Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care

Knowing whether your pet needs emergency care or whether you should be ok to book them in for a regular appointment can sometimes be difficult to determine. As a pet owner, your first concern is your pet’s wellbeing, and the concern and worry you feel may sometimes influence your judgment of the situation.

In these situations, it is important to remain calm, and get in contact with your local vet – either to get advice on how to make your pet comfortable until you can book them an appointment or get them treated as soon as possible. To help you make more informed choices in a pet emergency, we have compiled a list of some of the most common signs that your pet may need emergency care.  


What Signs Indicate a Pet Needs Emergency Care?

Sometimes we wish our pets were able to tell us what is wrong, but the next best thing is keeping note of any and all symptoms they may be displaying. Your pet’s behavior is the best indicator of what kind of help they may need, so here are some signs that your pet may need emergency attention: 



  • Severe burns 

  • Heatstroke 

  • Unconsciousness 

  • Blood in urine, feces, or vomit 

  • Refusal to eat or drink for an extended period of time 

  • Fractured, broken, or dislocated bones 

  • Bleeding from open wounds 

  • Blunt force trauma 

  • Difficulty birthing 

  • Ingesting poisonous items 

  • Pain urinating or passing feces 

  • Choking or difficulty breathing 

  • Seizures 

  • Injuries from fights or road accidents (even if your pet seems fine as there may be internal bleeding) 

  • Eye, mouth, or head injuries

  • Repeated vomiting or diarrhea  

What Requires Emergency Treatment & What Can Wait? 

Although your pet may need to be seen by a vet, some pet emergencies are able to wait until normal open hours at a veterinary rather than immediately. The following are just a few examples of times when you should seek immediate care for your pet:



  • Fractured or broken bones 

  • Refusal to eat for an extended period of time 

  • Birthing difficulties 

  • Bleeding from an open wound 

  • Head injuries 

  • Excessive vomiting 

  • Unconsciousness 

  • Breathing difficulties 


If your pet is experiencing any of these problems, or something similar, it is crucial that you contact your vet to seek assistance. Not only should they be able to see your pet as soon as possible, but they will be able to provide you with advice on how best to help your pet in the meantime (like how to transport your pet and keep them comfortable).


There are other situations where, although your pet will need treatment, you should be ok to book a regular appointment and help your pet from home until then. These situations include some of the following:


  • Insect stings 

  • Limping

  • Scratching and itching 

  • New lumps, spots, or rashes 

  • Blood in your pet’s urine 

  • An increase or decrease in thirst 


In these cases, you should contact your local vet to make an appointment and seek advice on how you can care for your pet and keep them comfortable until their appointment. Of course, it is important that you monitor their condition closely, in case their symptoms grow worse, or they later end up needing immediate emergency care. Your vet will want to know exactly what is wrong with your pet when you see them, too, as this will allow them to provide the best care possible.


What To Tell The Vet

It is crucial that you stay as calm as possible in order to clearly communicate with your vet. You need to explain, in as much detail as possible, what is wrong with your pet – especially if you are unsure whether they need immediate treatment or not – and how they sustained any potential injuries. Ensure you take note of any advice your vet gives you on how to help your pet until you are able to bring them in for treatment. 



For more on emergency pet care, please visit The Animal Hospital at our office in Slingerlands, New York. Call (518) 456-0852 to schedule an appointment today.

Helpful Articles


Learn More

Request an ​​​​​Appointment

Contact Us