What to do if You Need a Vet in an Emergency

As a pet owner, it’s never easy seeing your dog or cat become ill. Unfortunately, just like people, our pets can sometimes require emergency medical or surgical care. From life-threatening conditions that present acutely, to poisoning and accidental injury, there are many reasons you might need immediate access to a vet.* That’s why we’ve spoken to our pet health expert and put together our guide on what to do if you need a vet in an emergency.

What to do if you need a vet in an emergency. Puppy at vets.

First Thing’s First

When you introduce a new four-legged friend into the family, it’s important to register them with your local vet as soon as possible. Make sure you have the veterinary practice’s contact details in case of emergency. Planning ahead can help, too. If you don’t have your own transport, make sure either your vets have an ambulance service available or that you have an alternative transport plan in place.

Don’t Hesitate

In an emergency, don’t hesitate to contact your vet immediately, on the way to the veterinary practice if needs must. Contacting them in advance will allow your vet to give you advice, set up any equipment needed and ensure staff are available. When you do speak to the vet, try to stay calm and clearly state what has happened, when it happened and your pet’s symptoms. If your pet has eaten something toxic, take the packaging to the vets if possible, and take any medication they may be on.

What to do if you need a vet in an emergency. Cat with cone.

Take Your Pet to the Vet

Once you’ve contacted your vet, make sure you take your pet to the practice as soon as possible. They’ll be able to provide better care on site than at your home due to the extra staff and equipment available. If you’re out and about with your pet, you might need to go to a different vet’s, so always plan ahead when you take your dog or cat on holiday, and find the numbers and locations of local practices.

Holiday Blues

If you’re going on holiday and leaving your dog or cat with a friend, ensure they have your vet’s contact details to hand, and make them aware that if they do need to go for any reason, that payment may be required at the time. If you’re leaving your furry friend at a kennels or cattery, ensure they have arrangements in place in the event of a medical emergency. Contact your vet in advance if your pet has any ongoing medical problems and is likely to need care while you’re away.

What to do if you need a vet in an emergency. Dog with cone.

24/7 Care

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons stipulates that all veterinary practices must have arrangements to provide 24-hour care.^ Many vets have regular opening hours that may not include weekends or bank holidays. Some practices may have specific out of hours arrangements, and others may outsource their out of hours services. Make sure you ask about your own practice’s out of hours arrangements, so you don’t get caught out in an emergency. If they do outsource out of hours services, their provider may not have access to your pet’s full clinical history, so you may need to provide additional information. Remember to keep your insurance documents safe and accessible too, as you may need them in an emergency.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use this advice, but if you do need to contact your vet in an emergency, we hope this guide is useful! If you’re worried that your dog or cat is showing any symptoms or becoming ill, we always recommend contacting your local vet.

* Cover for vet’s fees for accidents is available on Accident Only policies. Cover for vet’s fees for accidents, injuries or illnesses is available on Time Limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime policies.

^ The Insurance Emporium will contribute up to £90 for house calls/out of hours calls if your vet confirms that your pet was suffering from a life-endangering injury, illness or condition.

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