If you accidentally dropped your puppy, don't panic just yet. Puppies are tougher than you think and dropping him doesn't automatically means he's seriously hurt. You should, however, check him thoroughly to make sure everything's OK. If you notice any pain or signs that he might be seriously hurt, a visit to the vet might be in order.
Check for Obvious Signs of Injury
If the puppy is screaming in pain -- a little yelping is normal, but it should stop after a few seconds -- head to the vet for a checkup right away. Serious bleeding, something that looks like a bone break or an obvious limp are also good reasons to head to the vet.
Go Beyond the Obvious Signs
Even if there are no obvious signs of injury, a hard fall can cause a skull fracture and even brain damage -- especially if your puppy fell on his head. A way to check normal neurological response is to shine a flashlight in the puppy's eyes -- if the pupils don't contract, there's something abnormal going on and you should rush to the vet. A puppy who seems to stumble or wants to fall asleep as a response to the fall could have a brain injury and needs to be checked by a vet.
Take Care of Small Injuries at Home
If the puppy seems OK -- and especially if the fall wasn't from very high -- take care of any obvious injuries, such as cuts or scrapes. Puppies tend to cry a lot when they are scared -- and falling is scary -- so hold him for a while and give him a few kisses to help get over the situation.
If There's a Serious Injury
If you do notice a serious injury, restrain the puppy immediately. Wrap him in a towel if possible to prevent him from moving any more than necessary. Too much movement can worsen an injury. If you suspect a head, neck or spine injury, set up a stretcher-like surface to transport the puppy. Use a flat piece of wood or a large wooden tray and set the puppy on his side. Cover him with a blanket or a thick towel and take him to the vet immediately.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.