Knowing whether or not to bring your pet in for emergency services is one of the more difficult decisions a pet owner can face.

Sometimes it’s obvious that your pet needs to be seen immediately, but other times the signs of illness or injury can be subtle and confusing. When it comes to our pets, it’s important to understand what constitutes a pet emergency so that we can get our pets the help they need as soon as possible.

Common Pet Emergencies

Although not every situation on this list is immediately life threatening, it will still need to be evaluated by a veterinarian:

Wounds – Bleeding that does not stop within five minutes, or any bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum necessitates medical attention.

Trauma – Bring your pet in immediately if he or she has been attacked by another animal, hit by a car or other object, or fallen from a significant height, even if there are no visible signs of injury. Internal injuries or bleeding can quickly become life threatening.

Eye injury – Any type of eye injury is potentially serious, so don’t wait to have your pet seen if you observe any bleeding, discharge, or swelling around the eye.

Breathing issues – Uncontrollable coughing, choking, or any difficulty breathing should be considered an emergency.

Pain/extreme anxiety – Any signs of pain such as limping, whining, or other out-of-the-ordinary behaviors should be evaluated.

Undiagnosed seizures – Seizure activity in a pet that does not have a known seizure disorder is considered a medical emergency.

Elimination difficulties – Pain or difficulty urinating or defecating, including not doing one or both for more than 12 hours, should be addressed by a veterinarian as it could indicate a dangerous intestinal blockage.

Refusal to eat/drink – Your pet needs to be seen if he or she has not been eating or drinking for 24 hours.

Fever – A rectal temperature higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit is a cause for concern.

Labor problems – Give us a call right away if your laboring dog or cat has gone several hours in between the delivery of puppies or kittens.

What You Can Do

Taking action ahead of time can help you to be more prepared and calm in the event of a pet emergency:

  • Assemble the necessities – Have your pet’s medical records in an easy to access location, and be sure to plug our number and the number of nearby emergency clinics into your phone.
  • Get a first aid kit – Either put one together yourself or purchase a ready-made kit online. Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App for basic first aid instructions and tutorials.
  • Know your pet’s normals – Make sure you’re familiar with your pet’s normal habits and routines; any changes in behavior such as sleeping or eating habits, or energy levels should be noted. Always trust your instincts, and call us if you suspect something may be wrong with your pet.

Making sure your pet is seen by your veterinarian for all of his or her regularly scheduled wellness examinations will help to prevent certain illnesses or other health risks from evolving into a pet emergency. Please give your team at Poulsbo Animal Clinic a call to schedule an appointment for your pet!