A striped cat with its ears down partially hiding behind a white cloth like it's in pain. This may be a behavior associated with a pet emergency.As a pet owner, few things are as frightening as a pet emergency. Whether your pet has been hit by a car, is vomiting unexpectedly, or something just seems off, it can send even the calmest pet parent into a tailspin.

Knowing whether or not your pet needs immediate medical attention isn’t always easy. Some emergencies are obvious, but many are not. It can be hard not to panic when a pet suddenly seems ill or is behaving differently, which is why it’s so important to understand what constitutes a pet emergency.

Know Their Normals

Pets are naturally skilled at hiding signs of illness or injury, which is why it’s so important for you to pay close attention to their normal habits and behaviors. Changes in the following can signal a need for a trip to the veterinarian:

  • Eating or drinking habits
  • Sleeping habits
  • Urination or defecation
  • Movement (limping or other changes in movement)

Please call us or bring your pet in any time things don’t seem quite right. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Warning Signs of a Pet Emergency

While not every pet emergency is life-threatening, your pet will still need to be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Bring your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital if they are experiencing any of the following:

  • Bleeding – Bleeding from any orifice or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes warrants medical attention.
  • Trauma – Any type of trauma, such as being hit by a car, getting into a fight with another animal, or falling from a great height, should be considered an emergency.
  • Breathing problems – Difficulty breathing, choking, or coughing uncontrollably warrants a trip to the vet right away.
  • Eye injury – Your pet should be seen by a veterinarian immediately for any injury to the eye, no matter how minor.
  • Elimination difficulties – Pain or difficulty urinating or defecating, or not doing either for more than 12 hours, could indicate a dangerous blockage.
  • Severe vomiting/diarrhea – Your pet should be seen right away if they are vomiting or having diarrhea multiple times per day, or if these symptoms are accompanied by other signs of illness, such as fever or lethargy.
  • Not eating/drinking – Refusal to take in food or water for 24 hours is an indication that your pet needs medical attention.
  • Labor difficulties – If a laboring dog or cat has gone several hours in between delivering puppies or kittens, give us a call right away.

We hope that you never experience a true pet emergency, but knowing what to look for is the first step toward getting your pet the help they need! Please don’t hesitate to call your team at Kings Trail Animal Hospital if you are ever unsure of what to do for your pet.