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Dog Injury Problems

Accidents happen. Dogs can injure themselves while playing or just moving around... and sometimes even the best pet owners can make a mistake that may lead to a dog being injured. In most cases, it's suggested that the dog be taken to the vet immediately rather than adopting a "wait-and-see" approach. Although the dog may appear to be okay, dogs are masters at hiding pain and there can be inside trauma that requires diagnosis by a vet. Some of the more common include:

  • Dog fights can result in bite wounds, punctures, torn flesh, and worse. Dog fights often sound worse than they really are, but in some cases they can be very serious. Contact the vet for instructions and get your dog there as soon as you can. If your dog does not appear too traumatized, you may wish to carefully check him for wounds. *** Even the most mild-mannered, well-behaved pet may bite if he is in pain. Muzzle the dog if you are able. Be careful!

  • A run-in with a car (or other vehicle). Dogs will typically either get up shakily or continue to lie where they are. Either way, get your dog to the vet right away. Even if your dog gets up and is able to walk away he may have internal injuries or bleeding that need treatment.

    Try to minimize movement by placing your dog on a firm surface, such as a sheet of plywood. If that's not available use a blanket. The goal is to transport your dog to the vet with as little motion as possible.

  • Soft tissue injuries can especially occur in dogs that engage in intense exercise like agility or simply a lot of running and jumping or playing. While an injury might be as benign as a pulled muscle, it could be more serious. Stop your dog from exercising and ensure he rests. If the injury doesn't show improvement in a day or two, contact the veterinarian for advice.

  • Eye injuries can occur any time. Snub-nosed breeds such as pekingese and pugs are particularly susceptible because their eyes protrude slightly. Look for signs such as: squinting; watery eyes; unequal pupils; excessive blinking; or severely bloodshot eyes.

    By the way, did you know that eye injuries can result from dogs riding with their heads outside open car windows? Although many dogs love this, bits of debris can enter the dog's eye and even lodge itself in the eye.

    Prompt attention from a vet may be able to prevent serious injuries from leading to blindness (or least help to preserve some sight). Not all eye injuries are serious - sometimes it's just a bruised eye, but again, it's best to be certain since some injuries could lead to blindness or the loss of the eye.

  • Foot and leg injuries. are pretty common. Dogs romp around all the time and if they jump or step the wrong way, it could result in a sprain or pulled muscle. Watch for signs of continued lameness. If it doesn't show signs of improvement contact your vet.

    Dogs may also get foreign objects stuck in their paws. If you notice your dog limping, the first thing to do is carefully check his paws including in between the toes. Gently remove burrs, seeds, dried mud, or other substances that could be causing him discomfort (in the winter, ice balls that form between the paw pads are very uncomfortable).

    If your dog has a cut, wash it out and bandage it. Call your vet if it's a particularly large or deep cut that may require stitches.



Dogs love to engage in lots of play and activity, so injury problems aren't uncommon. Be alert and know what's normal for your dog. If he appears to be in pain or his behavior has changed, talk to your vet - your dog may need treatment.