At Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, we have seen countless dog emergencies over the years from the San Francisco and surrounding areas. Some of these visits have been quick onset emergencies—like being hit by a car, while others developed over time.
Like humans, pets are sometimes hard to read when it comes to experiencing distress. Because they cannot speak for themselves, how do you know what constitutes an emergency trip to your nearest animal hospital? What are the signs to look for?
The first step is knowing your dog’s eating, digestive, and sleeping habits, along with his or her overall temperament. The more you’ve established this baseline, the quicker and better you will know when things begin to look concerning.
The obvious signs of a definite animal hospital visit include:
- Complete lethargy or non-responsiveness – this means your dog does not respond to your voice and could be serious
- Difficulty breathing – your dog’s breathing is rapid and/or shallow. Half of all trips to an animal hospital are breathing-related
- Bloating – this is one of the most dangerous complications your dog can face
- Seizures – one seizure may not be a problem, but any more than this and your dog should be seen
- Uncontrollable dry heaving – throwing up without anything coming out is a sign of serious trouble
- Heavy bleeding – any type of bleeding is dangerous but uncontrollable bleeding can be life-threatening
- Severe and chronic confusion – your dog is suddenly unable to recognize commands, walks into things, falls down the stairs, and/or barks angry at you
- Not eating or drinking – sometimes a dog will miss a meal here or there, but once the non-eating status continues into the next day or the next day, your dog should be seen
Keep in mind that every AAHA-accredited hospital, like Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, is required to provide 24-hour care, whether this is through their own facility or by referring you to another one. It is nice knowing that, in this day and age, emergency care is always available.
In other cases, where there might be time to question a change in your pet’s condition, a phone call to your nearest San Francisco veterinarian, like Nor Cal Vets, can be made. Should you find yourself needing to make this phone call, you will want to be prepared with certain information:
- Your dog’s symptoms
- What happened?
- How long?
Veterinarians receive emergency phone calls all the time, so feel rest assured that a veterinarian is always available to help.
No one knows your dog better than you, which makes you the greatest determiner of any change in condition. And in the case of your dog’s compromised health, because a dog cannot speak for himself or herself, it is better to be safe than sorry.
For questions regarding any concerns you might have about your dog, contact Nor Cal Vets Emergency and Specialty Hospital at norcalvet.com or 415.413.7363.