Thanks to Guest Author Mila Joseph for this article.
No matter how well we look after our pets, sometimes they end up suffering from the effects of a life threatening health problem. Some problems are easily treated, but others require emergency intervention from a veterinarian. Pet emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, but here are a few of the most common reasons for an out of hours visit to the vet.
1. Eating the Wrong Foods
A lot of people treat their canine best friend as another human. This is fatal. Dogs are not people and should not be treated as such. They can’t eat the same food as us without suffering from side effects because their digestive systems are not designed to cope with the things we like to eat. Chocolate is particularly dangerous to dogs, so never feed your pet chocolate unless it is a pet-friendly variety. Other foods your dog should never eat are grapes and raisins.
Aside from poisonous foods, dogs are also susceptible to ingesting other types of poison. Rodent poisons are sometimes attractive to dogs, especially the types of dogs who will eat anything. Symptoms of poisoning include:
- Foaming at the mouth
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Bleeding from the nose and mouth
To prevent a poisoning incident, never put rat poison down where a dog may find it, and if you suspect your dog may have ingested rodent poison take him to the vet immediately.
3. Swallowing Foreign Objects
Some dogs find it impossible to distinguish between food and foreign objects. This means a lone sock or a plastic ball is fair game to a Labrador with a penchant for chewing. The trouble is a lot of dogs end up in the emergency room having ingested a totally inappropriate object. Small objects can often pass straight through, but larger or awkward objects get stuck and end up causing a potentially fatal intestinal blockage. Symptoms include:
- Distended abdomen
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
4. Allergic Reaction
Dogs are just as susceptible to allergic reactions as humans, so if a bee stings your pet or he comes into contact with some other allergen, he may go into anaphylactic shock, which is a life threatening allergic reaction. Dogs often develop allergies over time, so be vigilant to the symptoms, which may include:
- Itchy/runny eyes
- Excessive scratching
- Scabby/itchy skin
If a dog has allergies to pollen and dust, he is likely to be allergic to an insect sting or bite. And if the worst happens and he has a massive allergic reaction to an allergenic substance, he will need to be taken to the emergency room immediately.
Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to figure out what is wrong with your pet when his symptoms are not clear-cut. If in doubt, you should always contact a vet for advice, and if you suspect your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have (particularly if he may have ingested human medication), make sure you give your vet as much information as possible.
The author of this post is Mila Joseph, an employee at Pleasant Plains, a leading veterinary hospital in New York. Mila is also an animal rights activist and spends her weekends hiking with her friends.