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Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Care & What to Do

Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Care & What to Do

Knowing when your pet requires emergency care isn't always obvious. Here, our Apple Valley vets share some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate a trip to the emergency vet is necessary for your companion's condition. 

Contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic immediately
if your pet is having an emergency.

How do I know if my pet needs Emergency Care?

Regardless of the time of day, some situations require emergency veterinary care when they arise in your beloved companion. It's important for you as a pet owner to be prepared for if (or when) these kinds of issues affect your animal.

It can be quite challenging for pet owners to know when their cat, dog, or other pet is in need of emergency care. Because of this, knowing some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate an emergency trip to the vet is necessary is incredibly helpful. If you aren't sure whether your companion is experiencing a veterinary emergency or not, contact your vet clinic for advice. 

Signs of a Pet Emergency

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

Basic First Aid

Please note that performing basic first aid on your pet isn't a replacement for professional veterinary care. Its only purpose is the stabilize your companion while you are on route to a, ER for pets to receive cat and do emergency care. 


Ensure that you muzzle your pet before starting. To help stop your pet's bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over their injury, applying pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. A tourniquet of gauze with an elastic band to secure it will be required for severe leg bleeding. Immediately bring your bleeding pet to your veterinary clinic for an emergency appointment.


Don't attempt to restrain your pet. Do try to remove as many objects as possible from the area so they don't hurt themselves. After your pet's seizure is over, make sure you keep them warm and phone your vet.


Muzzle your pet. Lay your pet on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If possible, secure your animal to the stretcher, avoiding putting pressure on the injured area.


Your pet may bite you out of panic while choking so it is important for you to be cautious. Check inside your pet's mouth for objects and try to remove them if you are able. Make sure you don't accidentally push the object further back into your pet's throat. If this process is too difficult, make sure you don't waste time trying. 

Take your pet to a vet as soon as possible for immediate care. 

Being Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

You won't ever know when an emergency may strike, but being prepared for a veterinary emergency may help you in providing your pet with the best possible care as quickly as possible. Our Apple Valley vets recommend keeping the following resources on hand in case of a veterinary dog or cat emergency. 

  • Knowledge of basic pet CPR
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • The phone number for your vet's office
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others

Financial Responsibilities

Because of the amount of diagnostic monitoring, testing and treatments that are required as part of emergency veterinary care, it can be an expensive process. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to make sure that you can financially care for your pet in times of crisis. 

Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by placing money aside specifically for emergencies or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Putting off your veterinary care in order to avoid emergency fees may put your pet's life at unnecessary risk.

If your pet is in need of emergency care, please contact our Apple Valley animal clinic or go to your nearest emergency veterinarian clinic immediately.

Caring for pets in the heart of the Victor Valley.

Bear Valley Animal Hospital welcomes new and existing clients from Hesperia, Victorville, Lucerne Valley, and across the High Desert to our Apple Valley veterinary clinic.

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20991 Bear Valley Rd Apple Valley CA 92308 US


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