Cats and dogs are naturally playful creatures that enjoy interacting with their owners and other pets. However, there are times when their behavior may be a cause for concern as they may obtain injuries, be ill, or develop a health condition that needs medical attention. In some cases, medical conditions arise due to their age or genetics.

When Should You Take Your Pet to an Emergency Vet?

Below are general guidelines to help you determine if you must take them to an emergency animal facility right away, such as Torrance Companion Animal Hospital.

  • Severe bleeding. If your pet is bleeding excessively, immediately take them to the emergency animal hospital. Excessive bleeding can be a sign of an underlying health condition or injury and can quickly lead to shock.
  • Difficulty breathing. If your pet is having difficulty breathing, it is a medical emergency. This may be due to an obstruction, such as a foreign body or something caught in their throat. It may also be due to a heart condition, pneumonia, or another respiratory illness. Your vet may require x-rays and other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of their difficulty breathing and to develop a treatment plan. See this vet pharmacy for more information about pet medications and diagnostic tests.
  • Change in behavior. If your pet is acting unusual, it may be a sign of a medical condition or injury. A behavior change can be hard to notice, so pay close attention to your pet’s habits. It may be a sign of pain, illness, or injury if they are usually playful and energetic but are now lethargic.
  • Paralysis. It is also a medical emergency if your pet cannot move their legs or body. This may be due to a traumatic injury like being hit by a car, or an underlying health condition, such as intervertebral disc disease.
  • Uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea that cannot be controlled, it can lead to dehydration and other serious health problems. This is especially true for puppies and kittens, as they are more susceptible to dehydration. In some cases, this may also be caused by the two most common diseases in pets, such as distemper and parvovirus. Complete your cat or dog vaccinations to help prevent these diseases.
  • Severe injuries. If your pet has suffered a severe burn, been hit by a car, or sustained some other type of major trauma, they must be seen by a vet immediately. The vet may require diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, and may need to give your pet pain medication or start them on IV fluids. Visit this page to know more.
  • Trouble breathing. If your pet is having difficulty breathing, is gasping for air, or their gums are pale or blue, they’re not getting enough oxygen and need to see a vet immediately.
  • Non-stop vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is vomiting more than once or has diarrhea for more than a day, especially if they’re also acting lethargic, this could indicate a serious problem. In some cases, this may be due to deadly diseases, such as parvovirus and distemper. Make sure to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date to help prevent these diseases. See https://www.torranceanimalhospital.com/site/veterinary-services/cat-dog-vaccinations-parasite-prevention to learn more about pet vaccinations.
  • Ingestion of toxins. Call your vet immediately if you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, such as chocolate, rat poison, or a household cleaner. They will likely need to be seen by a vet and may require induced vomiting or other treatment.
  • 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.
  • Inability to urinate or defecate. This could signify an infection, blockage, or other serious health problems.
  • Sudden paralysis or weakness in the legs. This may indicate a serious neurological problem, such as a stroke, and requires immediate medical attention.
  • 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 vet 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 it’s their first time having a seizure, or if it lasts more than five minutes, take your pet to the vet immediately. This could be due to a number of conditions, such as epilepsy, low blood sugar, or poisoning.
  • Not eating or drinking. If your pet hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink for more than 24 hours, this could be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as liver disease.

Home Remedies if You Can’t Get to a Vet Right Away

If you’re unable to get your pet to the vet right away, there are some home remedies you can try. However, keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions and your pet will still need to see a vet as soon as possible.

  • If your pet is bleeding, you can try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
  • If your pet is having difficulty breathing, you can try to open their airway by gently pulling their tongue forward and clearing any mucus or vomit from their mouth.
  • If your pet has vomited more than once, you can try giving them small amounts of water or ice cubes to lick. If your pet has diarrhea, you can let them fast for 12 to 24 hours, then try giving them small amounts of water or a bland diet.
  • If your pet has seizures, you can try to protect them from injuring themselves by placing something soft under their head and removing any sharp objects from the area. Do not try to hold them down or put anything in their mouth.
  • If your pet is in pain, call your vet and see if they can give you any pain medication to administer at home. Do not give your pet human pain medication, as this could be toxic to them.
  • If your pet has been exposed to toxins, such as cleaning products, plants, or chemicals, call your local animal poison control center or the emergency vet to give you instructions on what to do.
  • 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 heatstroke, move them to a cool area and apply cool, wet towels to their body. Do not use ice because 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 to avoid causing further damage. Call your vet or take them to the emergency vet immediately.

Final Thoughts

Pets are susceptible to various medical conditions, some of which can be life-threatening. If you think your pet is sick or injured, see a vet as soon as possible. If you’re unable to get to a vet right away, there are some home remedies you can try, but keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions.