Chapter Thirty

Which Pet Situations are an Emergency?

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Fall in love with a dog, and in many ways you enter a new orbit, a universe that features not just new colors but new rituals, new rules, a new way of experiencing attachment.” – Caroline Knapp

It can be easy to make mountains out of molehills when your pet is sick, but knowing which situations warrant going to the vet immediately, and which can be delayed will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. 

Having experienced my fair-share of vet bills over the past few decades, I feel it’s important to have a greater understanding of what really warrants a visit, especially if you’re feeling a tad unsure.

After all, we only know what we know right?

So, let’s have a look at some of those more obvious reasons.


Inability to Bear Weight

If your dog is suddenly unable to bear weight on one of their limbs, she or he needs to see a veterinarian immediately.

This may be the sign of something serious like a broken bone, dislocated joint, or paralysis tick OR, something as minor as a strain or sprain. 

Regardless, it is important to have the injury examined as soon as possible, as the injury may begin to heal itself if you wait too long, leading to further possible visits down the track.

 

Obvious Signs of Pain

Dogs are evolutionarily conditioned not to show pain. 

Therefore, if your dog is displaying any signs of obvious pain, such as drooling, excessive panting, restlessness, lethargy, moaning, or yelping, do not hesitate to go to your veterinarian.

 

Pale Gums

The health of your dog’s gums is one of the best indications for their overall condition. 

Gums should be light pink, and capillary refill time (i.e. the amount of time it takes for gums to return their color after being pressed) should be short. 

If your dog’s gums are dark or very pale, seek veterinary assistance.

 

Excessive Vomitting/Diarrhea

It is not uncommon for a puppy/dog to experience a short bout of diarrhea or vomiting; after all, they are canine versions of human children. 

However, if your puppy continually shows symptoms of gastric upset, your dog should be seen by a vet. 

Besides the increased risk of dehydration, these may be underlying symptoms that something is seriously wrong.

 

Difficulty Breathing

Inability to breathe normally could be indicative of a larger issue, and may possibly be life threatening. 

Take your dog to the nearest veterinarian as soon as possible if this occurs.

 

Seizures

Although not uncommon, primarily for breeds such as Beagles and Siberian Huskies, seizures can be traumatic for an owner to witness. 

A seizure will result in collapse, uncontrollable shaking, and loss of control in the dog’s bladder and bowels. 

Seizures may be random, or a sign of a larger issue such as epilepsy or a brain tumor.

 

Refusal to Eat

So your dog’s gone off his chow? That’s not normal.

If your dog skips one meal, chalk that up to growing pains and adolescent angst (especially if she watches Game of Thrones). 

However, if your dog skips multiple meals, schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
 

Black Stool

Keep a mental log of your pet’s bowel movements (just one joy of puppy parenting)so that you can quickly tell if something is abnormal with your pet. 

For instance, an unusually dark and tarry stool can indicate bleeding in the GI tract, which is an emergency situation if not caught in time.

 

Ingestion of Toxic Substance

Any time your dog ingests a known toxin, such as chocolate, grapes, or xylitol, do not wait for symptoms to start before taking your dog to the veterinarian.

 

Gut Feeling

Finally, if something does not seem right with your dog, trust your instincts and schedule an appointment. 

A mother’s (or father’s) intuition is rarely wrong and if acted upon, could save you angst, pain and/or further visits to the Vet if something actually is wrong.

And, if your visit ends up being a false alarm, don’t give up on your gut instinct.

Keep listening to those carer/protector feelings, as they will rarely be wrong!

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Pup Update – Year 3

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I make tribute today to the other beautiful Cocker Spaniel in my life, Ralphie J. Ralphie is Jerry’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great….Uncle. Not sure how many Greats, but I think you get the picture. If you remember back to the beginning of our ‘Life with Dogs’ journey, I wrote how Jerry had come to be… a chance meeting at the 2017 Sydney Dog Lovers Show, where a beautiful cocker spaniel stole my heart. Meeting Ralphie J, with his massive paws, soft and gentle nature, his understanding and ability to sit with us (complete strangers) for such a long time – made Karun’s and my then search for a new puppy complete. Read our story in Chapter One here. The similarities in the picture above; not only their colouring and curly ears a match, but their undeniably gorgeous heart, softy nature and adventurous personality is like a carbon copy (even their favourite companions are similar… Jerry & Drooly, Ralphie & Fudge). Ralphie is now 16 years old, and having recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma (Cancer), his last few days are upon us. It highlights how the time we have with our beautiful animals is so very short, however I feel optimistic (thanks to Ralphie) that Jerry’s genes will allow him a long and exciting life ahead. Love & heart-filled wishes to Gayle, Ralphie and family as the next few days unfold. Handsome darling boy Ralphie J CEO UWDOGS, you hold a forever place in my heart.
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry

Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan


So now you’re feeling a little less anxious over what is, or maybe what isn’t an emergency, let’s discuss keeping your children safe. Next.

Watch this space – Chapter Thirty-One – Coming Soon

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