Understanding Your Pet's Needs
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Understanding Your Pet's Needs

After my pet had a long, drawn-out battle with cancer, I realized that I needed to do a better job with understanding my pet's needs. I wanted to be there for them no matter what, so I started focusing on my other animals. They needed more love, attention, and medical care, so I focused on those things. I started taking them in for regular checkups and working on their physical appearance. I was able to spot a few other potentially catastrophic health conditions with my animals because of my actions. This blog is all about understanding your pet's needs.


Understanding Your Pet's Needs

Dog Illness: Three Signs Your Dog Is Experiencing A Medical Emergency

Gisele Pereira

When your dog isn't feeling well, it's only normal to be concerned. However, there's a big difference between not feeling well because of something like the occasional upset stomach and a true medical emergency. Still, not all pet emergencies are easy to spot and failing to recognize them can place your dog's life in jeopardy. Therefore, it is imperative that you know what to look for when your dog falls ill.  

Three Signs Your Dog Needs Immediate Medical Attention

Abnormal Breathing

Dogs can't sweat, so they release heat from their bodies by panting. Panting after being outside on a hot day or after a run is normal. However, excessive panting is a sign that your pooch is having trouble breathing.

Rapid breathing is often mistaken for panting because the two breathing types are similar. However, when the "panting" is accompanied by long, labored breaths or lots of noise you should be very concerned.

Something is causing your dog not to receive enough oxygen and rapid breathing is just as dangerous as labored breathing. The average dog takes 10-30 breaths per minute. If your dog is breathing significantly more or less than this accepted normal standard, it's a breathing emergency. He requires immediate care.

Blue Gums

A potentially deadly condition known as cyanosis often accompanies breathing problems. When your dog can't breathe well, his blood cells can't transport enough oxygen to his tissues. Gum tissue that is deprived of nutrient rich oxygen turns a pale gray, white, or blue color. Your dog's tongue and lips may also change color.

Breathing problems aren't the only cause of cyanosis, however. Cyanosis can also occur because of heart problems, ingesting toxic substances, lung infections, tumors and several other medical problems.

If your dog's tongue or gums take on an abnormal hue, you have a medical emergency on your hands. Oxygen starved tissue can begin to die, causing serious and fatal complications.

Swollen Belly

If your dog's belly looks swollen, you should be worried. Known commonly as bloat, this is a medical condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus.  Gastric dilatation-volvulus can be caused by too much food, air, or liquid in your dog's stomach.

As the stomach swells, internal pressure on his organs increases. Oxygen and blood have a hard time circulating. This is extremely dangerous and even if medical care is received, it is still possible for your dog to die. Bloat makes it hard for your dog to breathe and move. Symptoms of bloat also include increased drooling, discolored gums, and a low body temperature.

These three signs of illness all require urgent medical care. However, any odd behavior or change in breathing, appetite, or bathroom habits should also be taken seriously. When your dog's life is at stake, the best course of action is to seek medical care at a clinic like Balboa Veterinary Hospital