Signs Your Pet Should See an Emergency Vet

Pets, like people, can develop conditions that necessitate immediate medical attention. Our Ventura vets explain when emergency care is required and what to do in those situations.

Contact your veterinarian or pet emergency clinic immediately
if your pet is having an emergency.


How do I know if I have a cat or dog emergency?

Situations that necessitate emergency care can arise at any time of day or night, and you'll need to be prepared if – or when – this occurs to your pet.

Knowing when your pet requires emergency care isn't always easy, so be aware of the signs and symptoms that indicate that a trip to the Emergency Vet is required. If you're unsure, seek assistance from your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic.

Signs of a dog or cat emergency

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
  • Lameness or inability to walk
  • Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
  • Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
  • Obvious pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
  • Inflammation or injury to the eye
  • Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing, or choking
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones

Basic First Aid

Please keep in mind that administering first aid to your pet is not meant to replace veterinary care; rather, it is meant to stabilize your pet in preparation for a trip to your veterinarian or an emergency clinic.


Begin by muzzling your pet. Apply pressure with your hand to a clean gauze pad over the injury until blood clotting begins (usually several minutes). Severe leg bleeding necessitates the use of a gauze tourniquet and an elastic band to secure it; take your pet to the veterinarian right away.


Remove any items that could harm your pet. Don't try to hold them back. After the seizure has passed, keep your pet warm and contact your veterinarian.


Put a muzzle on your pet. To transport them to the vet, place them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher. If at all possible, secure them to the stretcher while avoiding the injured area.


Be wary of your pet biting out of fear. Look for foreign objects in their mouth and try to remove them if possible, but be careful not to push the object deeper into their throat. If it's difficult, don't waste time on it; you could be wasting valuable time. Bring your pet to the veterinarian right away.

Being Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

Our vets recommend preparing and having the following available in case of an emergency:

  • The phone number for your vet's office
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others

Financial Responsibilities

The amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment required for your pet's emergency care can be costly. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to ensure that you can financially care for your pet in an emergency.

It may be easier to prepare for unforeseeable events by setting aside emergency funds or purchasing pet insurance. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees may put your pet's life in jeopardy, so keep this in mind when getting a pet.

If you need an emergency dog or cat vet, please contact our Ventura Animal Hospital or go to your nearest emergency veterinarian clinic immediately.

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We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(805) 339-2290