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Signs Your Pet Needs Emergency Care

Similar to people, our animals can sometimes suffer from conditions that need immediate emergency intervention. Our Murfreesboro vets list scenarios in which your pet should visit an emergency veterinarian, and which actions you should take when an emergency happens.

What should I do during a pet emergency?

If your pet is having an emergency, immediately contact your veterinarian or nearest emergency vet clinic.

Call us: 615-893-1728

How do I know if my pet needs to visit an emergency vet?

By their nature, emergencies are urgent medical situations in which immediate care is needed. They can occur any time of the day or night, so it's best to feel prepared for if — and when — one happens to your pet. 

Because it may not always be obvious that your pet needs to see an emergency vet, we've compiled a list of signs and symptoms that point to a pet emergency being in progress. If you're ever in doubt, contact your veterinarian or closest emergency vet clinic for help. 

Signs of a Pet Emergency

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

Basic First Aid

Remember that trying to administer first aid on your pet is not intended to replace qualified veterinary care. These instructions are intended to help you stabilize your pet until you arrive at your emergency vet or clinic.


Approach your pet with caution as they may bite out of panic. Peer into their mouth to look for any foreign objects that may be trapped and attempt to remove any visible blockages, if possible. Be careful not to inadvertently push the object further into the throat.


Remove objects that might potentially harm your pet. Do not try to restrain them and keep him or her warm after the seizure has run its course. Call your vet.


After muzzling your pet to prevent biting (since even the most gentle and loving animals may panic in this situation), lay them on a flat surface and create a makeshift stretcher to help get them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible while avoiding the injured area on the body.


Start by muzzling your pet to avoid inadvertently being bitten. Apply. a clean gauze pad over the injury, using your hand to put pressure on the wound until the blood begins to clot. (this may take several minutes). Severe bleeding from the leg will require a tourniquet made of gauze secured by an elastic band. Immediately take your pet to the vet.

Be Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

Our Murfreesboro vets recommend that all pet parents prepare and have the following on hand in case of an emergency:

  • Phone number of vet’s office
  • Phone number of closest emergency vet clinic
  • Directions to emergency vet clinic
  • Phone number for Animal Poison Control Center
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
  • Knowledge of how to muzzle your dog when she’s in pain so she doesn’t bite others

Financial Responsibilities

Emergency vet visits and emergency pet care can be costly due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring and treatment needed. As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet during a crisis.

It might be easier to plan ahead for unforeseen emergencies by setting aside savings or using pet insurance plans. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees can put your pet’s life at risk, so it’s critical to take this into consideration from the first day you bring your furry friend home.

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 our Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital veterinary team or the nearest after-hours animal hospital right away. Our compassionate veterinarians are experienced in administering emergency and urgent veterinary care for pets in Murfreesboro and area. 

Caring for Pets in Murfreesboro

Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Book Online (615) 893-1728