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Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Care & What to Do

Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Care & What to Do

It can be challenging for pet owners to understand when their pets need emergency veterinary care. Here, our Long Island vets share some of the signs that indicate a veterinary emergency.


How can I tell if my pet needs Emergency Care?

Day or night, situations requiring emergency veterinary care can happen, and you'll need to be prepared.

We understand that it can be tough for pet parents to recognize the signs that their dog, cat, or other pet is in need of emergency care. That's why, knowing some of the signs and symptoms that indicate a trip to the emergency vet is necessary, is helpful. If your pet is showing any of these tell-tale signs, contact your vet or emergency clinic for advice.

Signs That Your Pet May Be Experiencing a Pet Emergency

  • Seizures
  • Bloated, swollen or painful abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Lameness or inability to walk
  • Staggering or stumbling
  • Severe injury (car accident, fall)
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blood in diarrhea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Obvious pain
  • Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
  • Broken bones, open wounds
  • Sudden blindness 
  • Ingestion of poisonous foods
  • Ingestion of foreign objects
  • Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
  • Loss of balance
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Inflammation or injury to the eye

Basic First Aid for Pet Parents

While knowing how to perform first aid on your pet is important, but it cannot replace necessary veterinary care. First aid should be used to help stabilize your animal for a trip to your emergency vet.

Help Stop Bleeding

Muzzle your pet before beginning as hurt animals may bite, even the people they love. To help stop the bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over the injury, apply pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. A tourniquet of gauze with an elastic band to secure it will be required for severe leg bleeding. Bring your pet to the emergency veterinary clinic immediately for care. 

What To Do If Your Pet Has a Seizure

If your animal is experiencing a seizure, do not attempt to restrain your pet. It's a good idea to remove any objects close by that could hurt them. Once the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet for advice. If your animal has a number of seizures in a row or a single seizure that lasts for more than 3 minutes urgent care is required. Contact your vet immediately.

Caring for a Pet with a Fractured or Broken Bone

Begin by muzzling your pet, then lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If at all possible, we suggest securing your animal to the stretcher, being sure to avoid putting pressure on the injured area.

What to do if Your Pet is Choking

Your pet may bite out of panic, so it's important to be cautious while trying to help your animal. Open your pet's mouth and check for objects. If you spot something, gently try to remove it if possible. Be extremely careful to not accidentally push the object further into your animal's throat. If removing the object is too difficult, don't waste precious time trying. Immediately transport your pet to the vet's office or emergency veterinary clinic for urgent assistance.

Being Prepared for Pet Emergencies

What You Should Know in Advance

You never know when an emergency might strike, but being prepared for a pet emergency may help you to provide your animal with the best possible care quickly. Our Matthews vets suggest keeping the following at hand in case of a veterinary emergency:

  • Your vet's phone number
  • Phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Keep a muzzle that fits your dog handy, and know how to use it properly.
  • The Animal Poison Control Center phone number
  • Knowledge of basic pet CPR
  • Basic knowledge of how to stop bleeding

Financial Responsibilities in a Pet Emergency

Pet emergencies often require a significant amount of veterinary care. Diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment for your pet in an emergency can quickly become expensive. It is a pet owner's responsibility to ensure that they can financially care for their pets if an emergency strikes.

Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by regularly putting money aside specifically to cover the cost of emergency care for your pet, or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Delaying emergency veterinary care in order to avoid fees could put your pet's life at risk. 

If you're concerned your pet requires emergency care, contact our Long Island veterinary hospital immediately. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff are ready and waiting to help our pets in their time of need.

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