It's not always easy to tell if your dog is suffering from a health issue that could be classed as a vet emergency. Here are two situations which call for an immediate trip to your local veterinary clinic.
They have consumed chocolate
Chocolate contains two ingredients which are known to be toxic to dogs; namely, theobromine and caffeine. The amount of chocolate that could harm your dog will depend on their size, age and the speed of their metabolism.
Some of the main symptoms of chocolate poisoning include seizures, an abnormally high heart rate, tremors, restlessness, diarrhoea and vomiting. These symptoms usually appear several hours after a dog has eaten chocolate.
If you have spotted your pet chewing on some chocolate or if some chocolate in your home has gone missing (and you're sure no other household members have eaten it), then you should bring your dog to the vet straightaway. The sooner you take them, the better; if you reach the veterinary clinic within two hours of consumption, the vet can give them medication which will induce vomiting and thus help to get the chocolate out of their system before it is fully digested.
If you only manage to get to the clinic after this two-hour window, don't worry; your vet should still be able to minimise the amount of damage the chocolate does to your pet's body by giving them activated charcoal (to help them excrete the toxins) and intravenous fluids (to rehydrate and stabilise their systems).
They have sustained a blow to their body
Sometimes, after a dog has been hit by a car, fallen from a height or sustained another type of blow to their body, they can appear to be completely uninjured. However, even if your dog is not showing any visible signs of serious trauma (for example, if they are not limping or only seem to have a few scratches), you should still bring them to the vet for a check-up straightaway.
After a traumatic incident, it's quite possible that your dog may develop serious internal injuries which, although not particularly painful, could put their life at risk. Things like internal bleeding or a ruptured spleen do not always result in visible symptoms but could end up killing your beloved pet if you do not take them to the vet for treatment immediately.
Furthermore, even small, seemingly harmless wounds sustained during a fall could lead to your dog developing a serious skin infection which, if left untreated for too long, could enter their bloodstream and cause sepsis.
As such, if your dog has fallen or sustained a blow of some sort, you must bring them to the veterinary clinic for an examination. The vet may perform an ultrasound, take x-rays and obtain blood and urine samples, all of which will help them to determine if your dog is suffering from an injury or infection. If necessary, they can then provide medication (such as antibiotics and painkillers) or perform surgery to rectify the issue.