- Being hit by a car is the most common cause of shock in dogs. Other causes can include dehydration, prolonged vomiting and diarrhea, heat stroke, severe infection, poisoning and hemorrhaging.
- Bright red gums and rapid heart rate indicate shock in its earliest stages. As shock progresses to its middle stage, the pet's gums will be pale or "muddy" in color, the heart rate is faster than normal, the pulse weakens, breathing is shallow and rapid and the dog begins to be depressed or weak. In its final stages, shock causes the dog's gums to turn extremely pale or even blue, the pulse is nearly impossible to locate, the eyes become glazed and do not focus normally, the dog is in a stupor or possibly even a coma, and his temperature is below normal.
Shock may occur immediately after the trauma or several hours later.
- Begin basic dog first aid if your pet is not breathing, unconscious or has no pulse. Control any bleeding. Try to control the shock by calming your dog with soothing words, getting your dog in a position that is comfortable and causes the least amount of pain, and covering him with a coat or blanket. Try to keep your dog quiet and as relaxed as possible. Do not pour water into the dog's mouth, give medications or apply a heating pad.
- Get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible, but use care in moving an injured dog and a dog that is experiencing shock. If your pet is a large dog, transport him on a flat surface, such as a board. If your pet is small, carry him in your arms. Do not muzzle your pet unless it is absolutely necessary. A muzzle may impair his ability to breathe.
- Once you arrive at a veterinary clinic, the staff will likely administer intravenous fluids.
The veterinarian will treat the shock but will also treat the underlying condition--injury or illness--that led to the dog going into shock.