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What to do in a Pet Emergency

Aug 20, 2014

How to approach an injured pet

Most injured pets try to be defensive. Dogs can bite and cats can scratch. It is advisable that you approach the injured pet slowly while trying to talk calmly to it. By doing this, the pet relaxes and you get ready for the next job.

How To Diagnose For Emergencies

You can run some quick physical tests on your pet by placing your hand on some key body parts just like in humans.

Check for breathing

You can easily tell if the pet is still breathing by observing the chest cavity. Make sure that the chest expands out slowly and easily. If there are difficulties in respiration, the pet will try to produce some unusual sounds, or try to extend its neck or head to catch a breath.

Blood circulation

Check for the pets gum color to ascertain that the blood is flowing. Normally, the gum color should be pink or white. For grey or blue color gums, it is an indication of inadequate blood circulation.

Eye check

Let the pet sit up and look straight in the eyes. Normal eyes should retain the white color. Any abnormal pigmentation, red or yellow colors calls for emergency treatment and the pet should immediately be seen by a veterinarian.


You can determine the temperature of the pet by inserting a digital thermometer in the rectum for approximately one to two inches. Take a digital thermometer, lubricate it with petroleum jelly and gently insert into the rectum. Normal temperature should be around 37 0c.

Skin Test

Gently run your hand on the pet from the head to the legs to check for injuries. The pet will try to react abnormally when you touch an injured part. The fur may make it difficult to see wounds and other problems.

How To React To Different Types Of Emergencies

Cardiac arrest

Diagnosed by pet collapsing, respiratory distress, vomiting or bluish gray gum color.
Call veterinary IMMEDIATELY, as such emergency would cause death to your pet. Minimize pets’ activity and possibly carry them.

Urinary infections

Signs could include: bloody urine, difficulties when urinating due to urinary blockage, and abdominal pain. In such cases, consult a veterinary immediately.


This could arise from change in the pet’s diet or could be due to an underlying medical problem. Make sure that the pet continues to drink plenty water. If it persists for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care immediately.


Mainly injuries are due to pet injury. In such a case, have someone restrain the head of the pet. Flush the wound with clean saline water and take the pet to the veterinarian for further care. For bleeding wounds, wash with saline water and then cover with a clean cloth before transportation to reduce bleeding.

Poisoning and swallowing foreign objects

Most pets try to vomit when they inject poison or swallow foreign objects. Give the pet plenty of water so that it cleans up the system. Consult a veterinarian immediately.


Burns progress overtime and may open wounds with discharge. Flush the burnt area with cool water for at least five minutes. NEVER APPLY ICE directly to animals’ skin. Consult a veterinarian.


If possible, stabilize the injured limbs but do not try to align the fracture as it could cause further injury. Do not give pain killers to animals unless instructed by a veterinarian. Some medications are poisonous to animals. Carry the pet to reduce pressure on the fracture.

For great cat care advice and articles written by knowledgeable veterinarians in the UK, check out this site.