May 22, 2024

Being a pet parent means you’re on-call around the clock. Our furry companions might need care during unusual hours, and we must know what to do. This article provides valuable insights into after-hours veterinary care and how to respond if your pet needs urgent assistance when your regular vet is closed.

The Need for After-hours Veterinary Care

Emergencies can occur anytime, including the ungodly hours when your usual vet isn’t available. After-hours veterinary care is crucial, especially when dealing with acute conditions like sudden illness or injuries.

Recognizing Emergencies in Your Pet

The key to managing such scenarios is recognizing that your pet needs immediate help. Monitor symptoms like excessive coughing, difficulty breathing, seizures, trauma, or persistent vomiting. Unusual behaviors like extensive whimpering, aggression, or sudden passivity can also suggest trouble. Also, if your pet exhibits signs such as bloody diarrhea in dogs, it signifies a medical emergency needing immediate attention.

Steps to Take When Your Pet Needs Urgent Care

When faced with a pet emergency, here’s a guideline:

  1. Stabilize Your Pet: Calm your pet down and, if possible, restrain it gently to avoid further injuries.
  2. Contact Your Regular Veterinarian: Reach out to your vet; if they do not provide after-hours service, they should have contacts or partners who can help.
  3. Transportation: If your regular vet or their contacts aren’t available, look for a reputable 24 hour animal hospital in Memphis or similar emergency facilities in your locale.

Preparing a Pet for Transportation to the Vet

Preparation is vital When transporting your pet to the vet, whether it’s an emergency or a regular check-up. The goal is to make the procedure as stress-free as possible for you and your pet. The following steps can assist in the process:

  1. Pet Carrier or Restrained in Your Vehicle: A pet carrier is recommended if you have a smaller animal. Consider a vehicle pet barrier, a pet seat belt, or a secured crate for larger animals like dogs. This ensures their safety and prevents them from moving around, potentially causing distraction.
  2. Comforting Items: Include a familiar blanket, toy, or even an item of your clothing that smells like home in the carrier or crate. These items can provide comfort and help to reduce stress.
  3. Be Calm and Reassuring: Pets are very sensitive to human emotions. If you are stressed, they may also sense it and become stressed. Therefore, maintain a calm demeanor and offer reassuring petting or words.
  4. Consider the Temperature: It’s crucial to remember that vehicles can heat up quickly, particularly in the summer. At the same time, winters can become cold swiftly. If you’re planning to take your pet to the vet, consider the interior temperature of your vehicle.
  5. No Feeding: In case of emergency and if your vet is okay with it, try not to give food to your pet right before traveling, especially if they are in pain or anxious, as it could lead to vomiting. However, always consult your vet first, as every situation can be unique.

Roles of After-Hours Veterinary Clinics

After-hour vet clinics are lifesavers that bridge the gap when regular health services are closed. They handle emergency pet needs, many featuring onsite diagnostic tools and surgical facilities.

How to Locate an After-hours Vet Clinic

The internet makes finding these clinics easier. Search for emergency clinics in your locality. Your regular vet often has contacts or may be associated with an after-hours clinic. Animal welfare organizations are also excellent resources for locating after-hours care.

What to look for in an After-Hours Vet Clinic

  • Availability: Clinics should be open 24/7 or during major non-working hours.
  • Staff: Dedicated and experienced workers are vital.
  • Services: They should provide a range of emergency services.

Understanding the Costs of Emergency Veterinary Care

Emergency veterinary care can be significantly costlier than regular check-ups or consultations.

Financing Emergency Vet Costs

You can set aside a pet emergency fund or consider pet insurance. Some local animal charities may aid in emergencies but don’t rely solely on these.

Considerations When Returning Home

After the immediate emergency has been addressed, the recovery phase begins:

  1. Post-Treatment Care: Follow the vet’s instructions for at-home care.
  2. Follow-ups: Schedule check-ups to monitor recovery progress.
  3. Home Modifications: This might be necessary to assist your pet’s recovery.

Heimlich Maneuver for Choking Dogs

If your pet is choking, applying the dog Heimlich is a life-saving technique all pet parents should know how to perform. This procedure involves thrusts to the abdomen to force out any lodged objects. However, it should not be a substitute for professional care and should only be attempted in dire emergencies.


Ultimately, our pets’ comfort and safety are our onus as pet parents. As pets cannot express their discomfort in words, recognizing signs of distress and acting promptly can make a difference. Always have a plan of action for emergencies, and never hesitate to seek professional help. Our fluffy friends rely on us and deserve the best care possible, no matter the hour.