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Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care

Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care

Like humans, our pets can develop conditions or obtain injuries that require immediate emergency care. In this post, our Roswell vets explain how you can tell if your cat or dog needs emergency care and what to do in a pet emergency.

Contact your veterinarian or emergency animal clinic straight away if your pet is having an emergency.

How To Recognize Cat & Dog Emergencies

Cats and dogs can have emergencies that need urgent care at any time of the day or night, and you will have to be ready for when they occur. 

Because it is not always easy to tell if your pet requires emergency care, you will need to be familiar with some of the signs and symptoms that indicate a trip to the Emergency Vet is required. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic.

Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care

  • Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
  • Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Lameness or inability to walk
  • Unconsciousness
  • Obvious pain
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
  • Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
  • Loss of balance
  • Inflammation or injury to the eye
  • Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
  • Unable to deliver puppies or kittens

First Aid Basics For Pets

Please be aware that attempting first aid on your pet isn't meant to replace veterinary care, it is only to stabilize your pet for a trip to your vet or emergency clinic.


To begin, muzzle your pet. Apply a clean gauze pad to the injury and apply pressure with your hand until blood clotting begins (usually several minutes). Severe leg bleeding necessitates a gauze tourniquet and an elastic band to secure it; take your cat or dog to the vet right away.


Remove all objects that could hurt your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them. Keep your animal warm after the seizure is over and call your veterinarian.


Muzzle your pet. Lay your cat or dog down on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible, avoiding the injured area.


Be cautious; your pet may bite in fear. Check for foreign objects in their mouth and try to remove them if possible, but be careful not to push the object further into their throat. If it's difficult, don't waste time on it; you could be wasting valuable time. Take your pet to the vet right away.

Being Ready

What You Should Know in Advance

Our emergency vets recommend preparing and having the following ready in case of a veterinary emergency:

  • The contact information for your primary care veterinarian's office
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • How to muzzle your dog when they are in pain so they don't bite others
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • The steps for performing basic CPR for pets
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center

Your Financial Obligations

Emergency care for cats and dogs can be expensive because of the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment needed. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.

Setting aside some savings for emergencies or pet insurance plans may make it easier to plan for unforeseeable circumstances. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees may jeopardize your pet's life, so keep this in mind when you become a pet owner.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat or dog having an emergency? Contact your primary care veterinarian or our emergency vets in Roswell immediately.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton is an after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1991. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

Contact Us

(770) 594-2266 Contact