What warrants a trip to the emergency vet—and what doesn't? Your playful pup has a potentially serious injury, isn't acting like themselves, or has obvious symptoms of an illness. Now what? You're not sure if they need emergency vet services or can wait until the next day for an office visit. Take a look at the dos and don'ts to follow after an accident, injury, or object ingestion or when your dog seems more than just a little bit sick.
Do Contact The Vet When In Doubt
There is no replacement for a professional's opinion and evaluation. Injuries and illnesses are often difficult for the average pet parent to judge. If your dog seems sick, limps, has a cut, or has any other physical/medical issue, you need to consult a licensed emergency veterinarian ASAP. When you call the vet, provide the pet pro with a list of your pet's symptoms or injuries and your concerns. These could include how much/little your pet eats, vomiting (the number of times and consistency), how much/little your pet drinks, bleeding from a cut, mobility status, or any physical symptom that gives you pause or makes you think that it is a true emergency.
Don't Wait To Call
Your dog eats something potentially hazardous, can't walk, can't keep food or water down, is listless, has odd or unusual behaviors, has a deep wound, was injured by another animal (domestic or wild), was in an accident, or has another issue/injury that is sudden or serious. When should you call for veterinarian emergency care?
The answer to this question is right now. Don't wait and see how your dog acts minutes or hours from now. Dehydration, a traumatic brain injury, a deep wound that causes blood loss, respiratory/cardiac issues, and animal bites often require immediate emergency care. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of a negative outcome or (in the case of an injury or bite) secondary infection.
Do Have A Vet On Standby
A pet emergency is challenging for many pet owners to handle. It's normal to feel out of control or overwhelmed by the situation. This can make the next steps difficult to take—especially if they include finding an emergency veterinarian in the middle of the night or after an accident.
A true veterinary emergency is not the time to scroll through pages of search engine results or contact your friends and relatives for references.
Eliminate the added stress of finding a vet by choosing an emergency service provider before your dog needs help. If your pet's current vet doesn't have emergency hours, find one who does. A vet who offers regular checkups, sick visits, and emergency options can provide consistent care 24/7—whether your dog is acutely ill/injured or not.
Contact a clinic like South Seattle Veterinary Hospital for more information.