Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic immediately if your pet is having an emergency.
How do I know if my pet needs Emergency Care?
Day or night, a situation that requires emergency veterinary care could occur, and you'll need to be prepared, if or when it happens to your animal.
It can be difficult for pet owners to determine when their dog, cat, or other pet requires emergency care. That is why knowing some of the signs and symptoms that indicate the need for an emergency vet visit is beneficial. If you're still unsure, seek advice from your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic.
Signs of a Pet Emergency
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
- Obvious pain
- Loss of balance
- Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
- Inflammation or injury to the eye
Basic First Aid
Please note that performing basic first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your animal for a trip to your emergency vet.
Before you begin, muzzle your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury and apply pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. For severe leg bleeding, a gauze tourniquet with an elastic band will be required. Bring your pet to the veterinary clinic right away.
Do not attempt to restrain your pet. Try to remove objects that may hurt your pet. After the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet.
Your pet should be muzzled. To transport your pet to the vet, place them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher. Secure your animal to the stretcher as much as possible without putting pressure on the injured area.
Because your pet may bite in fear, you must exercise caution. Examine your pet's mouth for foreign objects and, if possible, remove them. Take care not to push the object further down your animal's throat. If this is too difficult, don't waste your time attempting it. Transport your pet to a veterinarian's office or an emergency veterinary clinic right away.
What You Should Know in Advance
You never know when an emergency will strike, but being prepared for a pet emergency can help you provide the best possible care to your animal as quickly as possible. In case of an emergency, our Bel Marin Animal Hospital veterinarians recommend keeping the following items on hand:
- The phone number for your vet's office
- The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
- The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
- How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
- Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
- Knowledge of basic pet CPR
- Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
Due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment required, emergency veterinary care can be expensive. It is a pet owner's responsibility to ensure that they can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.
Prepare for unforeseeable events by setting aside money for emergencies or enrolling in a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care to avoid emergency fees could endanger your pet's life.