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Signs a pet needs emergency care

Sometimes an emergency situation involving our pet isn't always visible from the outside. Here, our Lacey vets discuss some of the signs and symptoms that you should keep an eye out for that may require emergency veterinary care.

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

How to tell that my pet requires emergency care?

Animal emergencies can happen at any time and usually when we least expect it. When that happens it is important to know the signs to look for and if you witness this distress contact Olympia Pet Emergency immediately.

Sometimes our pets are good at hiding the severity of their discomfort as well as some injuries and emergencies occurring internally where we cannot physically see the issue. This means that knowing the signs and symptoms related to emergency situations is all the more important. If you notice any if the signs below in your pet it is crucial that you contact your Lacey vet immediately for veterinary attention.

Signs that your pet needs immediate emergency care

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

Basic first aid for pets

Basic first aid is a step that can be crucial in providing the best outcome for your pet. Your pet will still require experienced emergency veterinary care but applying basic first aid care will help to stabilize your pet while you transport them to your Lacey animal clinic.


If your pet is bleeding you should begin by muzzling them as they may be in pain and react negatively as you try to help them. To help stop the bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over the wound and apply firm pressure to the area using your hand and hold until the blood has clotted. If your pet is experiencing a severe leg wound then a tourniquet of gauze with an elastic band to secure it will be required. You should transport your pet immediately to your Lacey animal clinic.


If your pet is experiencing seizures you should never attempt to restrain them. Be sure to clear the area that your pet is in and keep the area clear of any objects that they may injure themselves with. After the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet. 


Utilize a muzzle to ensure the safety of both you and your pet. Use any flat surface that is large enough to lay your pet flat on and transport your pet to the animal clinic using that object. If you are able to it is recommended to secure your pet to the stretcher as long as you can do so safely without putting pressure on the injured area.


As this emergency affects the mouth and throat you should keep in mind that your pet may be in pain and scared and may accidentally bite you while you are trying to help them. If you can see the object when you look inside your pet's mouth, try to gently remove it. Take extra care to not push the object further down your pet's throat. If you are having difficulty with this or are not comfortable, bring your pet to our Lacey animal clinic immediately and our experienced emergency vets will assist you and your pet.

How to be prepared for an emergency

Things that you should know

Because emergencies can happen at any time and in any place, it can make a difference to have all of the necessary information on hand. Some of the information that will make managing the emergency easier is:

  • 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

Cost of emergency care

Emergency veterinary care usually requires the use of advanced diagnostics and tools, therefore it can be quite expensive. As a pet owner, you are financially responsible for your pet regardless of the situation.

In order to ensure that you can manage no matter what happens with your pet, you should save money consistently in an emergency pet care fund. Putting off veterinary care in order to avoid emergency fees could put your pet's life at risk. 

If your pet is experiencing distress and requires immediate emergency care, contact our Lacey emergency vet clinic.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Olympia Pet Emergency, you can always access our full complement of emergency services without an appointment. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

Contact Us

Contact (360) 455-5155