Common Injuries to Dogs
Accidents happen everyday. Even the best pet owners can make a mistake, or a set of circumstances can lead to an injury to your dog. In most cases you will probably want to take your dog to the vet immediately rather than taking a "wait-and-see" approach. Even though the dog may appear to be okay, there can be inside trauma that requires diagnosis by a vet.
Dog Fight Wounds
Dog fights can result in bite wounds, punctures, torn flesh, and worse. Although there are some fights that sound worse than they really are, many are 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. Always make sure you have a pet first aid kit well-stocked and available should you need it.
*** IMPORTANT: Even the most mild-mannered, well-behaved pet may bite if he is in pain. Use caution.
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 or Lameness
Dogs that participate in dog sports such as agility are particularly prone to soft tissue injuries or lameness, but they can happen to any dog. While it might be as benign as a pulled muscle, it's better to be safe than sorry. Stop your dog from continuing the activity and ensure he rests. Contact the vet for advice.
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. 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, you want to be sure.
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.
Foot and Leg Injuries
This is one type of injury that you may be able to wait a bit longer before taking action, depending on the situation. 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.
If in doubt, consult your vet for advice.