13 animal emergencies that should receive immediate veterinary consultation and/or care
- Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes
- Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
- Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
- Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
- Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
- You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
- Seizures and/or staggering
- Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
- Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
- Heat stress or heatstroke
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
- Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
7 things you should know in case of an emergency with your petIf you have an animal emergency, contact your vet immediately.
If you suspect or know that your pet has eaten or been exposed to a toxic substance or product, contact your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [888-426-4435*] immediately.
* a fee may apply
- Your vet’s emergency phone number;
- The local emergency clinic number;
- How to get to the emergency clinic;
- Poison Control number (888-426-4435)
- How to perform basic CPR on your pet;
- How to stop bleeding/apply a basic pressure wrap;
- How to muzzle your pet (to keep an injured pet from biting you)
First Aid Tips for Pet Owners
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet's life until it receives veterinary treatment.
First aid supplies
Our handy checklist tells you all the supplies you should have on hand for pet first aid. Print out a copy to use for shopping, and keep a copy on your refrigerator or next to the first aid kit for your family, for quick reference in emergencies.
How to handle an injured pet
Knowing how to comfort an injured pet can help minimize your pet's anxiety and also protect you and your family from injury.
Basic pet first aid procedures
Read our simple instructions for providing emergency first aid if your pet is suffering from poisoning, seizures, broken bones, bleeding, burns, shock, heatstroke, choking or other urgent medical problems. Print out a copy to keep with your pet emergency kit.
First aid when traveling with your pet
A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet in first aid situations while you are traveling. Remember: pet medical emergencies don't just happen at home.
Pets and disasters
Whether confronted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, or unexpected catastrophes such as a house fire, you need to be prepared to take care of your animals. A pre-determined disaster plan will help you remain calm and think clearly.
Additional pet first aid links
- American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)/Healthy Pet: Pet First Aid
- The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Basic First Aid for Your Pet
- American Red Cross: First Aid for Pets
- VeterinaryPartner.com: First Aid and Emergency Care