Concussion in a Dog: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Not only a person can get a concussion, but also any pet. Owners of dogs of different breeds often ask for help — from large hunting and security guards to small decorative dogs. Treatment of this condition is very important, as timely measures taken can save the health and even the life of a pet.

To understand what measures to take and when to sound the alarm, the owner of the animal must know and be able to distinguish between the symptoms that accompany a concussion in a dog. The speed of recovery of a four-legged tailed patient largely depends on the time of treatment to the veterinarian.

The causes and varieties of

There are many reasons why a concussion can occur in a dog. In most cases, they are similar to incidents that cause the same consequences in people:

  1. Road traffic accident. This is the most common reason — dogs often get run over by cars and get head injuries of varying degrees of intensity.
  2. Fall. The dog may be injured even if it falls from a small height. Small representatives of dogs can suffer if they fall out of the hands of the owner or from a special bag or carrier.
  3. Head injuries associated with blows to the skull. This may be careless actions of the animal itself or the owner who dropped something heavy on the dog, as well as violent actions of immoral individuals who beat the dog. Falling on the head of something heavy can cause not only a concussion, but also various injuries to the skull, including open wounds that require immediate response and urgent medical care.
  4. Gunshot wounds to the head. Most often, representatives of hunting breeds suffer from this, but similar incidents may occur with other animals. Fortunately, this is a rare case of injury.
  5. Sometimes dogs themselves cause bruises that lead to a concussion in the dog. During hunting, playing, or active running, it can hit hard against various objects — corners of furniture, ledges of walls, trees, large stones, and so on. A blow to the head can cause a concussion.

According to the degree of intensity of head injuries that provoked a concussion, they are divided into:

  1. Lungs. They do not threaten the health and life of the dog.
  2. Average. They can affect the well-being and health of the animal.
  3. Heavy. Such lesions are life-threatening.

The causes of concussion in dogs are diverse, but the consequences for all of them can be very dangerous.

Therefore, such conditions require careful attention and quality treatment, taking into account the severity of the lesion, weight, size and age of the animal.

The first signs

A dog that has received a concussion can behave as usual with a minor injury. With more severe lesions, the following signs and symptoms of concussion occur::

  1. Lethargy, inert behavior, apathy. These are usually the first signs of a mild concussion.
  2. Headache, because of which the animal either tries to keep its head unnaturally straight and motionless, or shakes it violently.
  3. Violation of coordination of movements.
  4. Nausea, vomiting.
  5. Lack of appetite.
  6. The dog sleeps a lot, tries to hide from everyone, even from the owners.
  7. Loss of consciousness, sudden fainting spells. Loss of consciousness is especially dangerous if the animal is constantly sick — it can choke on its own vomit.
  8. Inappropriate behavior, including attacks on its owner and strangers.
  9. In severe cases, there are respiratory disorders and palpitations, and the pupils are dilated over the entire eye and do not respond.

Depending on the state of the PSU, appropriate assistance is provided.

First aid

If the dog has a concussion, it must be helped. To do this, follow these steps::

  1. You need to remove the dog’s collar, muzzle, and anything that can restrict its movement and breathing.
  2. Put it on its side on a flat, hard surface.
  3. Remove the tongue so that if she loses consciousness, she can’t choke on it or suffocate.
  4. Check your pulse and breathing.
  5. Apply a cold compress to the head (you can use an ice pack).
  6. Seek veterinary help.

If the dog is hit by a car, or it has additional injuries, especially fractures and open wounds, you should try to call an ambulance or a doctor at home.

Making a diagnosis in a veterinary clinic

At the hospital, specialists will immediately notice that the animal’s pupils are dilated over the entire eye, and send it for a CT scan. With this modern diagnostic method, you can quickly determine the level of brain damage and the area of its spread.

Therapy and treatment

Treatment of concussion in a dog should only be professional. Self-medication can lead to unpredictable consequences up to the death of the dog. Only a veterinarian can treat such a dangerous lesion. He will determine the condition of his patient and select individual treatment methods based on the level of damage, age, weight and breed of dog.

In the event that a head injury causes a violation of consciousness, if the dog does not respond to external stimuli, you need to urgently contact veterinarians.

Procrastination can be extremely dangerous. Doctors prescribe treatment that is very similar to the same actions for concussion in humans, but with the correction that the drugs should be intended for veterinary purposes.

Self-medication is a huge danger, so you can use some drugs only by the decision of the veterinarian and judging by the condition of the dog. It should be remembered that some “human” drugs can lead to extremely undesirable consequences.

If a pet has received a head injury, the first thing to do for it at home is to provide complete rest, warmth, no drafts, enough clean water, light food. If the animal’s condition does not improve for several days, it must be taken to a clinic.

Pet owners are concerned about how long a concussion takes to heal. This depends on the severity of the damage. For mild injuries, this will take from a few days to a couple of weeks, moderate concussions require a longer recovery period, and rehabilitation after severe injuries takes months.

The consequences

The consequences of the condition depend on the extent of the lesion and the severity of the injury. If the level of nerve damage is high, there may be mobility disorders, paresis and paralysis, impaired coordination of movement, vision and hearing, intestinal atony, and other dangerous problems.

With light injuries, the injured animal can fully recover without any consequences for the body and its functioning.


To ensure that the dog is not injured, its owner must take care to perform the following actions::

  1. Take it for a walk on a leash and do not let it down in dangerous places.
  2. Remove all potentially dangerous items in the house and yard.
  3. Do not allow children to torment the animal or terrorize it.
  4. Regularly drive to the veterinary clinic for examination.

All a pet needs is love. A little attention can save the dog’s health and life.