AEMC Emergency Guide

If you feel your pet is experiencing discomfort, has signs of sickness, has been exposed to toxins or is injured in any way, you should contact your family veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian or their staff will be able to assist you in determining if your pet needs prompt attention and how to safely transport your pet for treatment.


Legs thrashing
Uncontrolled urination

Move pet away from sharp cornered tables (pull pet carefully by one leg), if possible to a soft rug. Attempt to put a blanket or soft cloth under pet’s head. DO NOT HANDLE ANIMAL IN ANY OTHER WAY DURING SEIZURE as it could be dangerous to you. Convulsions usually last only 2-3 minutes. Keep animal quiet after a seizure. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Loose or runny stool

Do not feed animal for 12 hours. Do provide the animal with water, however, as diarrhea can cause dehydration. Small dogs and puppies should be seen immediately.


Rapid or difficult breathing

IMMEDIATELY place the animal in a tub of cold water or hose down if more accessible. Use a rectal thermometer to monitor temperature ( Normal range is 100.5-102.5). Encourage animal to drink cool water. Apply ice-pack to animal’s head. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Weak pulse
Shallow breathing
Dazed appearance

Often accompanies severe injury or extreme fright. Keep animal restrained, quiet, and warm. If unconscious, keep the head level with the rest of the body. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Without other symptoms

Remove food and do not feed the animal for 12 hours. Also remove water for 12 hours, then provide to the animal in limited quantities. Small dogs and puppies should be seen immediately. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Bite Wounds

Hair loss
Hair matted with saliva, pus, or blood

Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT ). Clip hair around the wound. Clean by liberally applying hydrogen peroxide. Apply bandage to control bleeding. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Bleeding (External)

Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT). Place thick gauze or cotton pad over wound and hold firmly. Use hands to apply firm, continuous pressure directly over bleeding area until clotting occurs. If there will be a delay in reaching the veterinarian, a large, clean bath towel can be used as a tourniquet. Apply tourniquet between the cut and the heart, LOOSENING EVERY 3-5 MINUTES. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Bleeding (Internal)

Pale gums
Coughing blood
Bleeding from nose, mouth, or rectum
Blood in urine
Rapid or weak pulse


Burns (Chemical)

Severe rash
Red/flush skin color

Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT). Flush immediately with large quantities of cold water. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Burns (Severe)

Severe redness
Skin peeling
Flush color

Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT). Quickly apply ice water compresses. Treat for shock. CALL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Animal Not Breathing

No movement in the chest
No air expelled from mouth or nose

Artifical Respiration: Clear animal’s mouth of foreign matter. Close animal’s muzzle with hands, cover nose with clean, thin cloth and exhale directly into animal’s nostrils at 12-15 breaths per minute. CPR-Lay animal on its right side on a flat surface.

With mouth closed and artificial respiration in progress, locate heart by reaching deep into the socket of the pet’s left leg and counting 3-4 ribs back towards the tail along the pet’s chest. Place the heel of hand in that spot and compress chest rhythmically 60-80 times per minute. Compress 1-2 inches for large dogs, less than 1 inch for small dogs/cats. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Pawing at the mouth

Quickly look into the mouth to see if the foreign object in the throat is visible. If possible, grasp with tweezers or pliers and remove. IF OBJECT REMAINS LODGED IN THROAT: Try a sharp blow on the back of the neck or between shoulders.

IF THIS FAILS, ATTEMPT THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER: Place hands on either side of animal’s rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. Repeat 2-3 times. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Hold animal up by hind legs to expel water from lungs. Remove any foreign matter from mouth or throat. Begin artificial respiration and CPR if the animal has stopped breathing (See “Animal Not Breathing” section). TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Eye Conditions (Foreign object in the eye)

If you can see it and it is not embedded in the eye, muzzle the animal (see RESTRAINT) and remove it. If the foreign object is embedded in the eye or difficult to remove, SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN to avoid any further damage to the eye.

Eye Conditions (Eyeball out of the socket)

Put socks on animal’s front paws to prevent scratching. Muzzle animal and gently attempt to push it back into the socket. Keep moist with saline solution. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT). Control bleeding, treat for shock if necessary. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SET FRACTURE. Transport to your veterinarian on plywood or wooden door padded with blankets.

If veterinary care is not readily available, splint fracture by padding limb with gauze or cotton, place two flat sticks or rolled newspaper on either side of leg and tape. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


  • Retching
  • Convulsions
  • Labored breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Salivation
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

If you can quickly determine what the animal ingested and how much call your veterinarian immediately and provide animal’s weight, age, and other relevant medical problems. TIME IS CRITICAL! Take further instructions over the phone as antidotes vary. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!

Snakebite (Non-poisonous)

Hair loss
Hair matted with saliva, pus, or blood

Treat as for animal with a bite wound.

Snakebite (Poisonous)

Hair loss
Hair matted with saliva, pus, or blood

Muzzle animal (see RESTRAINT). Keep animal quiet to slow the flow of venom. If leg wound, apply a flat tourniquet above the wound. TRANSPORT TO VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY!


In many injuries to animals, it is necessary to employ restraint. An animal who is injured and in pain cannot be held responsible for its behavior.

Follow these directions carefully:

  1. Use strip gauze, necktie, rope, or cloth about 3 feet long
  2. Make a large loop in center, slip quickly over animal’s nose
  3. Bring ends under chin and behind ears, fasten securely