Like people, our pets can sometimes suffer from conditions that require immediate emergency intervention. Our Raritan, Somerset County vets describe scenarios that warrant a visit to the emergency vet, and what to do when a pet emergency occurs.
What should I do during a pet emergency?
Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic immediately if your pet is having an emergency.
Call us: 908-707-9077
How do I know if my pet needs to see an emergency vet?
By definition, emergencies are urgent medical situations that require immediate care. They can happen any time of the day or night, so it’s best to be prepared for if - or when - one happens to your pet.
It may not always be obvious when your pet needs an emergency vet, so we’ve put together a list of signs and symptoms that indicate a pet emergency is in progress. If in doubt, contact your vet or emergency vet clinic for assistance.
Signs of a Pet Emergency
- Severe injury (falls, broken bones, open wounds, car accidents)
- Vomiting in diarrhea or blood
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Swollen, bloated or painful abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Ingestion of poisonous substances, foods, bones or plants
- Difficulty breathing, choking or extreme coughing
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
- Eye inflammation or injury
- Loss of balance
- Obvious pain
- Sudden staggering, stumbling or blindness
Basic First Aid
Keep in mind that attempting first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care. These instructions will help you stabilize your pet until you arrive at your emergency vet or clinic.
Remove objects that can potentially harm your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them, and keep him or her warm after the seizure is over. Phone your vet.
Begin by muzzling your pet. Apply a clean gauze pad over the injury, putting pressure on the wound with your hand until the blood starts to clot (can take several minutes). Severe bleeding from the leg requires a tourniquet made of gauze and an elastic band to secure it. Take your pet to the vet immediately.
Act with caution as your pet may bite out of panic. Peer into their mouth, look for objects and attempt to remove any visible blockage, if possible. Be careful not to inadvertently push the object further into the throat.
If this proves difficult, don’t waste time as you could lose precious minutes. Bring your pet to the emergency vet immediately.
Muzzle your pet to prevent biting, as even the most loving of animals can panic in this situation, leading to a bite. Lay them on a flat surface and create a makeshift stretcher to get them to the vet. If possible, secure them to the stretcher, while avoiding the injured area on the body.
What You Should Know in Advance
Our Somerset County vets recommend that all pet parents prepare and have the following on hand in case of an emergency:
- Phone number of vet’s office
- Phone number of closest emergency vet clinic
- Phone number for Animal Poison Control Center
- Directions to emergency vet clinic
- Knowledge of how to muzzle your dog when she’s in pain so she doesn’t bite others
- Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
- Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
Emergency vet visits and emergency pet care can be costly due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring and treatment needed. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet during a crisis.
It might be easier to plan ahead for unforeseen emergencies by setting aside savings, or using pet insurance plans. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees can put your pet’s life at risk, so it’s critical to take this into consideration from the first day you bring your furry friend home.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.