Handling pet health emergencies during the holidays

The holidays are a busy time, often filled with family and friends, holiday activities, and trips or guests. Most pet owners like to involve their four-legged family members in their celebrations, which can change the pet’s routine, diet, and environment. This can cause your pet to feel stressed or develop various health issues that may need to be dealt with. Your regular home veterinarian may not be available during the holidays, so a visit to an emergency veterinary clinic may be necessary.

Do I need to see an emergency vet?

During the busy holiday season, if your pet is sick or has an accident, a trip to an emergency veterinary clinic may seem like an unnecessary expense and time. After-hours care in an emergency clinic usually costs more than a visit to your home veterinarian during office hours. However, some conditions can be severe enough to cause permanent damage or even death. The best plan is to contact your veterinarian immediately for help.

Most veterinary offices have answering services or record information on how to get emergency services. You may be able to see your regular veterinarian, or they may refer you to a nearby clinic that handles urgent veterinary needs. So even if your regular veterinarian’s office is closed, you should call their office first.

After speaking with the veterinary staff, you will be able to describe the problem so the veterinarian can determine if an emergency visit is required. If not, a veterinarian can suggest next steps for proper care of your pet.

As a general guideline, these nine conditions require immediate veterinary visits.

open wounds, burns, or fractures

If your pet is involved in any type of accident, gets into a fight with another animal, or is hit by a car, they should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

discolored gums

Pale, white, or blue gums may mean your pet is in shock, suffering from low blood sugar, anemia, poor circulation, or internal bleeding.

toxin exposure

If your pet’s os comes into contact with toxic substances, human medications, certain plants, or certain foods, you need to see a veterinarian right away.

high or low body temperature

The normal body temperature of a dog is 101-102 degrees, and the normal body temperature of a cat is 100.5-102. If your pet’s temperature is outside these ranges, see your veterinarian.

excessive vocalization

When the pet cries continuously or loudly, this can be a sign of pain. Even if you are unsure of the cause of the pain, you should consult a veterinarian.


A cough can be a sign of heart disease or breathing problems.


Abdominal problems and internal bleeding can cause abdominal swelling. These problems often occur with vomiting. If left untreated, these problems can cause your pet to die.

Difficulty breathing

Heavy or trouble breathing may indicate heart problems or breathing problems. Of course, this may be a less serious problem, so a call to the veterinarian will help decide if a visit is necessary.


Seizures can cause permanent nerve or brain damage. Contact your veterinarian and be prepared to go to the emergency room immediately.

How to Prevent Pet Emergencies During the Holidays

Your family’s schedule usually varies during the holidays. People have vacations, events to attend, travel may be required, and friends and family may be visiting. This could mean that special treats and sweets are being offered to your dog. All of these activities will bring many changes to your pet. Try to keep your pet’s eating, sleeping, and activity schedule as close to normal as possible. Make sure they aren’t being fed table scraps and treats by well-meaning guests who don’t understand your dog’s dietary needs.

Keep an eye on your pets. Check them in regularly to make sure their behavior, attitude and appetite are good. Check that they are eating normally, urinating and defecating normally, and being active as usual.

If you notice any major changes in your pet, if they are involved in an accident, or meet any of the conditions listed here, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can provide the best advice for your pet.