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Most Common Dog Emergency Room Visit – What you should know

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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As a pet owners it is important to know how to plan for, prepare for, deal with and prevent emergencies in your dog. Can you guess what the most common emergency is seen in veterinary emergency rooms across the country? Most people guess trauma from being hit by a car, gun shot wound, bite wounds, drowning, and other "exciting" and urgent problems.

Do you know what the number one reason pet owners take their dogs to the animal emergency room?

It is vomiting. The number one reason dog owners take their dog to the after hours emergency room is vomiting. It is not a glamorous topic but an important one and one likely to happen to your dog at some time or another.

Vomiting is a common symptom and caused by many different things. I want to give you some tips on how to plan for, prepare, deal with and prevent this problem in your dog.

Plan: Make sure you know where your local emergency room is or how your vet deals with emergency. Keep this information (phone number, hours, address and directions) handy.

Prepare: Make sure you know your dog's medical history and any medications he is on. The emergency vet will want to know when it started, how many times your dog vomited, what the vomit looked like, the last time your dog vomited, and if there are any accompanying symptoms such as lethargy, weakness or diarrhea. Observe your dog. If possible, take a sample of the most recent diarrhea with you.

Deal with the vomiting: Call your veterinarian or emergency clinic to determine what they want you to do. Their staff will talk to you about your pet and their recommendation if you should take him or her in for examination. If your dog has only vomited once, is acting normal, has no diarrhea, they may give you a recommendation to wait a few hours and see if you pet vomits again.

Prevent: Prevent exposure of your pet to trash, table scraps and other foreign objects that he may be inclined to chew on. Make any food changes gradually and over a several day period. Buy only safe toys and ensure your dog does not chew on any objects around that house which he could swallow and be unable to digest or pass through his system.

Owners feeding table scraps and pets having access to trash cause many emergencies. Don't give your pet any table scraps and pay special care to toys that you give him to ensure they are safe and not accidentally ingested.

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