Can Most Pet Emergencies Really Be Prevented?

May 27, 2022
Amber LaRock, Vetted Vet Professional

Just like you and I, our beloved pets can fall victim to sudden illness and injury. These health threats may have us rushing our pets to the closest animal ER in search of help, worried sick about what this could mean for their health moving forward.

Emergency animals hospitals are also incredibly overwhelmed, causing pet parents to wait hours for their little ones to be evaluated. Some of these complications can even be life-threatening, making it essential to learn necessary prevention when possible.

Everyone in the equation benefits from prevention of pet emergencies, so let’s discuss the most effective ways to keep your pet safe!

We’d like to first mention that while many health emergencies in pets can be prevented, not all of them can be. Vetted’s mission is  to empower all pet parents in terms of education and preventative care, but we understand that some complications cannot be avoided. In those situations our pet professional team will notify you to see your local vet or go immediately to an urgent care. Through our partnerships with the Veterinary Emergency Group all Vetted members will be able to see the doctor free of charge.

What Is A Pet Emergency?

When discussing pet emergencies in our little ones, we are referring to any health complications that require an immediate vet visit. This often means that your pet needs to be seen within minutes to hours due to their current state, and that waiting days for a regular vet appointment could be harmful.

A pet emergency may include sudden vomiting, constant diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, painful injuries, bleeding, and seizures. Our Vetted team can also help you determine whether or not your pet is experiencing a true emergency and if they need immediate vet care.

Common Pet Emergencies & How To Prevent Them

As a Licensed Vet Tech that worked in an emergency animal hospital for 6 years, I met thousands of pets that required urgent care. While this isn’t the case for every pet we saw, many of these emergencies could have been prevented with at-home and medical care.

So many of these preventative methods are simple and can be achieved at home in less than 5 minutes each day. We want your little ones to avoid any medical complications that could send them to the hospital, so let’s break down the most common pet emergencies and how to prevent them.

Diarrhea & Vomiting

Diarrhea and vomiting is likely the most common pet emergency that we see in the animal ER. Pets often make their way in when they have an upset stomach that hasn’t resolved with at-home care, or if their symptoms have caused them to become dangerously dehydrated and weak.

Diarrhea and vomiting in pets can have many different causes, but a large majority of these issues could have been prevented. Some of the most common causes of gastrointestinal upset in our little ones include eating things outside of their standard diet, intestinal parasites, toxicities, sudden diet changes, infectious disease, and stress.

Prevention: Keep your pet up to date on their preventative vaccines, offer them a high quality diet that is veterinary approved, avoid offering any fatty human foods, keep your home as stress free as possible, offer them probiotics for gut health as needed, keep up with their monthly heartworm prevention (as it protects against many intestinal parasites as well), and have them dewormed regularly.

At Vetted we manage your pet’s health calendar for you so that you don’t need to remember all of your care tasks! We manage them in our app and remind you when it is time to schedule an appointment to get these care tasks completed!

Toxin Ingestion

Many pet parents are shocked to learn just how many toxic substances are found in our homes. These toxic items can be found in the form of everything from prescription medications to cleaning supplies, each of which can cause our pets extreme harm if they come in contact with them.

Some of the most common toxicities seen in the animal ER include human medications, toxic plants, chocolate, sugar free gum (xylitol), grapes, and rat bait. Anything that is not made for cats or dogs can be potentially toxic to our pets, so it’s important to keep any of these items far away from your little ones. Just like you would baby proof your home before a newborn, consider doing the same before you bring your pet into your home! Read about how to dog proof your home here.

Prevention: Keep all items that are not made specifically for your pets out of reach, make sure all plants in your home are pet friendly, keep all cleaning supplies locked away, be careful when taking any daily human medications, and be aware of the list of harmful human foods for pets.


Trauma is an emergency seen daily in all emergency animal hospitals. Our pets aren’t aware of how dangerous certain situations can be, so many of them end up sustaining serious injuries. There are also an array of accidents that can occur each day, which is why it is so important to be aware of the many ways in which our pets can get hurt.

Some of the most common traumas seen in the animal ER include wounds from fighting with housemates, wounds sustained at the dog park, falling off high furniture, road traffic accidents, and lacerations from sharp objects. We know these things can occur no matter how careful you are with your pet’s safety, but it’s still important to be educated on the best preventative tactics.

Prevention: Keep your pet on a leash when outdoors, make sure their collar or harness fits properly, keep kittens and puppies off high surfaces, be aware of any behavioral struggles or triggers around other animals, prevent your pet from free roaming, and be mindful of any open doors or windows in your home.

Breathing Complications

Breathing complications are a pet emergency that should always be taken seriously. They are one of the most critical issues that we see in the ER each day, as any difficulty with breathing can be life-threatening. While there are many complex causes of respiratory distress that cannot be prevented, many can be detected early on with annual or semi-annual veterinary exams.

Some of the most common causes of breathing complications in our little ones include cardiac disease, collapsing trachea, choking, asthma, and cancer. Though we cannot prevent each of these issues from developing in our pets, early detection can allow us to start treatment quickly.

Prevention: Take your pet to their annual or semi-annual vet exams, perform any recommended health screenings when needed, reach out to veterinary professionals if your pet is experiencing strange symptoms, and keep any choking hazards away from your pet.

Undiagnosed Underlying Conditions

No matter how hard we try to keep our pets healthy throughout the years, some will still develop underlying health conditions. These pets have the best chance at living a full life when these conditions are caught early, and when they maintain a close relationship with their veterinary team.

A few of the most common forms of chronic medical conditions seen in pets include cardiac disease, kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis, hip dysplasia, asthma, liver disease, and skin allergies.

Prevention: Take your pet to their annual vet exams, allow any recommended health screenings, give daily probiotics for skin, gut, and immune support, offer daily joint supplements that promote joint health, and speak to veterinary professionals if your pet appears unwell.

Final Thoughts

Preventative pet care is an effective and easy way to keep your pets healthy and happy throughout their lives. Vetted is here to empower pet parents through education, provide guidance on daily home care options, and offer veterinary support when you need immediate and professional advice. If you would like to learn more about our home care guidance and veterinary support you can always download the Vetted app or email our team directly at