Dogs can be amazingly graceful, except when they're not. It's quite easy for a dog to take a tumble and hit the ground hard. In many instances, they simply pick themselves up, with no harm done. However, sometimes injuries from a fall result in a delayed reaction, with the extent of the damage only being apparent hours later. This is especially relevant with a particularly hard fall, such as if your dog took a tumble down the stairs. What are some of the signs that the accident may have been more serious than you first suspected? And what do you need to do?

Delayed Reaction

In the hours after the fall, your dog may appear to be perfectly healthy and happy. When their demeanor and physical behaviors change, it's a sign that your dog needs to see a veterinarian. Signs to look out for include:

  • Difficulty getting up from a horizontal position, often accompanied by difficulty/lethargy in walking, can indicate a back or leg injury.
  • Labored breathing might suggest an injury to your dog's rib cage.
  • Whining and all-over body sensitivity can be a sign of an internal injury.
  • Confusion can be the result of a head injury, and this might be in conjunction with bleeding from the nose, eyes, or in the mouth.

These symptoms can signify a serious injury, and your dog must be seen by your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence. You must be sure that you transport your dog in a way that does not aggravate their injuries.

Transporting Small Dogs

Damage to your dog's back, limbs, or ribs can make transportation difficult. Your dog needs to be immobilized (as much as is practical) for their journey to the vet clinic. This is simple enough with small dogs, who can be carried in a way that supports their head and spine (much like holding a baby). 

Transporting Large Dogs

You will need assistance when placing a larger dog in the car. A strong blanket or towel can be used to make a sling. This can be gently placed under your dog, allowing them to be lifted (though you will need a strong pair of hands to help you). Particularly large dogs will benefit from a gurney, so if you have a strong sheet of wood handy, this can be pressed into service as a makeshift means of getting your dog into the car. Someone should sit next to your dog in the car during the ride, keeping them horizontal in the backseat.

Remember that injuries from a fall might not become obvious until hours later, so if your dog should take a tumble, be sure to monitor them for the rest of the day. Should they begin to display any troubling symptoms, get them to the vet as quickly (and safely) as possible. To learn more, contact a facility like the Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic.