Pet Emergency: Recognizing Signs of Distress

If your pet is showing signs of distress, contact a veterinarian immediately. If you have a dog that's vomiting or bleeding from the rectum, for example, don't wait for symptoms to worsen. Here are some common symptoms of pet emergency situations:


If you notice your pet throwing up, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • If the vomit looks like coffee grounds or if it has blood in it, take your dog to the vet immediately. These are both signs of something serious going on internally that requires immediate attention.
  • If the vomit is just bile and nothing else (or mostly bile), this could be an indication of an upset stomach due to stress or anxiety--it's not necessarily harmful but should still be monitored closely by an animal health care professional if it continues for more than 24 hours or if other symptoms appear during that time period.
  • You should also watch out for signs of dehydration in dogs who have vomited recently: dry gums and sunken eyes are two indicators of dehydration; if these appear alongside vomiting episodes then please contact us immediately! We're here 24 hours a day/7 days per week; don't hesitate when something seems wrong with your pet--they depend on us as much as we depend on them!


Lethargy is a lack of energy, tiredness, and sleepiness. Lethargy can be difficult to recognize because it often looks like normal behavior or playfulness in an animal. Lethargic animals may seem sluggish and weak, but they're still moving around. They may also be less playful than usual or not moving around much at all (lying down). If you notice that your pet has been sleeping more than usual over the past 24 hours or so and is having trouble waking up from naps, he might be experiencing lethargy due to illness or injury.

If your dog is unable to walk well on his own because he's too weak from illness or pain due to an injury such as arthritis in his back legs then consider calling our 24-hour veterinarian hospital immediately since this would qualify as an emergency situation requiring immediate treatment by one of our veterinarians

Lack of appetite

If your dog or cat is not eating, this can be a sign of illness. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

If your animal is refusing to eat and seems ill, try encouraging him to eat by warming up his food and offering it in smaller portions throughout the day. If he's still not interested in eating after several days, then it might be time to make an appointment with his veterinarian.


Diarrhea is a common symptom of illness and can be caused by many different conditions. The most common causes are food poisoning, intestinal parasites, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or something more serious like colitis or cancer. If your dog has diarrhea, you should contact your veterinarian right away so that he or she can determine the cause and prescribe treatment accordingly.

If your dog is very sick--for example if it's lethargic with labored breathing--it may need to go straight to an emergency veterinary clinic where they will try their best to stabilize him before sending him home with antibiotics if necessary

Abdominal pain

  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Pain when the abdomen is touched or pressed.
  • Pain when you move or lift your legs, especially if it's painful for you to walk or stand for extended periods of time.
  • A feeling of fullness in your stomach (also known as bloating), which can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, especially after eating food that causes gas buildup like dairy products and beans/legumes/lentils, etc...

Bleeding from the rectum

Bleeding from the rectum can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:

  • Intestinal blockage
  • Cancer
  • Infection in the intestines or colon (colitis)

If you notice your pet bleeding from their rectum, take them immediately to see a veterinarian. If you cannot get an appointment right away, try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the area with gauze pads or clean clothes until you can get medical attention for your pet.

Increased heart rate, temperature, or respiration rate

  • Increased heart rate. A normal dog's heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, while a cat's should be between 120 and 160 beats per minute. If your pet's heart rate is unusually high, it could be a sign of illness; if the rates are unusually low, your pet may be in shock.
  • Raise body temperature (fever). A healthy dog will have a temperature between 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit (37-39 Celsius) when they're awake; this drops slightly during sleep time or exercise but should return to normal once you've stopped exercising or resting for an hour or two after waking up from napping respectively. Cats have higher natural temperatures than dogs do--around 104 degrees F (40 Celsius)--but anything above 106 degrees F (41 Celsius) needs immediate medical attention because it could lead to organ failure if left untreated long enough!

If your pet seems to be in distress or is showing signs of being sick, call your vet immediately.

If you're not sure what's wrong with them and are worried about the cost of a visit, call them anyway--the sooner they get treated, the better chance they have at recovery. If you're not sure if it's an emergency (and even if it isn't), take your pet to see the veterinarian as soon as possible--it could save their life!

Prepare yourself by bringing along basic information about your pet's health history and medical record before going to see them.


If you think your pet is showing signs of distress, it's important to call your vet immediately. If the problem can be fixed with a simple treatment, then you'll save yourself time and money by getting help right away. You also won't have to worry about your animal suffering if he or she needs immediate medical attention!


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