Common Medical Emergencies in Pets: What to Do When Your Pet Needs Help

Common Medical Emergencies in Pets: What to Do When Your Pet Needs Help

Choking and Difficulty Breathing

One of the scariest things to witness is your pet choking or having difficulty breathing. If you notice your pet gagging, coughing, wheezing, or gasping for air, it's important to act quickly. Carefully open your pet's mouth and check for any obvious obstructions, but do not attempt to remove anything with your fingers or an object, as this can cause further harm. If your pet is still choking, take them to the vet right away or to an emergency clinic if it's after hours.

Bleeding and Trauma

Accidents happen, and pets can become injured in various ways, from cuts and scrapes to more serious trauma. If your pet is bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. If the bleeding is severe or won't stop after a few minutes, seek immediate veterinary care. If your pet has been hit by a car, fallen from a high place, or been in any other serious accident, it's important to get them to a vet as soon as possible. Even if they seem okay at first, they could have internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent.


Seizures can be a scary and confusing experience for both pets and owners. If your pet is having a seizure, try to keep them calm and prevent them from injuring themselves. Move any furniture or objects that could harm them out of the way, and avoid touching or restraining them during the seizure. After the seizure has stopped, take your pet to the vet for an evaluation. Seizures can have a variety of causes, from epilepsy to toxin exposure, and your vet can perform diagnostic tests and recommend treatment options.


Pets are curious creatures, and they may sometimes ingest substances that are poisonous to them. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call your vet or an emergency clinic right away. Don't wait for symptoms to appear, as some poisons can be rapidly fatal. Depending on the substance, your vet may recommend inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, or providing supportive care to help your pet recover. It's important to keep common toxins, such as chocolate, medication, and household cleaners, out of reach of your pets.


Pets can quickly become overheated in hot weather, and heatstroke can be a life-threatening emergency. Signs of heatstroke include panting, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, move them to a cool, shaded area and offer them water. Use cool water or towels to help lower their body temperature, but don't use ice or cold water, as this can cause their body temperature to drop too rapidly. Take your pet to the vet right away for further treatment.

If you ever encounter a medical emergency with your pet, it's important to remain calm and seek veterinary care right away. Many emergencies can be successfully treated if caught early, so don't hesitate to contact your vet or an emergency clinic if you're concerned about your pet's health or safety.

Common Medical Emergencies in Pets: What to Do When Your Pet Needs Help