Is it Urgent? Recognizing the Signs of a Pet Emergency

Imagine you’re out strolling with your dog and suddenly, another dog runs up and attacks! You and your pet escape without any major scrapes, but you notice your dog has some surface wounds. Is this an urgent situation?

Another scenario: you wake up to the sound of your cat retching for the fourth time that night. Is this a pet emergency? What if you suspect your curious puppy has ingested your daughter’s lunch, which had some grapes on the side…how do you handle the situation?

Sometimes, it’s tough to know when a pet might need urgent veterinary care, and when time is of the essence, second-guessing can waste precious moments. To help every owner be more prepared for any situation, the team at Berks offers up some tips on what to do during a potential pet emergency.

Situations to Consider a Pet Emergency

While a bit of vomiting may not represent a life or death situation, the following should always be treated as an emergency:

  • Pet is struck by a vehicle
  • Fall from a height (such as a second or third story window/balcony)
  • Fracture
  • Deep wound
  • Pet is bitten or scratched by a wild animal or unknown pet
  • Sudden limping or lameness
  • Collapse
  • Seizure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding from mouth, nose, or anus
  • Bleeding that does not stop after 5 minutes
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea that doesn’t subside
  • Straining to defecate/urinate
  • Distended, hard abdomen
  • Attempts to cough or gag
  • Ingestion of a known toxin

If you observe any of the above occurrences, please phone us immediately or take your pet to the nearest emergency vet hospital for an evaluation.

It’s also important to assess whether your pet is behaving normally or whether something just seems off. In many cases, pet owners have saved time by simply trusting their instincts and seeking help.

Even if the situation turns out to be less critical than you thought (and we hope that’s the case!), you’ll have peace of mind knowing your precious fur friend is not in harm’s way.

Pet Emergency Preparedness

One of the best ways to ensure your pet receives urgent care should the need arise is through pet emergency preparedness. Like with people, seeking help quickly and providing care while in transit can do a lot for a good prognosis.

Tips for pet emergency preparedness include:

  • Keep your pet’s medical records, medications, extra leash and collar, and carrier in a convenient location.
  • Save your veterinarian’s contact information along with your pet’s records on your phone – this also includes nearby emergency clinics.
  • Be well-versed in basic pet first aid. The American Red Cross has a very helpful pet first aid app with step-by-step instructions.
  • Assemble a comprehensive pet first aid (the AMVA has a handy list of items to include).

In the event of an emergency, keep calm and use a reassuring tone of voice, which will help soothe your pet. Although an emergency can be scary, being prepared can help produce a positive outcome and will help you feel empowered during an urgent situation.

For more information or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.