As a pet owner, it is up to you to know when to call an emergency vet. If you are a first time dog owner, it can be difficult to tell the difference between when your dog needs to just rest and when your dog needs medical intervention.
#1 Difficulty Breathing
If your pet has difficulty breathing for a prolonged period of time, your dog may need medical intervention. It is normal for your dog to pant excessively after a run or when outside on a hot day. However, when your dog is just chilling in your family room on a Friday evening, they should not be panting excessively.
If your dog is panting excessively, coughing up liquid, and their gums have changed from looking a nice and healthy pink to a blue or gray color, your dog needs immediate assistance. Long-term issues with breathing can indicate more serious issues are at play.
#2 Repeated Vomiting and Diarrhea
If your pet vomits a single time, it doesn't warrant emergency care in most cases. However, if your pet continues to vomit repeatedly or experience repeated cases of diarrhea, you need to get them to the vet.
The ingestion of something toxic can cause your dog to experience relentless vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting and/or diarrhea can also be a sign that your dog's intestines are blocked. Both of these situations require medication intervention.
Additionally, if your dog continues to experience vomiting and diarrhea, they may become dehydrated as well.
#3 Bloated and Distended Abdomen
If your dog's stomach looks all out of sorts, pay attention to this visual sign. Your dog's stomach can get all out of sorts when gas accumulates inside of their body, rotating their stomach and stressing out their veins and arteries. A bloated stomach can actually restrict blood flow to important organs within your dog.
A bloated and distended abdomen, when serious, is usually accompanied by unnecessary panting and restlessness in your dog.
#4 Direct Trauma
If your dog experiences direct and serious trauma, you should get your dog to an animal hospital. When your dog experiences serious trauma, they may have internal injuries that are not going to be obvious by just looking at your dog.
Examples of direct and serious trauma include being hit by a vehicle, falling from a tall height, such as from a second-story deck or patio. An attack or fight with another animal is another type of serious trauma that requires medical attention.
If your dog experiences difficulty breathing, repeated vomiting and diarrhea, bloated and distended abdomen or direct trauma, you need to get your dog to an emergency vet right away.