Your pet’s adorable antics are one of the things you love most about them. However, those antics can get your four-legged friend into serious trouble. If your pet has chewed something they shouldn’t, chased a squirrel into a busy road and been hit by a car, or played too much fetch in the blazing summer heat, they likely need emergency care. But, how do you decide? Should you rush your pet for emergency treatment? Or, should you wait a day and see if they improve? This is a critical, but difficult, decision, so your Town & Country Animal Hospital team is here to help. We explain a few emergencies that require immediate care. When in doubt, contact our hospital.

#1: Your pet has been vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 24 hours

Gastrointestinal issues are incredibly common in pets, whether they’ve developed vomiting, diarrhea, or both. While a one-off incident isn’t too concerning, continuous vomiting or diarrhea can quickly dehydrate your pet and pose a greater threat. If your pet cannot hold down water and continues to have diarrhea, despite withholding food, they need to be seen for treatment. Additionally, if you notice blood in the vomit or diarrhea, schedule an appointment immediately. 

#2: Your pet is squinting or has developed an eye issue

Eye issues can rapidly pop up, and equally rapidly go downhill. Pets with bulging eyes and short snouts, such as pugs, bulldogs, and Persians, are most at risk for developing ocular issues, although any pet can sustain an eye injury. Play or roughhousing can result in a corneal scratch, or a foreign object can become stuck in an eyelid while out walking. If you notice redness, squinting, discharge, or any irritation or discomfort signs, your pet’s injured eye needs prompt care.

#3: Your pet is trying to vomit, but can’t

While vomiting is a serious condition, so is the inability to vomit. Large- and giant-breed dogs with deep chests are most at risk for developing a condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). However, any pet can experience bloat, which occurs when the stomach becomes distended with gas. Without relief, the stomach can flip over on itself, cutting off circulation. A GDV hallmark in pets is unproductive vomiting, so if your pet is trying to vomit, but producing nothing, contact us immediately about this life-threatening situation.

#4: Your pet is injured or bleeding

Superficial scrapes typically don’t require immediate treatment, but deeper wounds, broken bones, and other serious injuries are best cared for as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Nosebleeds, or blood in the urine, stool, or vomit, are also issues that should be addressed promptly.

#5: Your pet is having a seizure

A multitude of reasons can cause seizures in pets, and you should seek urgent care if your pet is having their first seizure, or the seizure is abnormal in any way. If your pet is on epilepsy medication and still having seizures, or they are getting worse, a new treatment plan is needed.

#6: Your pet is straining to urinate

Although pets with a simple urinary tract infection can strain to urinate, the situation can rapidly progress and become life-threatening. Male cats in particular are prone to urinary blockages, and can die without urgent treatment. If you notice your pet struggling to urinate or urinating small, frequent amounts, or has blood in their urine, contact us.

#7: Your pet is having difficulty breathing

Excessive non-stop panting, gasping for air, blue or purple gum color, or choking are all reasons to seek immediate treatment for your pet. 

#8: Your pet has ingested a toxic substance

If your pet ate a toxic substance, your first instinct is to make them vomit. However, you could do more harm than good if they swallowed something acidic or caustic, such as cleaning products. First, contact the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center for a detailed treatment plan, and then rush your pet to our hospital. Ensure you know what and how much substance was consumed, at what time, to give your pet the best chance for recovery.

Has your furry pal stumbled into an unfortunate accident? If you’re unsure whether they require immediate treatment, contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital team for advice and triage service over the phone. For after-hours emergencies, contact our sister hospital, Columbia Pike Animal Hospital, for help.