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What is a Pet Emergency?

It's not always easy to decide whether your pet needs emergency care. In this post, our Gallup vets list some signs and symptoms that should tell you urgent veterinary care is necessary.

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

How do I know if my pet needs emergency care?

Situations that require emergency veterinary care can occur any time of the day or night, and our vets in Gallup want you to be prepared if this happens to your pet. 

Even the most doting pet owner might be unsure when their cat, dog, or other pet needs emergency care. That's why you need to know some of the signs and symptoms that indicate a trip to our medical center (or for after-hours emergency care at an animal hospital) is necessary. If you still aren't sure, contact your vet or emergency clinic for advice. 

Signs of a Pet Emergency

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

Basic First Aid

Please note that performing basic first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your animal for a trip to your emergency vet.


Before you start, muzzle your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury while applying pressure with your hand for several minutes to help stop bleeding until blood begins to clot. Wrap a tourniquet of gauze and secure it around the leg with an elastic band for bleeding in one of those limbs. Bring your pet to the veterinary clinic immediately.


Remember to be cautious, since your pet may bite out of panic. Check your pet's mouth for objects and try to remove the object if possible, while being careful to not accidentally push the object further into your pet's throat. If this proves too difficult, do not waste precious time trying. Immediately transport your pet to your vet's office or emergency veterinary clinic for care. 


Do not attempt to restrain your pet. Try to remove objects that may hurt your pet. After the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet. 


Muzzle your pet. Lay your pet on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If possible, secure your animal to the stretcher, avoiding putting pressure on the injured area.

Being Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

You never know when an emergency might strike, but being prepared for a pet emergency may help you to provide your animal with the best possible care quickly. Our Gallup vets suggest keeping the following at hand 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
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic pet CPR
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding

Financial Responsibilities

Due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment required, emergency veterinary care can be expensive. It is a pet owner's responsibility to ensure that they can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.

Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by putting money aside specifically for emergencies, or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care in order to avoid emergency fees could put your pet's life at risk. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pet in need of emergency care? Contact us at Cedar Animal Medical Center immediately or take your pet to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

New Patients Welcome

Cedar Animal Medical Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gallup companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(505) 722-7786