When to See the Vet!

Since I am still out scampering about with my mom and pop-pop I have allowed my Gram to continue to write our articles without my help. I am holding my breath that she will do a good job. Let me know if she fails.

There comes a time in your dog’s life, just as it does it does in your life when it is necessary to see the doctor. We as humans, generally put it off as often as we can, but many of us wonder “how will I know when my dog needs to see the vet.”

Naturally we all know if there has been an accident or your dog is bleeding or has been bit by another animal these emergencies require seeing the vet at once. It is those other times when you think he/she is not feeling well, but don’t want to spend the time or money to just take them to see your veterinarian on what might be a wild goose chase.

In the following paragraphs I am going to try and give you a “bird’s eye” view of what symptoms to look for in your dog that might require a trip to the vet for its health’s sake.

Puppies, those wonderful full of mischief creatures are always into something. The most common problem is they have chewed and swallowed something they should not have. With the holiday approaching and treats are everywhere, puppies are great candidates for indigestion and toxic poisoning. Simple things like grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, avocados and chocolate can be deadly to a puppy. Tulip bulbs, antifreeze and alcohol also rank high in toxic poisoning. Feeding a puppy alcohol is often thought of as something funny to do, but that can create serious harm in a puppy’s internal system. If your puppy has ingested any of these items call your vet at once.

It is also a good idea to have your vet’s number taped near the phone in case of an emergency along with the telephone number of the ASPCA’s animal poison control center (888) 426-4435 (it is toll free.)

Puppies love to chew anything they can get into their mouths, things like holiday tinsel, pieces of clothing, Christmas ornaments, socks and even pieces of old shoes can get stuck in their intestines and throats and need medical treatment at once.

If you puppy is choking, check his mouth for the cause of choking, if you cannot find anything try the Heimlich maneuver on the puppy.

For a small puppy, sit on the floor and place the puppy face down on your knee so that your kneecap is just behind its ribcage. Gently but firmly push him down on your knee several times in a thrusting motion, checking to see if the object has popped out. Repeat if necessary!

For a larger puppy, from the rear wrap your arms around the puppy at its waist and lift it slightly to raise its hind quarters, place a fist behind its ribs and give it several quick pushes. Check to see if the object has been removed. Repeat if necessary!

Even if you have removed the object call your vet at once and take the puppy there.

Adult dogs can also need attention especially if they are breathing rapidly, have bleeding that cannot be stopped, vomiting, have diarrhea or are acting very lethargic.

Wounds that will not stop bleeding or are larger in size than a quarter should be attended to by your veterinarian.

Your vet should also attend to any type of breathing problems, there are many problems that can cause difficulty in a dog’s breathing that you as a novice would not be able to diagnose?

Occasional vomiting and diarrhea are fairly normal in a dog’s life as they are always finding wonderful things to get into. However, if the vomit or diarrhea has blood in it or your dog is not vomiting food or anything else it might have digested a quick trip to the vet is suggested. If your dog is vomiting and its stomach is bloated it could be gastric dilatation volvulus commonly known as bloat and is a serious condition requiring your vet’s attention.

A dog that is disinterested in what is going on around him/her and just lies on its bed barely lifting its head to acknowledge your presence requires a trip to the vet as it can be a sign of an underlying disease.

Other signs that may need a veterinarian’s attention is coughing, a sudden change in its normal behavior, increased water drinking, which can be a sign of kidney problems or diabetes.

Anytime your dog begins acting in an unusual way is a sign something is amiss and should be looked into.

Senior dogs age gracefully for the most part, and suffer the usual aches and pains that come with older age. Like their human counterparts with age comes a little pain.

However, if your senior dog suddenly starts limping or crying in pain a trip to the vet is needed. A dog that cannot walk or use its back legs may have a spinal disk problem and require emergency care.

If your dog suddenly becomes a picky or non-eater that can be a sign that something is not right internally. It is possible, like we humans, to have a bad day and not want to eat for one reason or another, but if it goes on for more than a day, something serious could be wrong.

Sudden or unexplained weight gain is also a sign that need attention, as it could be a sign of hypothyroidism or other underlying diseases.

While fading vision is a problem we all face as we age, the appearance of redness in the eye, puffiness, cloudiness, excessive squinting, or tearing could indicate a problem that needs medical attention.

I hope this little “bird’s eye” view of a few of the medical problems your dog may face has helped you become more alert and mindful.

Since our pets are a precious commodity and fill our lives with love and affection, they in turn deserve the best care we can give them. Care being our love and attention and when necessary the proper medical help to make their lives more pleasant and healthy.