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When you should treat your pet and see the vet

Emergencies for your dog can happen at any time. Some are minor, while others can be life threatening. American Kennel Club's AKC Family Dog contributor and veterinarian Jeff Grognet offers advice on what you can treat at home and when you should bring your dog to the veterinarian. Here are some cases. Special to the Times

Eyes: Any eye problem your dog has needs to be seen by a veterinarian. Most people can't tell if their dog has a scratch that will heal on its own, or glaucoma, which will cause vision loss very quickly.

Vomiting and diarrhea: Sudden, mild vomiting is common and can be treated at home, as long as the dog is not inactive and lethargic and the vomiting stops. Withhold food and water for 12 hours. Once the 12 hours have gone by, offer your dog water. If he can hold the water down for two hours, offer some bland food. Diarrhea can be treated at home by withholding only food. "Whenever vomiting or diarrhea continues, or the dog is depressed, or if the dog is under 16 weeks old or is a senior, it's time for a veterinary visit," says Grognet. "These dogs are fragile, and a little dehydration can make them ill."

Bloat: Bloat happens to a dog when the stomach begins swelling with air and rotating, which closes off the entrance and exit. Symptoms of bloat include drooling, trying to vomit, anxiety, pacing and a swollen belly. This disease is very dangerous and needs immediate treatment from your veterinarian.

Allergic reactions: Your dog might have an allergic reaction from insect bites or stings, food or medications. What most commonly happens is the muzzle and eyelids will swell. While this is uncomfortable for your pooch, it is not dangerous. He may also develop hives on his body, which are very itchy, but also not dangerous. Consult your vet on how to keep your dog comfortable during an allergic reaction.

Items dog owners

should have on hand

• Adhesive tape for bandaging

• Sterile dressing pads for covering wounds

• Gauze sponges for covering or cleaning wounds

• Antiseptic soap/solution for cleaning wounds

• Plastic Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from licking wounds or irritated skin, or rubbing at his eyes or ears

• Blanket or towel to keep your dog warm or to carry him hammock-style

When you should treat your pet and see the vet 01/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 31, 2011 5:50pm]

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