What To Do In A Pet Emergency

Even the most careful and caring pet owners will likely run into a pet emergency in their lifetime – the question is, how can you best deal with the situation? Below we have compiled information on what to expect of a pet emergency and our top tips on how to stay calm and functioning to provide your pet with the best care possible.

What Constitutes A Pet Emergency?


To be able to best take care of your pet in severe situations, it is important to be able to recognize what may be considered a pet emergency and when you need to get the help of a professional right away. Below is a list of some examples of common pet emergencies – but it is key to note that this is not an exhaustive list and any situation that causes you concern or worry for your pet should never be ignored!

  • Potential poisoning/allergic reactions

  • Severe vomiting/diarrhea (presence of blood in vomit/diarrhea)

  • Road traffic accident (even if there are no visible wounds)

  • Bleeding/open wounds

  • Burns/broken bones

  • Eye injuries

  • Birthing complications, such as a long gap between babies being born or excessive bleeding

  • Fits/seizures

  • Difficulty breathing/sudden collapse

You know your pet better than anyone, so if you are particularly worried about them, it’s aways best to contact your usual or out of hours vet for advice.

How Can You Be Best Prepared For A Pet Emergency?


Being aware of what you may need in a pet emergency can save time and keep you calm in crucial situations where getting your pet help as soon as possible is important.


You should know the number and address of not only your usual vet, but also a local emergency veterinary practice so that you may have access to emergency care both within and outside of working hours. Store their contact numbers in your cell phone so that you have them to hand, even if a problem occurs when you are outside the home.


It is also important to have a fully stocked first aid kit on hand at all times, and to know some basic first aid – sometimes you will be required to make your pet comfortable and care for them until you are able to reach a clinic. Injuries such as open wounds and burns may need immediate care, and so knowing how best to provide temporary immediate treatment can be important. Your emergency vet can provide instructions over the phone if you aren’t sure what to do.


The most important thing to know is your pet – take note of any changes in behavior and potential symptoms so that you may relate these to your vet when you call.


What Should You Do In A Pet Emergency?


If you are concerned for your pet and suspect that they require emergency care, follow the steps below – and any additional advice provided by your vet – to ensure they are provided with the correct care and treatment quickly and effectively.

Call Your Vet


Get in contact with your local vet as soon as possible – the sooner you inform them of the situation at hand, the more time they will have to guide you and start to prepare for your pet’s arrival. During working hours, you should contact your usual veterinary clinic. However, should you find your pet requiring emergency care outside of working hours, contact your local emergency clinic instead.


Make sure that you give your vet as much relevant information concerning the incident as possible, such as how the injury occurred, when your pet started showing symptoms and the nature of the wound. Any and all information you can provide is crucial for your vet to provide you with the best advice and care for your pet.


It is important that you remain as calm as you can during this time. This will help to limit the stress your pet is under as they will be able to read your emotional climate, and also to effectively communicate the situation to your vet.


Steps Your Vet Will Take Next


Once you initially call your vet, they may give you advise on how to keep your pet comfortable or how to safely transport them to the clinic. Depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, there may be a short wait time as clinics have to prioritize treatment for pets most in need of urgent help. If this is the case, a triage assessment will be done for your pet to ensure they are not at risk due to delays – in some cases some first aid treatment (such as pain relief) may be administered. Testing and treatment will be discussed with you, as well as an estimated cost of treatment.


To learn more about what to do in a pet emergency or to book a visit, call Rocky Ridge Animal Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama at 205.267.1300 today.