Ill dogSharing your home with four-legged critters is a fun and rewarding experience – most of the time. Every once in awhile, though, pet ownership can take a serious turn. Unfortunately, animals can become sick or injured, and it isn’t always at a convenient time. Do you know what constitutes a pet emergency and what you would do if you had one?

Read on to make sure that your pet emergency skills are where they need to be.

Identifying a Pet Emergency

Sometimes it is hard to know what constitutes a pet emergency. It can be difficult struggling after “normal” hours to decide whether something can wait until morning or needs immediate attention.

The short answer is that it is never wrong to get something checked out. The old adage “better safe than sorry” certainly applies here, and we are never going to fault you for erring on the side of caution.

Some things, however, are always emergencies. While some are obvious, others are not quite so clear cut.

We want your pet to be seen right away for:

  • Breathing trouble or unstoppable coughing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours (sooner for very small, young, or geriatric pets)
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding, including from nose or in urine
  • Suspicion of broken bones
  • Potential toxin or foreign object ingestion
  • Straining/inability to urinate
  • Pain
  • Problems with the eye(s)
  • Hit by a car or other trauma
  • Attacked by another animal
  • Dry heaving or retching unproductively
  • Sudden lethargy
  • Active labor for over 3 hours without a puppy or kitten

What to Do

If you think that you are having a pet emergency, it is important to act quickly so that your pet can receive the appropriate treatment.

Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital is here for you with emergency services until 10:00 p.m., seven days a week. We are happy to try to answer your questions for you at any time.

Sometimes it is helpful to have the ability to perform some minor stabilizing care at home. You might consider putting together a small pet first-aid kit so that you can be prepared. When bringing your pet in, we do request that you call ahead with your emergency if at all possible so that we can be prepared for you and your pet and get to work right away when you arrive.

When you get ready to come see us on emergency, be sure to:

  • Bring along any medications or supplements your pet is taking (if you have time to gather them)
  • Bring any packaging or leftovers from a potential toxin exposure
  • Minimize handling your pet, as emergencies can be stressful
  • Move slowly and handle your pet gently
  • Use a pet carrier when possible to prevent further trauma
  • Try to keep the head above heart level if your pet is vomiting
  • Don’t forget that even the nicest pets may bite when in pain
  • Drive safely

Pet emergencies are never fun, but if you are prepared before they happen you can handle them with grace. We hope that you never need to put your emergency preparedness skills to work, but if you do please remember that we are here for you.