13 Common Pet Emergencies That Need Immediate Attention
Having a pet is a commitment. Most people misunderstand the most common pet emergencies, and don’t call for help until it’s too late. Understanding and keeping a list of the most common emergencies that require a veterinarian’s attention will help keep a pet healthy for a long time.
1. Severe Bleeding
This is the number one emergency because too many people believe an animal’s first aid can be done at home. If bleeding is severe or lasts more than five minutes, it must be checked by a vet. The fur could be hiding a bigger problem, or the animal might need stitches to heal without infection. The cut could be deeper than it appears, or there could be internal bleeding that needs surgery.
2. Choking and Difficulty Breathing
As with humans, it’s never a good idea to “wait and see” when an animal cannot breathe. Never try to clear the airway, and learn animal CPR to keep the animal safe. Take the vet to emergency care, even if CPR helps the animal breathe again, to make sure the animal is safe. A vet is the best trained person to make sure the animal does not have internal damage that caused the breathing issues.
3. Blood from Extremities
If there is blood in sputum, vomit, excrement, nose, ears, eyes, or mouth, it’s important to find out why. Perhaps the animal was injured while out of your sight, and needs emergency procedures to live. Blood should never be taken lightly. Seek emergency care immediately if blood is found coming from an animal. There could be unseen internal injuries.
4. Inability to Toilet
If the animal has pain in urination or defecation, or can do neither, it’s important to find out why. The animal could have an issue larger than you can handle, and may need a doctor’s care. Animals often do not express pain, so an ongoing issue can progress to a life threatening problem without your knowledge.
5. Injury to Eyes
An animal’s eyes are structured differently than a human’s eyes. If the eye is injured, there could be internal damage to structures close to the brain. Asking a vet for help will save your pet further harm.
6. Eating Poison
Many things that are fine for humans are toxic for animals. Items such as antifreeze, multivitamins, chocolate, pest poison, and more are very dangerous. They are also items an animal will ingest willingly. Learn what items are poisonous to your pet and call a vet emergency service immediately if you suspect your animal has ingested any poisonous substance.
If an animal seizes, vet attention is required immediately. Staggering also falls under this category. These activities indicate a problem with the brain, and the animal needs immediate help. A vet can assess the situation, and might require more tests to find out how to best help the animal.
8. Lameness and Broken Bones
It’s never a good idea to allow an animal to “heal” when he or she displays leg issues. Allowing this to happen will cause the animal unnecessary pain later in life. Avoid these issues by taking the animal to the vet and help him or her live a longer, healthier, happier life.
9. Pain and Anxiety
As stated above, pets will not tell their humans when there is pain. If an animal is exhibiting signs of pain, it has progressed to a severe state and the animal must see a vet right away. Another method of expressing pain or illness is anxiety. If your normally happy dog suddenly snaps at your hand or does not welcome visitors, there might be a physical issue. Call a vet right away to have the animal evaluated to check for any possible pain. If you can pinpoint the area of the pain, it will help the vet’s diagnosis. Note the animal’s change in behavior and anxiety activities as well, as these notes will also help the vet.
10. Heat Stroke
As more stories of animals left in cars surface, so does the awareness of heat stroke. If an animal is suffering from heat stroke, he or she must see a vet immediately. Some signs of heat stroke are:
- panting excessively
- dark or bright red gums
- dry tongue
- staggering, stupor or seizures
- bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting
11. Severe Vomiting/Diarrhea
Many people like to wait these out, but either of these items in their severity will cause dehydration and death quickly. It’s important to find out why the animal is having this reaction. Take the animal to the vet, and try to remember what the animal has eaten. Consider any poisons the animal may have encountered using the poison list mentioned above. The information you can provide about your pet’s most recent activities will help the vet find out what’s wrong.
12. Refusal to Drink
An animal will drink consistently. If the animal has had nothing to drink in the past 24 hours, despite available water, take the animal to the vet. It’s important to understand your animal and keep the water dish clean, but even if the dish is dirty, an animal will eventually drink from it. Any refusal to do so over 24 hours is an indication of an emergency situation.
This item seems obvious, but some pet owners may think their animal is simply sleeping. If the animal cannot be roused from a sleep, contact a vet right away. The animal may have passed out. The vet will need to evaluate the animal to find out what could be happening to make the animal lose consciousness.
Vital Pet First Aid Tips To Help Keep Your Pet Healthy And Safe
When you own a pet, there are many things to keep in mind. You not only need to make sure their environment is safe for themselves, but also have a working knowledge of what pets should and shouldn’t eat, and keep their best interests at heart. In addition, it’s important to know some pet first aid tips, just in case.
Necessary First Aid Supplies
First aid kits are not only important for humans. If you own a pet, you should have a first aid kit prepared in care of emergencies as well.
That kit should first and foremost include the phone numbers of your veterinarian, the nearest emergency veterinarian clinic (if your vet doesn’t offer an emergency option), and the number for animal poison control. These phone numbers will be crucial if your pet is in distress and needs help.
Additionally, your kit should include a leash, gauze, strips of cloth, adhesive tape for bandages (not human bandages), milk of magnesia, hydrogen peroxide, an eye dropper, a digital thermometer, muzzle, and even a board or blanket that can be used to stabilize an injured pet.
Why You Need These Supplies
Obviously, you should use supplies like gauze, strips of cloth, and adhesive tape for wound care. If your pet has an injury and is bleeding, it is important to apply pressure and try to get the bleeding under control as quickly as possible.
A leash and muzzle are helpful if your pet is injured to keep both you and your pet safe. Especially if your furry friend has the tendency to bite when it’s hurt, the only way you can help them is to muzzle them.
A digital thermometer should be used rectally to monitor the temperature of your pet, and you can use the eye dropper to administer medicine or even to help flush a wound.
Lastly, the hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting in your pet, but should only be used after you have spoken to a doctor. Similarly, after speaking to a professional, you can use the milk of magnesia with activated charcoal to help absorb poison in your pet.
First Aid Tips
What To Do When Your Pet is Poisoned
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, it’s important to act quickly. Whether you think your pet has accidentally ingested something that it shouldn’t have, or it was attacked and even purposefully poisoned, you must move fast. In fact, you need to seek care for your pet immediately.
When speaking to a professional on the phone they may suggest you use either the hydrogen peroxide to help your pet to throw up the poison, or the milk of magnesia to help remove the poison before you can bring in your pet for further care. Either way, you never want to give your animal medicine without talking to a professional.
In many cases, your pet may only have a few hours before something critical happens. But sure to think clearly and make decisive decisions.
How to Handle a Choking Pet
Another first aid tip you should know is how to deal with a choking pet. We all know that sometimes, our furry friends eat more than they can handle or chew on something that they shouldn’t. When that happens, you should be able to do something to alleviate your pet from choking.
If your pet is choking and clearly in distress, you should first try to see if you can see the object in the pet’s throat. Depending on the size of your pet, you might be able to open their mouth and actually see the object that is choking them.
If you can clearly see and grip the object, then proceed with that and pull the object from the throat. But be aware that your pet may be more likely to bite when it’s in choking distress. If you are unable to remove the object or your pet collapses, you should try to lay it on its side and strike the rib cage with the palm of your hands 3 to 4 times.
Pet Safety and First Aid During Hot Days
During hot days, it’s particularly important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. If you suspect that your beloved pet is suffering from heat stroke, remove them from the heat as best and fast as you can. Place a cool or cold wet towel around its neck and head without covering the eyes, nose, or mouth. Switch out the towel regularly until you are able to get your pet to a vet for medical attention.