When does my dog need emergency vet care?

As a loving dog owner you'll no doubt be keeping an eye on your pet's health at all times, but do you know when you need a vet for an emergency? Sometimes it can be tough to establish whether your dog is just a little under the weather or needs urgent care; this guide will help you to know when things are serious enough to call the vet straight away.


Large wounds which are bleeding heavily without doubt are a emergency, but even small wounds can prove fatal to dogs if they do not get urgent medical care due to the risk of infection. Try to clean the wound with clean water before applying a dressing to the area, then seek assistance as soon as possible.

Road traffic accidents

If your dog is hit by a car and not showing any outward signs of injury, you should still take it to the vet as a matter of emergency. The impact could have caused internal bleeding or concussion, both of which can be fatal. Try to minimise your dog's movement as much as possible whilst transporting him.

Sting, bites and allergic reactions

Just like humans, dogs can often sustain single bites and stings without any problems, but keep an eye out for any obvious or severe reactions such as difficultly breathing, severe diarrhoea or swelling; all of these are reasons for an emergency visit to the vet. If you know your dog has been stung or bitten multiple times, you should go to the vet as soon as you can even if no signs of reaction are obvious. In very rare instances vaccinations can cause severe allergic reactions, so keep a look out for breathing problems, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea after your dog or puppy has vaccinations.

Seizures and fainting

If your dog collapses you need to seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible as there are many life threatening conditions which could have caused it. If your dog has a seizure - they fall to one side and begin shaking - you should concentrate on moving any potential hazards out of the way, keeping your dog calm until the fit is over and then contacting your vet as soon as possible.


If you're aware that your dog has eaten something that is bad for them such as prescription medication or plants, you should arrange to see your vet immediately. Although your dog may seem fine, some poisonous foods and substances can make your dog become very unwell incredibly quickly and others can even be fatal.

Toileting problems and vomiting

Whilst one-off moments of sickness or diarrhoea is usually nothing to worry about, you should get emergency care if your dog has repeated diarrhoea or vomiting. It's also important to seek advice if you notice blood in your dog's stool, vomit or urine; these could be signs of gastric dilation and volvulus (also known as 'bloat') or a urinary blockage, both of which can be life threatening.