Cats and dogs are naturally playful and curious creatures. Unfortunately, this can lead to injuries or illness. As a pet owner, you should tell when your furry friend needs to see a vet immediately and when they can wait for an appointment. This can help you save time, money, and stress for you and your pet.
When Should You Take Your Pet to an Emergency Vet?
The following are general signs that something is wrong with your pet and they need to see a vet right away:
- Severe bleeding. This could indicate an internal injury or a broken bone. This is especially true if the bleeding is constant or if your pet is losing consciousness.
- Severe pain. If your pet is whimpering, crying, or foaming at the mouth, they could be in severe pain and need immediate medical attention. Your vet may require diagnostic tests, including x-rays, to determine the cause of the pain. Make sure that the animal facility you go to has these services. See Torrance Companion Animal Hospital for more information.
- Inability to urinate or defecate. This could indicate an infection, blockage, or other serious health problems.
- Sudden paralysis or weakness in the legs. This is one of the conditions that should not be delayed, so time is of the essence. Take your vet to an emergency clinic or hospital right away. Visit this page if you’re in the Torrance, CA, area.
- Difficulty breathing. If your pet is panting excessively, has an open mouth, or is making grunting noises, they could have difficulty breathing. Take them to the vet immediately.
- Eye problems. If your pet’s eyes are bulging, have discharge, are bloodshot, or are otherwise abnormal, they need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is vomiting more than once or has diarrhea for more than a day, this is most likely caused by an infection or intestinal blockage. Sometimes, conditions such as parvovirus or distemper can cause these symptoms. That’s why pet vaccination is important.
- Changes in behavior. If your pet is unusually lethargic, aggressive, or restless, this could be a sign of a medical condition.
- Seizures. If this is first time your pet has a seizure, they need to see a vet right away, as this could indicate a serious health issue. If this is not the first time, and the seizure lasts less than five minutes, you can wait to see if your pet recovers before taking them to the vet. Clear the surroundings and make sure they’re not in danger, such as near the stairs. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes or if your pet has multiple seizures, take them to the vet immediately.
- Changes in respiration. If your pet is gasping for breath, has labored breathing, or is having difficulty breathing, they need to see a vet ASAP, as this could be a sign of heart disease.
- Inability to defecate or urinate. This could signify an infection, blockage, or other serious health problems.
Home Remedies if You Can’t Get to a Vet Right Away
If you cannot get your pet to the vet right away, you can try some home remedies. However, remember that these are only temporary solutions, and your pet will still need to see a professional as soon as possible.
- If your dog or cat is bleeding, use a clean cloth to apply direct pressure to the wound. If the bleeding is constant, you can create a makeshift tourniquet by tying a string tightly around the limb above the wound. Be careful not to tie it so tight, as this could cut off circulation.
- If your pet is in pain, call your vet and see if they can give you any pain medication to administer at home. Avoif giving your pet human pain medication, as this could be toxic to them.
- If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, withhold food and water for 12 hours. After 12 hours, start with small sips of water and gradually increase the amount every 30 minutes. If your pet keeps the water down, you can start giving them small amounts of bland food like boiled chicken and rice. If they vomit again, stop the food and water and wait another 12 hours before trying again.
- If your pet is having a seizure, clear the area around them and ensure they’re not in danger. Do not try to restrain them, as this could cause injuries. Time the seizure, and if it lasts longer than five minutes, call your vet or take them to the emergency vet.
- If your pet has been exposed to toxins, such as cleaning products, plants, or chemicals, call the Pet Poison Helpline. They will give you instructions on what to do and whether or not you need to take your pet to the vet.
- If your pet is choking, you can try to dislodge the object by gently pulling it out with your fingers. Do not try to stick anything down their throat, such as straw or your fingers, as this could push the object further down. If you’re unable to remove the object, take your pet to the vet immediately.
- If your pet has trouble breathing, check their mouth and nose for any objects blocking their airway. If you find anything, gently remove it with your fingers. If your pet still has trouble breathing, call your vet or take them to the emergency vet.
- If your pet has heatstroke, move them to a cool area and apply cool, wet towels to their body. Do not use ice, as this could cause further damage. Call your vet for instructions and take them to the vet immediately if their temperature does not start to go down.
- If a snake has bitten your pet, keep them calm and still. Do not try to suck the venom out or cut the wound, as this could cause further damage. Call your vet or take them to the emergency vet immediately.
Pets can have all different health problems, some of which are life-threatening. If you think your pet is sick or injured, take them to the vet as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can try some home remedies to help ease their symptoms. However, keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions.