Can Dogs Get Concussions? How to Identify & Treatment


What are concussions?

A concussion is a condition that is caused by a head injury. Various reasons can cause the damage i.e. hit, jolt or bump on the head. Most concussions in dogs are caused by car accidents, falling and severe fights with other dogs/animals. It can also be caused by a hit on the body that further causes the brain to move back and forth abnormally. The irregular movement caused by the injury creates chemical changes in the brain due to the movement and can damage brain cells.

Can dogs get concussions?

Yes, dogs can get concussions and it’s very common head trauma in dogs. Most outdoor dogs are at more risk of getting a concussion due to the traffic on roads. Dogs often get hit by vehicles and that causes head injury in them. There are various other reasons why your dog can get a concussion. Any dog that is harshly hit by anything can be a victim of traumas. It does not mean your pet dog is not at risk, they must be taken care of and their surroundings must be safe.

Symptoms of concussions in dogs:

Now that you know dogs can get concussions, how to identify them is another thing to learn.

Whenever we humans have any medical issue, we can express it and talk about it. But, when dogs or other animals have any health issues, they cannot verbally express but they try to convey their pain and discomfort through other signs which must be paid attention to.

If the dog is not experiencing pain after being hit or getting a jolt, it gets hard to identify concussions. But, there are a few expected symptoms that your dog will experience as listed below:

There are various symptoms they experience when dogs get a concussion. It also depends on the kind of injury or accident that they have been through.

Some dogs go through seizures after injury.

  • Abnormal eye movement.
  • Vomiting can be caused after the accident.
  • Bleeding.
  • Body paralysis makes them unable to stand or move.
  • The size of their pupils might change.
  • Dullness
  • Lethargy
  • Fainting
  • Breathlessness

If any of these symptoms appear after an injury, do not ignore the signs and inform a vet right away.

Treatment for concussions in dogs:

The right thing to do after your dogs have been hit or had an accident is to call their vet and inform them of the accident, if required, take them to the nearest veteran right away (in case of a car accident or other major hit). While you need to rush, do not panic and do not be harsh on the dog. Any wrong position or movement can worsen the situation. It is suggested to keep the head elevated by keeping some support so that minimum pressure must be on the brain. If the dog cannot walk on its own, it might need a stretcher and you need to call an ambulance right away in that case.

What happens next?

The veteran will start the treatment process according to the severity of the injury. They will initially check all the vitals and blood pressure to ensure that the dog is stable to go through the next treatment processes. The vet will later do some neuro tests to check if there is any internal bleeding or swelling of the brain. The later treatment will be done according to reports of the tests. If the vet keeps your dog on oxygen support, there is nothing to worry about as this will be a prudent step to prevent any problem. The later treatment will depend on the situation of the brain and will only be advised and monitored by the vet.

In most cases, there is no special treatment given in mild cases of concussion in dogs. Instead, they are given the right care and time to heal themselves. But, in severe cases, the treatment will vary accordingly. As the dog owner, you will have to put in a lot of time and concentration to make sure the healing is on the right track and the situation is not worsening.

You will need to give your dog a break. They need to rest and all the play activities and walk routines can wait for a while because you want to prevent any discomfort in the way of their healing. If you take them out, they may hurt themselves again, which will worsen the situation. At home, make sure there is nothing in the dog’s proximity to get hit by.

If there is an external wound, the vet will instruct you for dressing and some medication or creams to be applied.

A good diet and intake of all the essential nutrients are very important for healing. You must make sure that they are eating enough and healthy. If they do not eat, the healing process will become very slow and this can also cause some permanent damage. The healing process is a critical time and you need to be with them through it. They will need constant attention and observation. If they are taken care of, they will heal fast but if you notice they’re not healing and instead of showing more symptoms, you must inform the vet and seek their advice on the matter.

Are concussions in dogs serious?

Usually, concussions can be treated if medical help is sought urgently. But, if the treatment is delayed, this can cause permanent brain damage.

To prevent any risk factors, medical help must be sought urgently after any symptoms have been observed.

In conclusion, as a human, you need to take care of your pet dogs and the stray dogs on the streets. Do not drive fast and be mindful and careful of the living beings around you. Your one mistake can take away someone’s life. If any dog is hit by your car or if you see a dog or any other animal lying helplessly somewhere, it is your responsibility to provide help.