Read This Before Taking Your Dog To The Emergency Vet

emergency vet

Health emergencies are frightening – for you and your dog. You hand over your pet and your credit card … and wait patiently for updates. Emotions build and that can lead to bad decision-making.

And I’ve heard some horror stories … Clients choosing unnecessary euthanasia. Or agreeing to costly procedures … only to see no improvement, even after days of hospitalization. Sometimes the calls are even worse .. when I learn an animal died during a diagnostic procedure.

Finding the right fit for a veterinarian is hard enough. But to have limited options in crisis situations … is the worst feeling of powerlessness for a dog owner.

So I want to give you some information that’ll help you make decisions about going to the emergency vet.

Start With Some Detective Work

The most important tool you have is your own intuition. You can uncover a lot just by getting in tune with your animal. You don’t need a stethoscope or medical knowledge to tune in. This is best done in nature with absolutely no distraction. You can use your front or backyard. Once outside, really investigate the body. Watch your dog as you touch different areas. She’ll tell you a lot with her expression and body language.

What To Look For

Think about these types of questions …

  • Is it a tummy issue or a back issue or both?
  • Is her mouth sore and can you examine it?
  • Could lameness be from a thorn in the paw?
  • Is it from an insect bite or nerves from the neck?
  • Is the belly issue from nerves from the back since a fall?
  • Did she get sick from the garbage she found in the gutter?

Teach your dog to trust you … so you can learn to trust yourself in these moments. Your dog CAN talk to you … but you may not always be listening. Or you’re just too distracted. 

When you’re trying to find out what’s wrong with your dog … don’t be afraid to use a muzzle when needed. Your safety is critical …  and you have to be fearless. Your dog may fear-bite if she’s traumatized or has severe pain. Once you have a better idea of what’s going on … it’s time to make a decision.

RELATED: What is normal dog body temperature and when should you go to the vet?

Do You Need To Call The Emergency Vet?

There are a few life-threatening situations where homeopathy can help. Sometimes this means giving remedies while you’re driving to the ER clinic. I recommend having a homeopathic first aid kit on hand … and your homeopath on speed dial! These remedies can be lifesaving … especially if you live in a remote area and can’t get to the ER quickly. 

I love homeopathy because it’s the fastest medicine I know. These are just some examples of situations where homeopathy helped my clients avoid the ER.

Emergencies You Can Handle At Home

These are some common emergencies homeopathy helps with. If you do decide to use homeopathy, make sure to call your homeopath or holistic vet before choosing a remedy. You need to pick the right one – and fast!    If you can’t reach your homeopath or holistic vet … play it safe and go to the ER clinic.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Pain And Cramping

This is one of the most common reasons dogs go to the emergency vet but it’s unnecessary in most cases. You can almost always resolve this with homeopathy … even severe GI bleeding, which has a 50/50 survival rate in ER hospitals.


Pancreatitis is also a common reason for emergency vet visits. But homeopathy can rapidly resolve pancreatitis. You can also consider subcutaneous fluids along with sublingual B vitamins. 

Caution: In some acute pancreatitis cases, your dog may need hospitalization and IV fluids.

RELATED: How to help heal the pancreas and speed up recovery time …

Trauma (Unless It’s Severe)

Homeopathy, ozone and topical poultice application can resolve many cases of trauma.

Joint Injuries And Pain

You can learn to palpate (use touch) to find where the pain is … and homeopathy can be life-saving.

RELATED: 6 natural joint supplements for dogs …

Disc Or Ligament Issues

High potency homeopathy, along with VOM chiropractic care and ozone, have 100% success. Surgery is never needed in my experience!


Homeopathy can resolve most cases of open pyometra (meaning pus is releasing).

Head To The ER In These Life-Threatening Situations

There are some situation where an emergency vet is needed.


This is usually an allergic reaction to drug, vaccine, bite or sting.

Profuse Bleeding – Internal or external

Make sure you know how to check your pet’s gums. If they’re pale, your dog needs emergency help.

Colic Or Bloat

Colic and bloat usually a kibble-fed dog phenomenon. I love the remedy Carbo vegetabilis for this! But head to the ER and give it on the way, just to be safe.

Overheating Or Heat Stroke

Go to the ER when your dog can’t cool down or regulate her body temperature.


Check your dog’s gums immediately. This could be from heart issues, spleen issues, bowel perforation or closed pyometra.

Respiratory Distress

If your dog is having trouble breathing head to the vet. Your dog may be choking. Look for bluish gums.

Hit By A Car

Even if your dog seems OK, you always need to rule out internal bleeding and head trauma.

Any Severe Trauma

This includes eye trauma, fractures, dislocations, lacerations, severe bite wounds.

Uncontrolled Seizures

If your dog is having uncontrolled seizures, head to the emergency vet. You also need to watch your dog’s body temperature if your dog has mulitple seizures or they last more than 2 minutes. Otherwise your dog could overheat, which could cause bigger issues.

Severe And Unresolved Pain

If your dog has pain that is severe, call the emergency vet.

Severe Diarrhea Or Vomiting

You need to rule out poisoning or the presence of a foreign body, which may cause a bowel obstruction.

Antifreeze Poisoning

Antifreeze poisoning can be deadly to pets, causing kidney failure within a day or two. Antifreeze tastes sweet so dogs will want to lick it up.Don’t let your dog get into antifreeze, but if you think (or know) he has, get him to the ER without delay.

Xylitol Poisoning

Learn how to avoid accidental exposure to this common sweetener that’s deadly to your dog. Gum, dental products and marinating sauces are likely the most common exposures. Supervise your dog around purses, counters and parties!

Urinary Blockage

Avoidable with fluids and homeopathy at early signs … but go to the ER if in doubt. (Note: if you have a cat, males are at especially high risk.)

Closed Pyometra

If your dog isn’t releasing pus, she needs veterinary care.

Mouth Pain

This may need a skilled vet or anesthesia for close examination. 

A Note About Mouth Pain: Learn to look in your dog’s mouth and really investigate regularly. So many vets don’t do thorough oral exams. And many horrible things can get missed (tumors, fractured teeth, etc). Many acute arthritis or severe pain cases can stem from severe dental infections! And homeopathy and other safe methods can usually treat them.

They don’t need toxic medications or antibiotics. These drugs destroy the microbiome, creating a worse boomerang effect. An invasive toxic medication roller coaster is not the answer!

Tips For Making Emergency Situations Easier

There are many steps you can take to help make ER visits easier for you and your dog. They may also help you make better decisions when you’re there.

1. Bring Someone With You

Try not to make decisions based on fear. Too often we think we have no choices. But really we’re absorbing others’ energy instead of grounding ourselves. So if you do go to the emergency vet … I recommend taking another person with you. 

Pick a friend or family member who can be more objective. And discuss an advocacy plan before the clinic sees your dog. Your friend can help you ask questions and remember answers … which can be hard when you’re worried about your dog. 

You need to know the risks and benefits of procedures and treatments. And costs versus benefits too!

2. Pick The Right Diagnostic Tests

Remember … ER doctors are primarily trained to diagnose. And they learn to paint the grimmest picture! Pet insurance and liability instill this in them. 

I’ve often heard of animals waiting hours and hours for any therapy. Meanwhile the clinic continues to organize and prioritize diagnostics! Obviously … a diagnosis that may kill an animal is not a good investment. 

So the best thing you (and your advocate) can do is to ask very pointed questions about diagnostic tests:

  • Do you think this is a useful or helpful test … with little to no risk?
  • What is the minimum we can do to get some answers so we can start medical therapy and observe my dog’s response?
  • What would you do if this were your animal … especially if money was a real concern?
  • Are the diagnostics likely to change your treatment recommendation? (If not, why put your dog through it?)

These are important questions … whether you have disposable funds or not. Many diagnostics come with great risk. Insist on full informed consent.

3. Don’t Stress About Money … There Are Options

Research shows that most people view their pets as family members. Yet less than 1% have pet insurance. Having a financial plan in place is crucial. And to do that you need to know what your options are.

  • Insurance often does pay off in a crisis. But many insurance plans don’t cover holistic treatments … and I don’t think any cover homeopathy.
  • Credit companies like CareCredit and Scratchpay can be amazing options for urgent situations. Or check out other lenders like GraceLoanAdvance.
  • Consider GoFundMe accounts for animals. They can (and do) easily raise sizable amounts rapidly. Many of my clients have seen miracles when they shared their pet’s story. But some use pride as an excuse not to ask.
  • There also are some great subsidizing non-profits that deserve research as well. Some started up specifically for pet emergency situations.

4. Prepare For Emergencies

This may sound impossible. But there are some ways to prepare for emergencies.

  • Become familiar with issues common to your dog’s breed.
  • Consider your dog’s lifestyle. Is she super-active, into hiking, or a lover of water sports? Think ahead and consider possible emergency situations that could come up.
  • Avoid overheating. For very active dogs … or short-snouted dogs, carry a thermometer with you. And know how to use it. Brachycephalic (flat faced) dogs can’t physically get oxygen exchange easily. So they can get heat stroke extremely quickly. Rapid cooling options are key in these situations.
  • Ask your vet to provide you with subcutaneous fluids to keep at home. Dehydration and toxicity are debilitating Every pet owner should have a bag of fluids on hand … and learn how to give them. They’re life-saving in so many situations. You can watch YouTube videos to learn how to give sub-Q fluids. If you’re just too needle-phobic, get the name and number of a mobile vet technician who can assist. Ask your vet if you’re not sure you should use them.

Prevent Emergencies

Of course, the best way to avoid emergency clinics is to prevent emergencies in the first place. And when it comes to prevention … choosing holistic options is key.

These are simple, easy prevention tools to keep your dog away from the emergency vet.

RELATED: How often should I take my dog to the vet?

Be Prepared

Get informed … be prepared.

  • Decide and commit to a pet savings account or pet insurance.
  • Investigate vets and nearby clinics.
  • Get a homeopathy kit and invest in some first responder education as well. Or make sure you have a relationship with a good homeopath you can call in emergencies.
  • Start keen observation and detective work for each of your animals. Fur can hide a lot!
  • Write down some questions for the ER vet now as a reminder. Put them in your phone under your preferred clinic contact info.

If it’s a true emergency …

  • Grab a calm friend as an advocate.
  • Use homeopathy on the way to the ER clinic.
  • Make notes for your ER vet.

Remember, urgent situations don’t need a knee-jerk reaction. Your dog deserves keen intuitive regular attention as well. So … don’t ignore signs and symptoms until they’re convenient. Do not let a chronic issue creep up and become an emergency. 

Health emergencies are frightening – for you and your dog. You hand over your pet and your credit card … and wait patiently for updates. Emotions build and that can lead to bad decision-making.

5 minutes a day. Healthier Dog.

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