Puppy and Kitten Emergencies: How to Know When to Go
Adopting a new puppy or kitten can be one of the most delightful experiences in life. Although they are a lot of work, young pets captivate us with their curiosity, playfulness, and, of course, their cuteness. Unfortunately, the very characteristics that make puppies and kittens so wonderful can also lead them into danger.
Rushing a new pet to the ER probably isn’t on the forefront of our minds, but veterinary hospitals see their share of puppy and kitten emergencies each day. Knowing how to recognize and prevent common puppy and kitten emergencies will help you to ensure the ongoing health and wellness of your sweet pet.
What Constitutes an Emergency?
Because puppies and kittens are smaller and have less developed immune systems than adult pets, extra care should be taken to make sure they get the help they need in an emergency situation. Be on the lookout for the following puppy and kitten emergencies:
- Trauma – Any type of trauma, whether it is being hit by a car, bitten by another animal, or falling from a height, should be considered an emergency. Bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum, or any bleeding that doesn’t stop within a few minutes, is also cause for alarm.
- Poisoning – Young pets get into everything, and ingestion of a toxic substance is common among puppies and kittens. Items like toxic plants (lilies are especially dangerous for kittens), medications, cleaning and personal care products, antifreeze, chocolate, and anything sweetened with Xylitol can pose a threat to pets.
- High body temperature – Young pets have undeveloped immune systems, which put them at risk for a variety of illnesses that can cause a rise in body temperature. A rectal temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit is cause for a trip to the veterinarian.
- Difficulty breathing – Puppies or kittens may experience breathing difficulties during an allergic reaction, illness, or choking. Bring your pet in to see us immediately if they are experiencing any trouble breathing, including uncontrollable coughing.
- Foreign body ingestion – This common scenario plays out more often with younger pets, due to their innate curiosity and need to chew and play. Ingestion of foreign bodies can lead to choking or bowel obstruction.
Preventing Puppy and Kitten Emergencies
- Pet-proof your home – Puppies and kittens are notoriously curious and will chew on or play with anything they can find. Take a look around your home and remove or put away anything you don’t want your pet getting into.
- Keep them healthy – Make sure your puppy or kitten makes it to all of their scheduled wellness visits. Besides staying current on their vaccines, the wellness visit gives us a chance to catch any problems early, before they turn into a pet emergency.
- Supervise – Young pets should be supervised at all times to prevent unfortunate accidents from occurring. Make use of baby gates and/or a crate for times when you aren’t able to be with your little one.