Puppies, like most babies, are naturally curious and playful. Sometimes these characteristics can get your puppy into trouble and even cause him physical harm. If your puppy falls on his head, you must discern the severity of any head trauma to take care of him at home and communicate with your veterinarian. Understanding how your puppy fell in the first place will also help you keep him from getting into a similar situation in the future.
Types of Head Injuries
Depending on how hard your puppy falls and the height of his fall, your dog can suffer different types of head injuries. A contusion, or bruise to your puppy's head, is the most basic type of injury and gradually clears up on its own. A concussion can occur when your dog falls on his head and is knocked unconscious, and such a condition can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms of contusions and concussions include dizziness and disorientation. Seizures, as well as brain swelling and bleeding, can also occur as the result of a puppy's fall on his head. If your puppy falls hard enough to endure a serious skull fracture, he also risks injuring his brain.
Treating Head Injuries at Home
If you notice your puppy showing symptoms of any head injuries after falling on his head, there are a few things you can do at home before making a trip to the vet. If your puppy is bleeding, carefully clean his injured area and identify where the bleeding is coming from. A puppy can go into shock from falling on his head, so wrap a towel or blanket around him to lessen these effects. Stabilize your puppy's body and any fractures he may have sustained, and elevate his head from his body. Pay close attention to your dog's symptoms to determine whether they are worsening. If your dog's injury is worse than a contusion, contact your veterinarian to determine the next steps in treatment.
Veterinary Head Trauma Treatment
A veterinarian can properly diagnose and treat injuries a puppy can endure from falling on his head. It is important to get your dog to the vet if his injury is severe enough to cause brain swelling, as this condition can result in death. Your veterinarian will put your puppy through physical and neurological exams to determine proper treatment methods, and may order X-rays and CT scans to determine whether there is damage to your puppy's skull or brain. More serious skull fractures require surgery, and if your puppy has any brain swelling your vet may give him drugs to lessen swelling of the tissue. Pain killers and intravenous fluids may also be administered, as well as medication for seizures if they result from the injury. Even if your dog does not require major treatment for his fall, it is important to schedule a followup appointment with your veterinarian after receiving a diagnosis.
Preventing Puppy Falls
If you notice that your puppy is particularly clumsy, confine him to certain areas where he is less likely to incur a head injury. Carpet flooring can be safer than tile, concrete or hardwoods for your puppy to play on, as well as plush grass. Although growing puppies might be inclined to climb on furniture, waiting until your dog is an adult to allow him on the couch or bed can keep him from falling on his head. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep small children from holding or carrying your puppy. While kids will find puppies to be cute, young children are often not strong enough to control or carry even a small dog and therefore might drop your puppy by accident.