Concussions In Dogs

Concussions are the most common form of head trauma in dogs. Concussions can be a result of any injury involving the head including from car accidents, falls from heights, rough play, running into something hard, getting hit by something or even from an overly enthusiastic head butt. Due to their thinner and smaller, puppies and small dogs are more susceptible to concussions.  

If you suspect your dog may have a concussion, you will need to take them to a vet immediately. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Different sized pupils  
  • Confusion or disorientation  
  • Lethargy  
  • Vomiting 
  • Rapid eye movement  
  • Bleeding from the ears or nose  
  • Inability to stand, walk or move  
  • Seizures  

Transporting a dog with a suspected concussion

It’s best to call the vet first to let them know you are on your way and to seek advice on how to transport your dog. Depending on your dog’s situation, you may need a second person to help assist.  
Generally, you’ll need to try to keep your dog calm and not moving too much. If your dog is not doing well, you can use a cushion to keep your dog’s head elevated at around 30degree angle to relieve pressure on the brain. 
A dog that is severely injured and unable to walk will need to be placed on a stretcher or board. It’s best to avoid any manipulation of the dog’s position when in this condition as what exactly is injured would be unclear.  

If there are any external wounds accompanying the injury, use a clean cloth to apply direct pressure to it to try to slow the bleeding.

Recovery with your dog

Once returning home from the vet, make sure you create a calm and relaxing environment so you can prioritise rest for your dog. Your vet will be able to provide guidance on the rest and recovery methods needed for your dog in detail. Generally, you’ll need to limit activity which you can achieve by keeping your dog confined to a small, comfortable area such as a room or a pen. Let your dog out for the necessities such as eating and bathroom breaks and always keep a close eye on them during their recovery. Report any changes to your vet and go in for check-ups when required to do so. 

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