It’s a familiar story for anyone with a pet…something seems off, but what? Is it normal for a dog to vomit more than once? Could it be an upset stomach? Or maybe you’re out in the backyard when your cat shows up a little wobbly with signs she got into a brawl with another animal. She doesn’t seem to be in terrible distress, but should you just wait and see? Google provides you with an array of sometimes terrifying, sometimes normalizing articles, but what do you believe?
The life of any pet owner includes the potential for at least one pet emergency. To help take some of the fear and guesswork out of the situation, our team offers some tips and insights into what constitutes a pet emergency.

When it’s Always an Emergency

There are some scenarios that should always be deemed an emergency, such as:

  • Hit by a vehicle
  • Fall from a great height
  • Ingested a known toxin
  • Obvious injury or limping/lameness
  • Injury to the eye(s)
  • Birth that has been delayed more than a few hours
  • Deep wound or bleeding that does not subside
  • Attacked or bitten by another animal (wild or domestic)
While the best case scenario is that your pet is not seriously harmed, all these situations warrant immediate veterinary attention – even if your pet acts fine.

Signs of a Pet Emergency

Unfortunately, when an emergency strikes, we aren’t always there to witness the cause. That’s why it’s so important to be vigilant and aware of what’s going on with your pet. Respond to your intuition when something just feels off with his or her behavior.
Some signs to watch for include:

  • Behaving differently (e.g., suddenly clingy or hiding, seemingly anxious, changes to temperament, etc.)
  • Noticeable pain
  • Drooling/excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Favoring one side of the body
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea that does not subside after a few hours
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy/lack of interest in usual activities
  • Tremors/seizure
  • Inability to stand
  • Straining to urinate/defecate
  • Gagging as if choking
  • Swelling of abdomen or other body part
  • Bleeding from mouth, nose, rectum, etc.

How to Help Your Pet

Because your pet cannot communicate his or her pain directly and time is of the essence, please contact us if you believe your pet is unwell. At the very least, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you responded quickly.

In the case of an injury, stabilizing your pet is important to avoid further damage. By making a call to us, we can walk you through what to do while getting your pet ready to come in. Pet first aid kits, as well as the Pet First Aid app, are incredible tools but cannot replace official veterinary care.

No one wants to think of their beloved pet in an emergency situation, but being knowledgeable and prepared can ensure a good outcome for your best fur friend.