calling the vetEmergencies are an unfortunate aspect of pet ownership. No one wants to have to deal with a sick or injured pet, but being prepared for these situations is important so that we can help you to help your pet.

Sometimes it is difficult to know if a situation is even an emergency. Take a few minutes to be sure you know what pet problems need to be seen urgently and how to handle them.

How to Know if a Pet Problem is Urgent

It can be difficult to know if a problem with your pet needs immediate attention or if it can wait. Some problems should be evaluated without delay. These include:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Any bleeding from an orifice
  • Sudden lameness
  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Trouble breathing or coughing
  • Seizures
  • Change in demeanor or personality
  • Sudden lameness
  • Any trauma
  • Problems with an eye
  • Inability to urinate
  • Problems with labor
  • Exposure to a toxin

When it doubt, it is usually safest to have your pet seen. Many issues can turn emergent quickly and are often more successfully treated if addressed early in the course of events.

What to Do in a Pet Emergency

If you think your pet might be having an emergency, it is important for you as an owner to know what to do. With any problem, it is best if you can call us in advance so that our staff is prepared for your arrival. If you need assistance outside of normal hours, please call Naperville Animal Hospital’s Emergency Care line.

Next, decide if your pet needs additional care before heading in. When you call, we can help you to assess if this is necessary or not. It is helpful to have a pet first-aid kit at home.

Be sure to take care when transporting a sick or injured pet:

Limit Handling of the Pet – Transport your pet in a carrier or box if possible and use caution and a gentle hand to avoid further injury. Some pets may be calmed if covered with a blanket. A blanket or tarp can also be helpful when used as a stretcher to move larger dogs.

Position Your Pet– Limit your pet’s movement as much as possible. Keep his or her head in a normal position with the nose below heart level, especially if vomiting.

Keep Yourself Safe – All pets are capable of biting or scratching, especially when they are hurting or scared. You may need to place a muzzle on your pet in order to keep everyone safe. If you do not have a muzzle, it is possible to use other items such as a leash, shoelace, or strip of fabric. If your pet is having trouble breathing or is vomiting, do not use a muzzle.

Before you leave, grab any information pertinent to your pet (if possible). This may include any medications or supplements he or she is taking, copies of medical records, or packaging from a suspected toxin. These can be very helpful to us in treating your pet.

Do not administer any medications to your pet without veterinary instruction. Even appropriate doses of medications can hinder our ability to diagnose your pet and may limit our treatment options.

We hope that you never experience a true pet emergency, but it is important for all pet owners to understand how to handle these types of situations. If you are ever unsure of what to do for your pet or whether he or she should be seen, don’t hesitate to call us. We are here to help.