puppy under blanket

Many times, as a pet owner, it’s hard to know whether your dog’s condition is a true medical emergency or not… or more importantly, if it warrants getting up in the middle of the night to seek medical attention from a veterinary professional you don’t know.  Listed below are some signs that warrant getting to an emergency vet ASAP.

  • Difficulty breathing, which may be manifested as blue gums, coughing, panting constantly, or stretching the head and neck while breathing.
  • Constant coughing and inability to rest through the night.
  • A distended, “bloated” abdomen.
  • Non-productive retching (which is classic for gastric-dilitation volvulus).
  • Anxiety or restlessness (often a sign of pain).
  • Pale gums (often seen with internal bleeding or anemia).
  • An elevated heart rate (> 160 beats per minute at home)
  • A respiratory rate of  > 60 breaths per minute at home while resting.
  • Crying out in pain.
  • Jaundiced (yellow gums).
  • Not being able to move or walk or dragging of the back legs.
  • Extreme lethargy.
  • An significant amounts of bleeding.
  • Any trauma.
  • Any poisoning or toxin ingestion.
  • Vomiting more than two or three times.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.
  • Abnormal odor from your dog.
  • Fever (greater than 102 degrees F)
  • Squinting, bulging or painful eyeballs.
  • Straining to urinate, making multiple trips to urinate, squatting to urinate without producing any urine.
  • Collapse.
  • Anything that makes you worried.
  • Tremors or seizures.
  • Any abnormal behavior that you are worried about (i.e. acting aloof or particularly clingy).

While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it gives you a good general idea of possible emergency conditions.  Keep in mind that the sooner you diagnose and treat a problem, the less expensive it often is.  When in doubt, if you are concerned, bring them in, because you know your dog the best.  The time is a small sacrifice for your dog’s health and your peace of mind.