We love our pets and consider them a part of our family. Like any family member, it can be concerning when our pets become sick or injured. Determining whether your pet’s illness or injury is a medical emergency, in need of a trip to the animal hospital can be challenging to decide. Understanding your pet’s ailment or illness, as well as any preexisting conditions, can help you make an informed decision when it comes to your pet’s health.


If your pet is sick, it can be heart-wrenching not being able to help. Determining when to take your pet to the animal hospital for an illness, like vomiting or diarrhea, can be tricky. One of the first factors to consider before taking your pet to the emergency animal hospital is the length of time your pet has been suffering from this ailment. Having a 24 hour or 48-hour illness or stomach bug can be expected for cats and dogs. If symptoms persist for longer than two days, you may want to take your pet to the animal hospital. Your pet may need medication, rehydration, or an examination to determine if there is an underlying cause.

Underlying Conditions

Sometimes, as our pets age, they develop certain conditions and ailments. While many of these ailments are benign, certain ongoing illnesses can be a reason for concern. If your dog has underlying organ issues, like heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or liver disease, and has recently developed an illness, a trip to an animal hospital might be in order. Further, diseases like diabetes and FIV in cats can make even uncomplicated infections and the flu dangerous. While a healthy cat or dog may recover on its own, an animal with a compromised immune system may need additional medication to get better.


Pets can be great at masking their pain and symptoms, and sometimes it can be hard to tell just how much your pet is suffering. Ongoing lethargy can be a troubling sign and a reason to take your pet to an animal hospital. Lethargy, when coupled with other symptoms, is a reason for concern. If your cat or dog is refusing to move, sleeping for long hours every day, or not eating and drinking, a trip to the emergency vet is in order.

Mobility Concerns

When it comes to injury, pets can heal amazingly quickly. But, sometimes, injuries require professional medical attention. If your pet has a simple limp and is reluctant to put weight on a limb, your pet may be able to recover on its own. Watch your pet and see if the condition improves in 48 hours. If your pet has injured a limb and is not putting weight on the limb or dragging the limb, it is time for a trip to the emergency vet.


Injuries are painful and difficult to manage in your pet, and a cut or scrape is no different. Pets can get injured, and accidents happen, but trying to determine when to go to the animal hospital for a pet care can be difficult. If your pet is bleeding and cannot control the blood, seek emergency care immediately. To stop the blood, apply pressure with a gauze or a compress. If your pet is bleeding due to a dog bite or animal bite, go to the animal hospital for further evaluation. Cuts and bites to the thorax and abdomen region should also be treated at an animal hospital to ensure the wound is cleaned, examined, and stitched together correctly.


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