Ask Nancy: How Do I Decide if my Dog Needs Emergency Care?

While it’s always best to let a vet decide just what is wrong and what treatment is needed, often we owners need to decide if we should see the vet right now or if it can wait until our regular vet opens for office hours. Here is a general overview of what to look for and think about to help you decide –

If your dog might have gotten into anything toxic (including toxic plants), appears dehydrated (see if a pinch of skin over the shoulder blade stays stuck in a tent form or flows back down normally when released), has a rectal temp over 103.5F (normal is 100.5-102.5 Fahrenheit or 38 – 39.2 Celsius), has gums or tongue that look white, blue, gray or yellow tinted where they are normally pink, has a slow color refill if you press on a pink area of gum or tongue, is having difficulty breathing, has lost the use of a leg or cannot stand, is in obvious pain, or is becoming more lethargic and non responsive to you as time goes on then you may want to get the dog in to see an emergency vet if one is available in your area.

This site may help you locate an emergency vet if you need one at home or on the road http://www.vetlocator.com/hotline.php

Otherwise you may want to see your vet first thing when they open if the symptoms that are worrying you persist.

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