Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Emergency Care for Dogs, from Will Draper, DVM

12/17/2010

  • Will Draper, DVM:

    So a question on the message board: How do I know if my dog needs emergency care?

  • Steven Belew:

    So two weeks ago my wife and I were taking a hike, and we were walking around a pond and we had walked past. And all of a sudden, we heard Fenway yelp. And it turns out, I had grabbed her and I held her up and there is yellow jacket that was still on at the back of her behind. It had stung her once and looks like it was continuously stinging her. And we had knocked it off. And the next thing you know her breathing kind of began to get labored and her cheeks puffed up.

    Thank goodness I had all her emergency information for our emergency vet. We were able to get in and end up getting her steroid shot. Had we not had that information, it would have been bad news.

  • Will:

    Absolutely. And most people kind of know where the emergency vet is. But when you are in that sort of situation, it's hard to remember any of that. So, excellent that you had that. A lot of vets now will actually give you an ID card with your pet on it that has the emergency clinic information on that. So it's always a good idea to keep that with you.

    And an easy thing to do is just put it in your phone. Save “Pet 911” with the number in there. Even if you don’t remember it, you can call it. So that is an important thing. But also, again, some of the signs you saw ... What if you hadn’t seen Fenway get stung by a bee?

    Pale gums are a sign that a dog is going into shock or is possibly bleeding somewhere. Are there any wounds? Are there any sore areas? Because the dog can get hit by a car and come in the house, and you really don’t know it unless you actually know your dog and know to look for things that are wrong.

    Is there any limping? Could there be any broken bones? Do you see blood anywhere? Are they panting a lot like they are in pain?

    Is your pet vomiting or having diarrhea? Could they have gotten into a toxin? Chocolate will make them sick, certain plants or vegetables as we talked about earlier. So knowing what’s abnormal for your dog is going to let you know whether it’s an emergency or not that needs attention.

  • Merry Morrow:

    Dr. Draper, let me ask you a question. I mean, we’ve had to take her for emergency care a number of times, especially during this last year. And she’s always agreeable to go. But what if she were to turn violent? How do you handle that? What would I have done if all of a sudden she turned on me?

  • Will:

    That’s a great question. And if you notice there is an area where she’s having discomfort or pain, take precautions. And an easy thing to do is to get a towel or a blanket and lay it over their head, and then very carefully try to pick them up and get them in the car very carefully. And try to put them somewhere where they can be stabilized and not necessarily roll around or fall around in the car lot. There are also pet ambulances that you can call, that will help you. That’s another great number to have -- in case you have a larger dog, in particularly --  that can help you get your dog to the veterinarian safely. And they also know some pet CPR and first aid and may be able to help aid your pet until you get to a veterinarian.

Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
Watch Video Now