How to Help a Pet in an Emergency

Any sort of emergency can be extremely frightening, but this is particularly true when it comes a medical emergency that is affecting your pet. Regardless of how strong the bond is between you, your pet will be unable to communicate to you exactly what is wrong and what you can do to help him.

Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to help your pet in an emergency, starting with calling our vet.

Find a great emergency veterinary service

Our veterinarian is your best support in emergency, and it is essential that you seek out an experienced and reputable out-of-hours vet as soon as you take on a pet. Familiarize yourself with their location and input their number into your home phone and cell, so that you don’t have to rush about finding their contact details if an emergency does arise.

In the case of an accident or emergency, our veterinarian should be the first call that you make. You will probably need to describe the situation, including any wounds or symptoms that your pet has. Our vet will be able to tell you what first aid it is safe to administer, and how to best transport your animal to them. It may be that your pet needs emergency assistance treatment before he can be moved.

Basic first aid

It may be necessary for you to perform basic first aid at the scene. However, before you do this you may wish to consider covering your pet’s mouth with a rudimentary muzzle if appropriate. Animals that are in pain may lash out with their teeth, even if they are usually placid. By putting his mouth in a muzzle, you could prevent becoming injured yourself. If you don’t have an actual muzzle, use some long strips of fabric to do the job.

Here are just some of the most common types of first aid that you may need to administer. For other types of injury, speak to our vet immediately.

What to do if your pet is bleeding

If your pet is bleeding profusely, you should apply pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding. Then wrap it firmly, but not so tight that you cut off the circulation, in a bandage and get to our veterinarian.

What to do if your pet is choking

If your pet is choking, her life is in danger. She may paw at her mouth, shake her head vigorously, and sound like she is struggling to breathe. Never put your fingers in her mouth as this could push any obstruction further in, and you could get bitten. Instead, strike her firmly between her shoulder blades to try and dislodge whatever is causing her to choke.

What to do if your pet has been burned

Burns can be difficult to assess as your pet’s fur tends to get in the way. Apply cold towels to the area and speak to our vet for further advice.

What to do if you think your pet has hypothermia

Hypothermia is a very real risk in the wintertime, and predominantly affects animals that have spent a great deal of time outdoors. Usual symptoms of hypothermia include a slow pulse, shallow breathing, confusion, and lack of consciousness. If your pet is wet, dry her off thoroughly, and then wrap her pre-warmed towels. Use your dryer to warm them if necessary. It is essential to bring her temperature up gradually.

What to do if you think your pet has broken a bone

Immobilize your pet as much as possible if you think she has inured her neck or back or broken a bone. Use a firm, flat surface such as a piece of wood or plastic, to transport her to our veterinary offices.

What constitutes a veterinary emergency

Some owners worry about whether an accident or injury is actually classed as a veterinary emergency, and whether they should wait to take their pet to their usual in-hours veterinarian. To help you identify is urgent care is needed, here is a list of pet emergencies that require immediate professional care.

- Difficulty breathing

- Seizures or fits

- Electric shock

- Severe trauma

- Heart exhaustion

- Hypothermia

- Unconsciousness

- Profuse bleeding

- Extreme lethargy

- Painful or bloated abdomen

- Painful eyes, with protruding eyeballs

- Paralysis

- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

- Suspected or confirmed poisoning

- Prolapse of the rectum or uterus

- Prolonged labor or difficulty giving birth

If you are still worried about helping your pet in an emergency, you could consider finding out of there are any pet first aid courses in your local area. Ask around or contact us and speak to our veterinarian to find out more.