Until you have had the opportunity to welcome a pet into your home, it is easy to underestimate quite how quickly they become an important part of your family. Unfortunately, our furry family members lack the ability to be able to
communicate with us in a fast and efficient way. While this doesn’t post too much of an issue day to day, and we can use changes in behavior and other signs to determine what our pets are trying to tell us, their inability to communicate can be potentially devastating in the case of a medical emergency.

Veterinary emergencies are fairly common, with thousands of pets being rushed into the care of their animal doctor every day. However, not all these cases are true emergencies and some could wait for a prompt, regular appointment with a vet. We understand that watching your pet suffer can be extremely frightening and it can be difficult to know when your pet’s health problem crosses into a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.

To help you determine whether you need to take your pet in for a veterinary emergency, we have compiled this list of situations and symptoms that will always require immediate professional care.


If your pet is bleeding severely, or the bleeding doesn’t stop within 5 minutes of the wound being compressed (if compression is possible) you should seek immediate veterinary care.

Bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum, as well as coughing up blood or blood in the urine should also be classed as an emergency.

Breathing difficulties

Breathing difficulties are immediately life-threatening. This includes gagging, choking, non-stop coughing or any other way in which your pet seems to be struggling to catch their breath.

Eye injuries

Do not attempt to touch or remove anything from the eye as this could cause further problems. Instead, seek professional veterinary assistance immediately. Fractures bones

Veterinary Content Bank

If you suspect that your pet has broken a bone then you should keep the affectedarea as still as possible and take him to the emergency veterinarian.


Heatstroke can be fatal and should always be treated as a veterinary emergency. Keep your pet as cool as possible on your journey to your vet.

Inability to pass stools or urine

If your pet is unable to toilet properly, or appears to be in pain related to trying to toilet, this should be classed as an emergency.

Obvious pain

If your pet is in obvious pain and distress, you should seek help regardless of whether you know the cause.

Poison consumption

If you believe that your pet has consumed something toxic (for example: antifreeze, pesticide, medications or cleaning products) then you should contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible.

Refusal to drink for more than 24hrs

If your pet has refused water for more than 24hrs, he could be at serious risk of dehydration and you should obtain immediate professional assistance.


If your pet has a seizure it can be scary to watch. Try and time the seizure while you get your emergency veterinarian on the phone, and ensure you move any harmful objects out of the way of your pet. You will likely be asked to take him in to see your vet straight away.

Severe vomiting or diarrhea

Severe vomiting or diarrhea can cause your pet to become very stressed and dehydrated very quickly. If your animal has had more than two episodes in 24 hours, treat the situation as an emergency and seek advice immediately.


If your pet loses consciousness for any reason, don’t delay, go to our veterinary clinic as quickly and safely as you can or  call immediately.

Pet emergencies can be extremely upsetting and overwhelming, but by understanding when it is vital to seek emergency care, you can be sure you are doing your best to help your pet when it matters most.