lethargic puppy

Every dog owner wants his pet to always be healthy and each dreads the thought of having to take their puppy to a veterinarian in an emergency situation. However, if the need arises, puppy owners should know what they can expect at the clinic. Here are the most common reasons your lethargic puppy needs emergency care.

Generally, veterinary rooms are privately owned and provide services that are more costly than those operating a daytime practice.

Emergency rooms are equipped to handle only emergency and urgent care procedures. You should understand that there are additional fees for treatments, tests, surgery, and hospitalization.

When Does a Lethargic Puppy Need Emergency Care?

A puppy suffering from disorders such as dietary indiscretion, poisoning, or juvenile hypoglycemia should visit an emergency vet immediately.

1) Juvenile Hypoglycemia

Puppies are immature and are usually at a greater risk of developing low blood pressure, or hypoglycemia in medical terms. Juvenile hypoglycemia most commonly affects toy breeds like Chihuahuas and Pomeranians.

To prevent juvenile hypoglycemia in puppies, it is essential that they eat every few hours.

Common symptoms of low blood pressure in puppies include: 

  • drooling
  • seizures
  • unresponsiveness
  • appearing weak

Home Remedy for Lethargic Puppy

A good home remedy for a lethargic puppy is to rub some maple syrup on his gums before rushing off to the vet.

However, if your puppy is experiencing seizures, similar to a person with epilepsy, get him to the vet immediately.

Read also: How Much is Too Much Exercise for a Puppy?

2) Trauma

Trauma includes an accident causing injury, ranging from a sprained or broken limb of a puppy trying to jump onto the couch to life-threatening injuries, such as getting hit by a vehicle while running in the street.

In cases such as these, do the following:

  • Immediately cover the bleeding wounds with a clean towel or cloth.
  • Ensure you cover your injured puppy with blankets
  • Carry puppies who are unable to walk using a basket or box as a stretcher for transportation.
  • Contact the vet and let him know that you have an emergency situation on your hands and that you’re on your way, so that the vet is awaiting your arrival.

Ways to Avoid Traumatic Accidents with Puppies or Dogs

Although most traumatic accidents are usually unavoidable, lack of disciple and pet handling can be some of the contributing factors that lead to these situations:

  • Take steps that can prevent the puppy from escaping. 
  • If you have a puppy at home, ensure he’s enclosed in one place.
  • If your puppy stays indoors, keep the doors that lead outdoors closed.
  • However, if you keep your puppy  outdoors, ensure the yard is fenced.
  • If you are leaving the house on a walk, always put a leash on your puppy.

3) Dietary Indiscretion

Dietary indiscretion is when your puppy eats or chews on anything that is neither dog food nor dog treats.

To help your puppy get the best treatment, it advisable that you be honest with the vet  about the stuff that you have been feeding your pup, apart from his regular diet.

Common symptoms of dietary indiscretion can include puppy vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain or dehydration.

For treating puppies that are suffering from abdominal pain, have been vomiting, or are feeling lethargic, having an x-ray or ultrasound of the abdomen, blood tests, and a parasite stool check may be required.

A lethargic puppy feeling weak or suffering from dehydration will likely spend a night at the hospital with an IV to replenish the lost fluids.

Other Reasons Your Puppy Can Become Lethargic

4) Toxins/Poisons

Ingesting even a small quantity of cleansers and other everyday household items can cause severe illness in puppies.

Antifreeze: Common symptoms include abnormal behavior, vomiting or kidney failure. Fortunately, there are antidotes which must be administered within a few hours of ingestion:

OTC painkillers or NSAIDs, like Advil can be harmful to your puppy. NSAIDs can lead to damage of organs, namely kidneys and GI tract (stomach).

If puppies become sick due to ingestion of drugs, poisonous plants and toxins, the sooner they are treated at the ER, the better the chances of recovery.

The conventional treatment for some toxins includes administering drugs that induce vomiting. Similarly, giving an absorbent known as “activated charcoal” can help prevent drugs to get digested in the intestines.

***Only a veterinarian can determine which is the correct treatment.*** 

5) Drowning

Having a backyard pool or residing near water can often lead to accidents causing your puppy to fall in the water. However, though puppies can instinctively try to swim, they sometimes get trapped in a pond or are unable to reach the exit point, thereby ingesting water. Puppy proofing tips for the backyard!

To prevent such untoward accidents, build a pool fence and ensure that you supervise your puppies, especially when they are close to a water body.

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