Cats and dogs are good at masking their pain, so it can be hard to tell if they are experiencing a veterinary emergency. In this blog, our Egg Harbor Township vets share how you can recognize a veterinary emergency and first aid tips you can use to help keep your pet as comfortable as possible until you can see a veterinarian.
Contact our Egg Harbor Township veterinarians or the nearest emergency animal hospital immediately if your pet is having an emergency.
How To Tell If Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care
Your pet can counter a situation that requires emergency veterinary care at any time of the day or night, and you'll have to be prepared for when or if it happens.
It can be challenging for pet owners to know when their beloved animal companion requires urgent vet care. This is why it's important to know some of the signs and symptoms that indicate your cat or dog needs to see an emergency vet. If you still aren't sure if a trip to the pet ER is necessary, contact your vet or local after-hours emergency vet clinic for advice.
Signs Your Pet May Be Having An Emergency
Here are some common signs that could indicate your cat or dog is having an emergency and needs urgent veterinary care:
- Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
- Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Obvious pain
- Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or chokingInflammation or injury to the eye
- Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
First Aid Basics For Pets
Please be advised that performing basic first aid on your pet isn't meant to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your animal so you can bring them to the emergency vet.
Before starting, put a muzzle on your pet. To help stop the bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over the injury, applying 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. Immediately bring your pet to the veterinary clinic.
Do not try to restrain your pet instead, do your best to remove objects that could hurt your animal. Once the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and call your veterinarian.
First, put a muzzle on your cat or dog. Lay your pet down on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If you can, secure your pet to the stretcher, and avoid putting pressure on the injured area.
If your pet is choking, they may bite out of panic, so it's essential to be cautious. Look inside your pet's mouth and try to see an object and try to remove it if you are able. Be careful not to accidentally push the object further into your cat or dog's throat. If this is too difficult, don't waste precious time trying. Immediately transport your pet to your vet's office or emergency veterinary clinic for care.
How To Be Prepared For a Veterinary Emergency
Important Details To Know in Advance
You never know when an emergency could happen, but being prepared for a veterinary emergency can help you provide your cat or dog with the best possible care as quickly as possible. Our Egg Harbor Township vets recommend keeping the following at hand in case of an emergency:
- The contact information for your vet's office
- The phone number of the closest emergency vet clinic
- The Animal Poison Control Center phone number
- Directions to the emergency vet clinic
- A list of steps on how to stop your cat or dog from bleeding
- Knowledge of basic pet CPR
- Instructions on how to muzzle your dog when they are in pain (so they can't bite others)
Financial Considerations & Responsibilities
Because of the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment needed, emergency vet care can be expensive. As a pet owner, it's your responsibility to make sure you are able to financially take care of your pet in a time of crisis.
Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by putting money aside specifically for emergencies, or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care in order to avoid emergency fees could put your pet's life at risk.