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When Does Your Dog Need to See a Vet

September 7, 2009 by  
Filed under When Does Your Dog Need to See a Vet

Some dog health issues must be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Having a good vet in your corner, one who you know and trust is priceless and it's very reassuring.

Flea Control and Worming:

Controlling fleas and worms is an important health issue that your Vet can assist you with. Fleas are an obvious problem, but there are also heartworms, tapeworms, roundworms... your vet will recommend a treatment to follow and you have to stick with it. You will probably need to administer monthly worming tablets (which they love!) and maybe other medication.

Annual Check Up:

It's a good idea to schedule an annual check up or "wellness test". Your Vet will conduct a series of tests which is a great proactive and preventive health measure. A good Vet will be able to spot any irregularities in the test results and will also check your dog for any sign of breed specific health problems. Educate yourself about dog diseases like Cushing's and Addison's. Sometimes these diseases sneak up on you and you don't realize it until it's too late and complicated to treat.


Spaniel with a tummy acheIf your dog vomits once, take certain precautions within your household to avoid it from happening again. However, if your dog frequently throws up, has chronic diarrhea, has bloody stools (bloody stools look like coffee grains), if the dog's stomach is swollen, or if he has a fever or appears to be ill, you must call your veterinarian right away. Even if your dog doesn't have these symptoms, but has been vomiting frequently, it's very important to call the vet at once. Dogs can become quickly dehydrated and this can cause serious problems to their health. Frequent vomiting can indicate other serious health problems like gastroenteritis, gastric ulcers, tumors, or intestinal obstructions. Parasites can also cause a dog to vomit because they proliferate so rapidly that they can actually block the dog's gastrointestinal track.

Torn nail:

Dogs romp and stomp and have fun until they snag a nail. Then the howling and bleeding begin. See if you have a styptic pencil handy, or you can use corn starch if you don't, to stop the bleeding and put a bandage on the injury and go to your vet. But if there is a lot of blood, a visit to the emergency room is the safest bet.

Insect bites or stings:

Sometimes you don't even notice an insect bite on your dog, however, they can be very serious if the animal is hyper-sensitive or allergic. If left untreated, the dog's breathing could become affected.

Eye trauma:

This is always an emergency. When an animal gets poked or scratched in the eye or has an eye infection, it likely will get worse without treatment.

By the way, don't let your dog hang his head out the car window. They can get debris or bugs in their eyes. If your pup insists on having the breeze in his face, it's a great excuse to train him to wear a pair of specially designed pet goggles.


Clean the wound and protect the lesion with topical antibiotics and cover it with a bandage. But a lesion like that can cause your pet to lick or scratch excessively and lead to infection. Call your vet to get advice. Your pet could benefit from pain relief and might even need to wear an Elizabethan collar to protect the lesion... but don't worry, there are alternatives to the dreaded collar.


Your dog may step on a nail, brush against a tree or get caught while climbing under a fence and could get a splinter or tear his or her skin.

Snake bite:

This isn't a huge issue for a city dog, but if you travel or go camping with your pet, you have to think about it. When camping, check with park rangers to see if rattlesnakes (or other biting snakes) are in the area. Try to keep your pet as immobilized as possible to prevent the rapid spread of the venom, and take him or her to a vet.


In the unthinkable case of serious injury or illness, you will need a vet who you trust and can rely on to save your dog's life. It helps if the vet is familiar with your dog. Do good research when choosing a vet. Consider one who is open long hours and has the ability to perform emergency surgery should the need arise.