For as much as we love them, they can be some pretty clumsy rascals. They’re also athletes, whether that means being a world-class athlete (fetch!!) or a lazy lump who barely moves (still fetch!!). All of that translates to injuries. We want our fur babies to stay healthy, so what should you do when your pup gets injured?
1. Sprains and strains
A sprain is an injury to the soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons. A strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons, which are made of tissue that connects bones together.
Symptoms of a sprain or strain include pain in the affected area, swelling and tenderness to touch. The most common areas for sprains or strains are the joints (ankles, knees), backs and shoulders.
If you suspect your dog has sustained a sprain or strain you should take him/her to see your veterinarian as soon as possible so that he/she can assess your dog’s injuries properly and determine if treatment will be required. Treatment usually involves rest from activity for several days until symptoms subside enough for your dog’s body part(s) to heal naturally with time alone; however sometimes anti-inflammatory medication needs to be prescribed by your vet along with some form of physical therapy if there has been significant damage done during the injury.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can be caused by any blow to the head, including falls and car accidents (as well as playing). Concussions are generally mild in nature but can also be very severe.
A dog who has suffered a concussion may appear normal at first but experience changes in behavior later on. Common symptoms include:
- Headaches or body aches
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Nausea and vomiting
3. Fractured bones
Fractured bones can be a serious problem, especially if they are not treated right away. In most cases, when a dog breaks or fractures a bone, the injury is serious enough that they need to see a veterinarian immediately. You should always take your dog to see your veterinarian if you are concerned about an injury or think something might be broken. If you think your dog has fractured a bone but are unsure about how severe it is or what type of treatment is best for his/her specific needs then consult with your vet before taking any action yourself such as splinting or wrapping the area with bandages.
Hernias are bulges in the abdomen caused by weakness in a portion of the abdominal wall. In dogs, this is typically due to straining during defecation. Hernias can be treated with surgery, but they’re usually not life-threatening and will go away on their own if left alone.
To minimize your dog’s risk of developing a hernia: keep him at a healthy weight, make sure he has easy access to water and food so he doesn’t have to strain while eating or drinking, don’t let him drink too much water at once (this can cause him to strain), take him on walks regularly (as exercise will help strengthen his muscles), exercise his back legs as much as possible (for example, by playing fetch).
5. Eye injuries
Eye injuries are common in dogs, and can be caused by foreign objects, chemicals or other irritants. Eye injuries may require immediate medical attention if you suspect your dog has suffered a puncture wound. If an object has penetrated the eye, take your pet to the vet immediately to have it removed or treated.
Eye injuries can also cause blindness if left untreated over time. To prevent eye injury in your dog, make sure that its environment is clean and free of any sharp objects or chemicals that may harm their delicate eyesight.
Injuries happen, to all of us, even dogs!
Injuries happen to everyone, even your dog. Whether it’s from a fall or car accident, from playing too hard or getting bit by another dog—the list goes on.
Most of us know that dogs can get hurt in lots of ways: falling down stairs, being hit by cars, playing too hard with other dogs…but did you know that they can also injure themselves just by swimming? And not all injuries are visible right away! If your four-legged friend is limping around or having trouble walking after going for a swim in the pool or ocean (or even if he’s just been playing fetch), you may have cause for concern.
While we hope this list will come in handy for you, it’s important to always take your dog to the vet if you notice any symptoms of injury or illness. Dogs are not able to tell us when they are hurt, so it is up to us as owners to be vigilant about our pet’s health. The best thing you can do for your dog is to keep an eye on them during walks and play time outdoors.