying to cool your dog down, DO NOT use water that is too cold. This can cause a shock to the system and cause even more problems. Instead, try to bring down their body temperature with cool wet towels on their body and call your veterinarian immediately. If your dog is already collapsed or seizing, it’s important to take them directly to an emergency vet.
Vomiting and diarrhea are sometimes recognized as emergencies. Dogs often vomit when eating something that doesn’t sit right with them, and diarrhea can happen for many reasons, much of them mundane. The key is to recognize when the symptoms are dangerous. If the vomiting or diarrhea is repeated and continuous, it could be a sign of poisoning, an intestinal obstruction, or a gastrointestinal infection. If blood is present, this is another reason for concern. With vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration is a serious concern, especially for smaller breed dogs. If the vomiting/diarrhea continues longer than 12 hours, your pet becomes weak and unresponsive, or you notice blood in their stool or vomit, contact your veterinarian immediately, or go directly to an emergency vet. Furthermore, if your dog keeps trying to vomit with little to no expulsion, take them immediately to an emergency vet.
Poisons are all around your home and garden and they include pesticides, cleaners, fertilizers, plants, human medications, certain foods, and more. Dogs, being voracious eaters and endlessly curious, can often get themselves into a lot of trouble. Most poisonings occur when you are not around, and the next thing you know, your dog is vomiting, seizing, or collapsed. Often, you can deduce what your pet got into by the trail they leave, or where you find them. Yet, it can be hard to know what substances are cause for concern, and which will pass through your pet without harm.
Here are some of the most common dog poisons around your home:
- Food like chocolate, grapes/raisins, nuts, xylitol (an artificial sweetener), onions, garlic, and high-fat/high-sodium meats
- Human medications
- Fertilizers, especially those with blood or bone meal in them that smell especially appetizing to dogs
- Pesticides and rodenticides
To avoid contact with these and your dog, try to limit their access to human food and be sure to store your medications somewhere well out of paws’ reach. Use antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, and rodenticides according to their directions and keep pets out of the area where you used them until it is completely safe. Additionally, try to use pet-safe alternatives to avoid any issues in the first place!
7. Breathing Difficulties
Breathing difficulties can happen for many different reasons including eating non-food items, choking on a bone, or an allergic reaction. Some dogs have a habit of putting anything and everything in their mouth, and sometimes this results in accidental or intentional swallowing. Some foreign bodies will get lodged in the airways or throat and cause breathing difficulties, while others are small enough to work their way through part of the gastrointestinal tract and cause an obstruction there.
Choking on bones can happen if your dog is given human food to eat such as a chicken leg or turkey breast that still has the bone in it. Despite their powerful bite, your dog cannot and should not consume bones found in human food.
Lastly, a severe allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock, which can result in constriction of your dog’s airways. This is a serious condition and is often preceded by swelling of the face and muzzle, hives, vomiting/diarrhea, and restlessness. Left untreated, anaphylactic shock can cause death. Allergens that can cause anaphylactic shock in dogs include insect bites, injection reactions, food allergies, certain medications, and chemicals.
8. Gastric Dilation Volvulus (Bloat)
GDV, or bloat, is more common in larger breed dogs and is caused by an accumulation of gas in the stomach. The stomach becomes distended with the gas and can twist on itself, cutting off the entrance and exit to the stomach this can quickly result in shock and even death. Symptoms of bloat include an abdomen that is swollen and hard to the touch and repeated attempts at vomiting that produce little to no expulsion. Immediate veterinary attention is needed to ensure survival.
Seizures are a neurological condition that causes the body to collapse and experience uncontrolled spasms. Most seizures last fewer than two minutes, yet if a seizure lasts more than five minutes or if several seizures occur in quick succession, your dog needs immediate veterinary attention to prevent permanent neurological damage. During a seizure, it’s important to protect the dog from injuring itself, but otherwise, do not try to interrupt the seizure. Your dog will not swallow its tongue, so do not try to put your hand or anything else in your dog’s mouth. After the seizure is over, reassure your dog with a calm soothing voice and gently petting him. As long as the seizure was not prolonged, or your dog had multiple seizures in a row, you can make an appointment with your regular veterinarian at your earliest convenience. However, if your dog had a long seizure or multiple seizures, it’s best to take them into an emergency vet as soon as possible.
10: Heart Failure
Heart failure is often associated with older dogs, but any age can be affected, especially if your dog is overweight or has underlying health problems. The most difficult thing about heart failure is that it’s hard to diagnose before an actual heart attack. Many dogs will develop congestive heart failure later in life, which affects either one side or both sides of the heart. Some signs of CHF include coughing, breathing difficulty, decreased stamina, and lower exercise tolerance. With overexcitement or too much exercise, the affected heart cannot pump blood fast enough, causing a lack of oxygen to the muscles and brain, resulting in a sudden collapse. If this occurs, or you notice the symptoms leading up to a heart attack, bring your pet to an emergency vet as soon as possible.