When Is It a Pet Emergency?
Today, on Redhead Mom, we’re sharing a partnered guest answering the question, “When is it a pet emergency?”
An emergency situation can arise so quickly with a pet that it is hard to even know what you should consider an emergency. While these moments can be scary, it is important that you know how to stay calm and assess the situation to get your pet the help it needs. However, you have to know what an emergency looks like to be fully prepared.
Emergency Situations for Pets
Let’s start with the obvious emergencies. These are the times when you probably don’t even need to question whether your pet needs emergency veterinary care.
Trauma should always be treated as an emergency. If your pet falls out of a second-story window or gets hit by a car, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek emergency veterinary care. Even if you don’t see bleeding or broken bones, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t internal injuries that you can’t easily spot, and these internal injuries could lead to serious problems for your pet if left untreated.
Animal bites are another instance that should be treated as an emergency. Even a minor bite could be problematic if the animal transmits a disease to your pet, such as rabies. Bring your pet in for treatment regardless of how small the bite they receive is.
If you find your pet not breathing, you know that it is an emergency situation. If it is paired with no pulse, then it is an even more dire situation. While there could be any number of reasons that an animal stops breathing, one of the most common is choking. Always make sure that there is nothing visibly lodged in your pet’s airway. If you find something stuck in your pet’s throat, you can try to carefully remove it with your fingers or tweezers. Be careful that you don’t push the object further back in your pet’s throat, however. You can also learn how to perform CPR and the Heimlich on your pet to make sure that you are always prepared for these types of situations. No matter what, you will want to get your pet in to see a vet for a thorough exam.
Excessive bleeding, or bleeding that doesn’t stop within five minutes, should be taken seriously. If you notice that your dog or cat has a deep cut or injury that continuously bleeds without stopping after five minutes, you need to see a veterinarian right away.
Obvious broken bones will need to be set by a doctor as soon as possible to encourage proper healing. If you suspect that your pet has a broken bone, it is a good idea to go in for an x-ray.
Unconsciousness is another obvious sign of an emergency. If you can’t wake your pet up, there could be a very serious problem. Take any sign of unconsciousness very seriously and get your pet seen right away.
Less obvious pet emergencies include:
- Pale gums
- Difficulty standing
- Rapid breathing
- Apparent paralysis
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Change in body temperature (both high and low)
Taking Your Pet to the ER
Transporting a sick or injured pet to the emergency room can be challenging. You need to handle your pet especially carefully during this time. To get started, you might want to muzzle your pet for your own protection. Even the most docile pet can become aggressive when they are injured.
Transportation can be stressful for pets, so it is a good idea to keep your pet in a crate during the trip. To prevent sliding around, you can place towels in the bottom of the crate. Do your best to keep your dog comfortable and calm during the trip. When possible, have someone come with you so that one person can drive and the other can monitor your pet.
Be sure to drive safely and leave a little extra distance between you and other cars on the road to prevent a lot of movement for your pet during the trip. This is especially important if you believe that there is a spinal injury. In the event of a suspected spinal injury, you can also try to put your pet on a stretcher before transport to the hospital.
When possible, try to contact the veterinarian before you leave or while you are on the way to the hospital so that you can get help bringing your pet inside.