Sometimes it is hard for a pet owner to know whether his pet is experiencing something minor
or the need to be rushed to an emergency pet hospital right away. Here are some things that
can help you decide which it is for your pet.
Don't Be Embarrassed
First of all, you should never feel embarrassed about calling a veterinarian if you have concern
about your pet. You're never wrong to call. Veterinarians are used to emergencies and they
prepare for them. Most veterinary hospitals have doctors on-call or provide referrals to emergency
pet hospitals, so don't worry about waking your veterinarian out of a sound sleep.
Where To Get Help
provides a list of emergency pet hospitals. Just click on the Pet Emergencies
tab from the home page and enter your zip code. You will be provided with a list of 24 hour emergency
pet hospitals within a reasonable driving distance from where you are (if there are any) and if you need someone to talk to, the
page also includes emergency hotlines that are manned around the clock.
Remember, you know your pet better than anyone else. If you notice your pet behaving in a way
that's unusual for him or her, or if something just doesn't seem right, you may have picked up
on a subtle sign of a real problem. To find out, you can call your veterinary hospital, or an
emergency animal hospital near you.
When Is It A Real Emergency?
If your pet is experiencing any of the following, bring your pet in immediately for emergency care:
Your pet has experienced some kind of trauma, such as being hit by a car or a blunt object or falling more than a few feet.
Your pet is bleeding and you cannot stop the flow of blood.
Your pet isn't breathing or you can't feel a heartbeat.
(See Pet CPR.)
Your pet is unconscious and won't wake up.
Your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
Your pet collapses or suddenly can't stand up.
Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
If you're in an unfamiliar city and do not have access to the internet, look in the phone book under
emergency pet hospitals. Once you decide to bring your pet in for emergency treatment, make sure you
know where you're going and how to get your pet there safely. If you have any questions about
directions or how to move your ill or injured pet, call the hospital and ask. See the article
A Trip To The Pet Emergency Hospital
The best way to deal with pet emergencies is to prepare for them. Keep your veterinarian's name
and number on an emergency sheet near the phone, right next to the numbers for your doctor,
fire department, and poison-control hotline. You may also want to have a list of pet first aid
tips easily accessible (You can see our Pet First Aid Kit) and our article on giving first aid to your pet First Aid That Can Save Your Pet's Life.
The next time you bring your pet in for a checkup, ask your veterinarian what you should do in case of emergency. If your veterinarian refers evening and weekend emergencies to another hospital, write down that hospital's name and number too, as well as what hours your doctor refers cases there.
You know and love your pet, and you have the right to be worried if something seems wrong. Emergency veterinary professionals are there for you and you should never be afraid to call.