When your pet is unwell or involved in an accident it can be an extremely stressful time for both you and them. Emergencies involving your pet happen for all sorts of reasons and sometimes even the most vigilant and experienced pet parent are not able to tell that their pet needs emergency care.
Animals have an instinct to hide when they are sick or injured – it’s a survival skill that has allowed them to not appear vulnerable to predators in the wild, and even your house cat has this natural ability.
While it’s a survival instinct, it can actually cause more harm than good as you may not be aware that your pet has a life-threatening illness.
So, to help all you wonderful pet parents out there, we’ve put together some handy information about how you can tell if your pet is unwell, as well as some first-aid tips that may make caring for your pet a lot easier.
The signs that your pet may need an emergency vet
As a pet parent, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with the knowledge of various signs and symptoms that may indicate if your pet is unwell, because even the most prepared pet owners can be caught off guard by an emergency involving their pet.
That’s because emergencies don’t have a schedule, they can be caused by all sorts of things and tend to happen when you least expect it.
Here are some of the signs, symptoms and indications that your pet might not be well, and may need to urgent care:
- Excessive vomiting
- Known ingestion of toxic substances or foreign objects
- Wounds, cuts, and lacerations
- If they have been involved in a fight
- Road and car accidents
- Limping and lameness
- Excessive diarrhea
- An inability to urinate or defecate
- Excessive urination or defecation
- Eye injuries or inflammation
- Changes in breathing, either slower or faster
- Broken bones or fractures
- If they are showing signs of being in pain, like yelping
These are only some of the signs that indicate something is not right with your pet. If they are showing any of these or any behaviours that are different to their normal behaviours, your safest course of action is to seek medical attention.
First Aid Tips for Pet Owners
Now, unless you’re a qualified vet, we’re not suggesting that you perform any emergency surgery or anything like that on your pet. However, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of what you can do when your pet is involved in an emergency. It might help you to remain calm which can help your pet remain calm when it’s sick.
Here are some simple things first aid tips for what you can do if your pet is affected by any of these emergency conditions or issues:
1. If your pet is bleeding
When your pet is bleeding, we want to be able to stop the bleeding as soon as possible, which is something you can help with.
The first thing to do, if possible, is to muzzle your pet. This is because even though they know and love you, when they are injured, it’s a natural instinct to protect and defend themselves, so they may try to bite you to stop you from touching them where they are.
Once your pet is safely muzzled (if possible), then you need to work on stopping the bleeding. You’ll need clean gauze, or if you don’t have gauze, clean material, fabric, or cloth, and cover the wound. Next, with the wound covered, you need to apply light pressure to the bleeding area. This should help to slow or stop the bleeding.
If you manage to stop the bleeding, then it’s time to cover the wound. This will keep it protected from anything getting into it, and will also help to reduce the chances of more bleeding occurring. If you have gauze, cloth or bandage, use this to cover the wound and secure it with an elastic band.
2. If your pet has broken bones
Just like if your pet is bleeding, if they have a broken bone or suspected broken bone, they are likely to be in pain and may want to defend themselves if you get too close to the injury, so it’s a good idea to muzzle them if you can.
After you’ve muzzled your pet, try to get them to lay on a flat surface that you will be able to move. If you have a stretcher on hand, this is great, or if you have a painting canvas or wooden board that can accommodate them, these are good options too. The aim is to make it easier to move your precious pet without having to compromise their broken bone.
Some emergency vet facilities may be able to come to you to help you transport your pet as well, but they will likely need to be taken to a vet because broken bones can mean emergency surgery a lot of the time.
3. If your pet is having a seizure
A seizure can be extremely scary and confronting, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little shocked if your pet has a seizure.
To help them, the first thing you should do is remove as many things from around them as possible.
When they are having a seizure, they are unable to control their body’s movements, so the last thing you want is for them to bump into any furniture objects that might injure them.
Seizures usually don’t last too long, but they will need emergency care because there can be many different causes of seizures, from allergic reactions to their body’s chemistry. When your pet stops having its seizure, give your vet a call, as they will likely be able to offer some advice on how and when to transport them.
If you have any idea of what could have caused the seizure make sure you provide these details to your vet, and if they have repeated seizures or ones that last longer than a couple of minutes, the vet must be made aware of this.
If you need emergency care for your pet
Emergencies involving your pet can be incredibly scary and confronting, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the signs that your pet may be unwell as well as know what to do if they are. Hopefully this information will make you feel more confident as a pet owner. And if you’re looking for Bundaberg animal immediate care, then make sure you take your pet to the Bundaberg Emergency Animal Hospital – they have been providing 24 hour care to the pets of Bundaberg in Queensland for years!