How Can You Tell If Dogs Are Playing Or Fighting (Gizmo – when play fights go wrong)

Estimated Reading Time: 2 min | Last Updated: June 27th, 2022

The owners of one year old Gizmo never anticipated he would be a victim of a dog attack – and they never suspected it would be at the paw of their much two larger household dogs.

On a Sunday afternoon, Gizmo was play fighting with his housemates when the rough and tumble play fighting turned horribly wrong – receiving terrible dog attack wounds.

Rushed to the emergency vet

Gizmo’s quick thinking owners rushed him to Animal Emergency Service Underwood, and it’s lucky they did as upon arrival he began to vomit uncontrollably.

Vets rushed him to the Pet Intensive Care Unite where he was seen to by critical care specialists and specially trained nurses.

Vets had major concern for Gizmo as had developed aspiration complications (the inhalation of fluid or foreign objects into the lungs) and he quickly became oxygen dependent.


After a general anaesthetic enabled the team to explore the extent of his wounds, Gizmo spent the next four days recovering in the Pet Intensive Care Unit with around the clock monitoring of his condition.

His tiny body was still showing signs of shock – high heart rate, hypothermia, and low blood pressure, so fluid resuscitation was vital for his recovery.

A urinary catheter was placed to monitor his urine output, and also to ensure his kidneys were functioning.

As Gizmo posed a high risk for sepsis and infection, blood tests and wound cleans were continued throughout his stay, combined with antibiotics and pain relief.


In the following days of recovery, Gizmo managed to walk with some encouragement from the Pet Intensive Care Unit team, but the known fussy eater took a bit longer to gain interest in food.

Slowly but surely his mental state and appetite improved!

After four days the team were happy with his progress, and Gizmo was transitioned over to oral medications and sent home for a food trial and further monitoring with his extremely relieved family.

Learn about dog attacks

Gizmo’s story is unfortunately one of many. But how do you know if your dog is playing or fighting? Understanding their body language is a good step in knowing the difference.

Dog owners can be further prepared by reading more information about dog attacks and how to prevent dog attacks by visiting our handy guide on everything you need to know about dog attacks – be sure to read for more information and to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

If your pet has been a victim of a dog attack, contact your closest Animal Emergency Service hospital or your local vet immediately.

Related Posts