Like people, animals can occasionally experience conditions that necessitate urgent emergency treatment. Our Las Vegas veterinarians describe the situations that call for dog and cat emergency care as well as what to do in those cases.

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


How do I know if my pet needs Emergency Care?

Situations that require emergency care can occur at any time, day or night, and you'll need to be prepared for if - or when - it happens to your pet.

It's not always easy to tell when your pet needs emergency care, so you'll need to be aware of some symptoms and signs that point to the need for an emergency vet visit. If you need assistance, speak with your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic.

Signs of a Pet Emergency

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

Basic First Aid

Please be aware that attempting first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your pet for a trip to your vet or emergency clinic.


Put your pet in a muzzle to start. When blood clotting starts, place a clean gauze pad over the wound and apply pressure with your hand (usually several minutes). Bring your pet to the veterinarian right away if there is severe leg bleeding; a gauze tourniquet and an elastic band are required to secure it.


Remove objects that may hurt your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them. Keep your pet warm after the seizure is over and phone your vet.


Muzzle your pet. Lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible, avoiding the injured area.


Be careful because your pet might bite in a panic. Search for any objects in their mouth, and if you can, try to get rid of them. Be careful not to accidentally push the object deeper into their throat, though. If this is difficult, don't waste your time on it because you might be wasting valuable time. Take your animal to the vet right away.

Being Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

Our vets recommend preparing and having the following available 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
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others

Financial Responsibilities

Emergency care for your pet can be expensive due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment necessary. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.

With savings set aside for emergencies or pet insurance plans, it might be simpler to prepare for unforeseen circumstances. When getting a pet, it's important to keep in mind that delays in care to avoid emergency fees could endanger your pet's life.

If your pet is in need of emergency care, please contact our Las Vegas Animal Hospital or go to your nearest emergency veterinarian clinic immediately.