26012 Marguerite Pkwy, Suite 0, Mission Viejo, CA 92692


Pet Emergency Clinic Tips: When Should I Take My Dog or Cat to the ER?

Pet emergency clinic

When Should I Take My Dog or Cat to the ER?

In the realm of pet ownership, moments of crisis can strike suddenly, demanding rapid and informed action. This comprehensive guide explores the essential facets of pet emergencies, offering valuable insights to pet parents on recognizing, responding to, and seeking professional help during critical situations. From poisonous encounters to open wounds and seizures that can grip your beloved animal companions, understanding the nuances of these medical crises is paramount. In the following pages, we’ll delve into the signs, symptoms, and immediate measures necessary to safeguard your pet’s well-being in times of peril. Preparedness and knowledge are the keys to ensuring your furry friends receive the emergency medical attention they deserve.

When Should I Take My Dog or Cat to the ER

Handling Pet Poisoning and Other Emergencies

Quick and informed action is paramount for your beloved companion’s well-being during pet emergencies. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a harmful substance and it’s an immediate crisis, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Contact your regular veterinarian and the nearest emergency animal hospital, such as BrightCare Animal ER, at (949) 716-9270. Time is critical.

Preparedness for Poisoning Incidents

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline is your primary resource in poison-related emergencies. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, it provides immediate access to vital emergency medical assistance. A consultation fee may apply, but the expert guidance is invaluable.

Understanding Pet Poisoning

Pets can encounter toxins by ingesting plants, foods, household items, medications, or hazardous substances. Each poisoning case requires careful handling and swift attention to ensure your pet’s safety. Here, we offer guidance and identify substances to keep out of your pets’ reach for the sake of their urgent care.

Understanding Pet Poisoning

Plants to Avoid

Numerous plants should never be within reach of pets due to their potential for harm. While individual reactions may vary, the following list includes commonly encountered plants known to cause gastrointestinal distress and vomiting:

  • Castor oil or castor bean plant,
  • Cyclamen,
  • Yew,
  • Sago palm,
  • Amaryllis,
  • Autumn crocus,
  • Ivy,
  • Marijuana,
  • Oleander,
  • Spanish thyme.

These and other plants can cause a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to severe illness or even death. To protect your pet, avoid planting these species near your home or keeping them indoors where your pet can access them.

Food to Avoid

Several human foods can be highly toxic to pets, necessitating careful monitoring of their diet. Some common foods to avoid include:

  • Alcohol,
  • Avocado,
  • Chocolate,
  • Coffee, and caffeine subproducts,
  • Grapes and raisins,
  • Macadamia nuts,
  • Yeast dough.

To ensure your pet’s safety, prevent access to these foods and exercise caution when disposing of them.

Household Products to Avoid

Pets’ curiosity can lead them to household products that are even more hazardous than certain foods. In case of contact with the following substances, seek immediate veterinary attention:

  • Bleach,
  • Antifreeze,
  • Rat poison,
  • Carpet fresheners,
  • Carpet shampoo,
  • Essential oils,
  • Fabric softener sheets,
  • Febreze,
  • Grout,
  • Swiffer wet jet.

Ensure these items are stored securely, out of reach of both pets and children.

Medications to Avoid

Human medications are typically formulated in doses that pets cannot tolerate. Any instance of a pet consuming human medication should be treated as a life-threatening emergency, regardless of the type or quantity of medication. Medications to be cautious of include:

  • Adderall,
  • Petroleum jelly,
  • Aspirin,
  • Baby aspirin,
  • Face wash,
  • Soap,
  • Breath fresheners,
  • Cigarettes and nicotine patches,
  • Grapeseed oil,
  • Ibuprofen and naproxen,
  • Mosquito repellent.

Keep all medications out of reach for pets and children to prevent accidental ingestion.

Responding to Pet Poisoning – Animal Emergency Guide

  • Remove your pet from the area and ensure no other pets or children are exposed to the poisonous material.
  • Check your pet’s breathing and general condition.
  • Pack a sample of the poisonous material to take with you to the vet.
  • Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, your veterinarian, or the nearest emergency animal hospital.
  • Do not administer home remedies or antidotes unless directed by professionals.
  • Do not induce vomiting unless advised by experts.
  • If emergency medical care is needed, securely place your pet in the vehicle and drive safely to your vet or animal hospital.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, don’t hesitate to call the provided numbers immediately. For questions or concerns, contact BrightCare Animal Emergency. Your pet’s safety remains our top priority.

When Should I Take My Dog or Cat to the ER?

Inducing Your Pet To Vomit, Who Should Perform It?

If your dog has ingested something harmful, do not attempt to induce vomiting at home. Seek emergency vet services immediately. Harmful substances can include over-the-counter medications, gardening products, toxic foods like chocolate and grapes, and household chemicals.

Professional Vomiting at a Dog Animal Hospital

Taking your dog to a professional veterinarian in an emergency situation is strongly recommended. Veterinarians may use medications like apomorphine hydrochloride or xylazine to induce vomiting safely. However, vomiting may only clear a portion of the stomach contents, and additional treatments and tests may be necessary.

Inducing Vomiting at Home

While it’s not recommended, if you feel it’s necessary to induce vomiting in your dog at home, you can use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon for every 5 to 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. This method should only be used for dogs, not cats.

Xylazine for Cats

Xylazine is a medication used to induce vomiting in cats, but it’s not given to dogs. It’s crucial to consult a veterinarian before attempting any home-induced vomiting in cats, as it may not always be safe.

What Not to Give Your Pet

Avoid trying to gag your pet, as animals do not have the same reflexes as humans, and it can lead to trauma. Do not use salt water mixtures, as they can increase sodium levels in your pet’s system, potentially causing serious health issues like tremors, seizures, and coma.

The primary message is that if you suspect your pet has ingested something harmful, it’s best to seek immediate professional veterinary medical care rather than attempting to induce vomiting at home.

Dog Wound Care: Healing Your Furry Friend

When faced with a dog’s open wound, it’s essential to understand when to seek professional help and how to provide initial care at home. Open wounds on dogs, often caused by lacerations from various objects, are alarming and require attention.

Home Care for Minor Dog Injuries and Ensuring Your Pet’s Stability

For minor scrapes and cuts, examine the wound carefully and thoroughly clean it with copious amounts of water to remove debris. Afterward, gently pat it dry with a towel before applying ointments or antiseptic solutions. If possible, consider bandaging the wound to prevent your dog from licking it, and an Elizabethan Collar can be useful in this regard.

Dog Wound Cleaning: When to Act Swiftly

For shallow wounds, here’s how to clean dog wounds effectively. However, if you notice bleeding, immediate action is vital. Use a towel to staunch the bleeding and rush your dog to an animal emergency center. Remember, lacerations can pose life-threatening risks, so don’t hesitate if you’re uncertain about the severity.

Seek a veterinarian’s assistance in these scenarios:

  • If your dog sustains a laceration in a sensitive area like the chest or abdomen.
  • If the surrounding area of the wound becomes red or swollen.
  • If the injury fully penetrates the skin. Prioritize your pet’s well-being – act promptly when it matters most.”

Do Not Delay in Bringing Your Dog to the Veterinary Emergency Room

In cases where the injury has penetrated deep into the skin, affecting muscles, tendons, or other tissues, immediate professional help is crucial. Look out for signs such as bleeding, redness, or swelling around the wound, and don’t hesitate to take your dog to the nearest veterinary emergency center.

In severe cases, veterinarians may need to use heavy sedation, surgically close the wound, or allow it to drain if contamination is risky. Your dog may also be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infections during healing.

Assisting Your Dog’s Recovery After the Emergency Has Subsided

Once back home, follow all instructions provided by the veterinarian and keep the wound clean. Administer prescribed medications as directed, and be cautious about wound reinfections. While letting your dog lick its wounds may be tempting, using an Elizabethan Collar is advised to minimize the risk of introducing harmful bacteria.

Insights From an Emergency Veterinarian: Guidance for Managing Seizures

Seizures are distressing symptoms that can afflict household animals like cats and dogs, often stemming from various neurological and physiological health issues such as distemper, brain infections, liver disease, meningitis, epilepsy, low blood sugar, or toxicity.

How Can You Assist Your Pet?

The duration and severity of seizures can vary widely from one pet to another. Before a seizure, you may observe signs like pacing, restlessness, or disorientation, followed by muscle stiffening, loss of bowel control, trembling, or even loss of consciousness during the seizure itself.

After a seizure, your pet’s recovery period can range from minutes to a full day. The seizure itself typically lasts only a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Keeping track of the seizure’s duration can be valuable information for your pet’s veterinarian, especially if seizures extend beyond five minutes or are suspected to result from ingested toxins.

Here’s what you can do to assist your pet during a seizure:

  • Sit closely to prevent injury or contact with hazardous objects.
  • Help lower your pet’s body temperature with cool, damp towels post-seizure.
  • Time the seizures to provide accurate information to the veterinarian.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor to avoid frightening your pet further.

What Does an Emergency Veterinarian Offer in Assistance?

They can offer vital medical attention if a trip to the emergency vet clinic becomes necessary. Emergency veterinarians may use sedatives like diazepam to control seizures and provide hospitalization with IV fluids for hydration during and after seizures. In severe cases, they can investigate potential underlying neurological issues.

Remember to call ahead and follow the guidance of qualified veterinary professionals to ensure your pet receives the best care tailored to their specific needs.

Recognizing Different Types of Seizures

Seizures can take on several forms in both dogs and cats. Understanding these variations is essential for pet parents to identify and respond to them effectively. Here are the key types:

  • Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures,
  • Partial Seizures,
  • Complex Partial Seizures,
  • Absence Seizures,
  • Atonic Seizures,
  • Myoclonic Seizures,
  • Cluster Seizures,
  • Status Epilepticus.

Familiarity with these seizure types enables pet owners to better communicate with veterinarians, aiding in accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans.

This information is provided for informational purposes, but in any true emergency, always consult a veterinarian for advice and seek veterinary medical care promptly. Pet insurance can also provide peace of mind by helping cover the costs of emergency vet visits and other veterinary services during medical emergencies.

Other Veterinary Emergencies

Other Veterinary Emergencies

Our best friends are loving and playful but tend to get into trouble; that’s just them being them, and it’s normal to have the occasional emergency that isn’t always severe or life-threatening. Some of these emergencies can include:

Not Going to the Toilet

If your pet has not gone to the toilet for more than a day and a half, then they may have an infection that needs some attention. Check for signs of urine in your cat’s litter tray and monitor your dog when you take them out to the toilet to see if they can produce urine.

Going to the Toilet Too Much

Going to the toilet too much can also be a sign of an infection that needs addressing. If your cat or dog is repeatedly going potty over some time, you may well want to get this checked out.

Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are also common and can result from something that simply got into your dog’s eye, such as dirt while playing to something more serious. If your dog is suffering from an eye injury, they might show squinting, rapid blinking, inability to open their eye, tearing, and bloodshot eyes. They may also try pawing at their eye and face area.

An Animal Emergency Center You Can Trust

At BrightCare Animal Emergency, we understand and respect that you want to be your dog’s number-one hero by caring for them when times get rough.

However, sometimes, the best thing you can do is place your trust in the hands of experienced veterinary professionals who love pets just as much as you do. Our staff is committed to providing you and your pet with exceptional care so that you can have your pet back by your side feeling better than ever.

To learn more about us and our services, contact us. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.