Shock is a state of being that often occurs after the body has experienced something traumatic. Many people use the term shock as in being scared or unable to comprehend a situation, but medical shock is very serious and knowing what to look for when your dog is in shock could be the difference between life and death for them. Shock is something that no pet owner should take lightly as it is often the shock, not the actual injury or experience that can be fatal for our furry friends.
Knowing the symptoms of shock could save your pets life. Generally when an animal goes into shock you will see weakness, collapse, coma, unconsciousness, pale color of the mouth, lips, and eyelids, cold extremities, rapid and weak pulse, rapid respiration, unfocused eyes, and dilated pupils. If your pet experiences any or all of these symptoms they may be in shock and you need to begin medical attention immediately.
Shock is not always a preventable process, because it is often the body’s response to a traumatic incident. You can help to reduce the level of shock that your dog experiences by responding to an incident appropriately right when it happens. For instance, if your dog gets hit by a car you need to ensure that they are stable before you allow them to get up and run around and play. Ensuring that you respond as quickly and as thoroughly as possible to incidents is one way in which you may be able to prevent shock, but it’s not always possible, what is possible is to respond to the shock in a timely manner to avoid further complications or even death.
You should call your veterinarian immediately but if you are not able to get help you should start by keeping your dog’s airways open, given then artificial respiration, if needed, bandaging any fractures or wounds, and massaging the heart. You will also want to wrap your dog in a towel, which will work to conserve the body heat of the dog. If your dog is not conscious you will want to keep its head lower than the rest of the body and gently massage the legs and muscles to maintain circulation, unless you believe there may be fractures. If the dog is conscious, it may be restless and may need to be kept well wrapped up. Your goal should be to do all of these things and then seek out medical attention as quickly as possible. If you will not be able to get to the vet fast, begin administering fluids orally, mixing sugar with water and taking note of any vomiting, blood in the urine, etc.