We understand the trepidation you might have about taking a trip to the emergency vet — emergency rooms for humans and pets alike can be expensive, time consuming, and can end up being overkill when it ends up being a minor problem.

However, there are definitely issues that warrant a trip to the emergency vet. At Ballantyne Animal Hospital in West Charlotte, we’ve seen more than enough cases where emergency care was absolutely necessary, and in a lot of those instances, these visits have saved lives.

When should you consider taking your pup to the emergency vet? Here are a few suggestions.


Would you skip a trip to the ER if your child, spouse, or family member was having a seizure? Hopefully, the answer is “no,” and it should be the same with your pets. Dog seizures are no joke, and they’re usually symptomatic of a much worse problem that’s going on behind the scenes. Tumors, low glucose, and serious head trauma can all be reasons for a seizure, and if you ever see it happening, don’t hesitate — bring your pup to the emergency vet.

Inability to Rise or Collapsing

Whether your dog is unable to get up and walk, or they’re sluggish and collapse onto the floor, it means that your dog is feeling profoundly weak, and is not normal behavior. Dogs, even older ones with less energy, should have no problem getting up and moving around. While humans are able to voluntarily sabotage their health and energy through bad lifestyle choices, dogs should, by all means, be generally healthy if they’re eating pet food every day.

Internal bleeding, cardiac compromise, disease-induced paralysis, and severe dehydration are all among the factors that could lead to a weakened dog, and some of these could spell disaster if not treated right away.

Discolored Gums

Dog gums are handy, because they’re an extremely easy way to check on your dog’s blood flow. In a nutshell, gums are usually pink because they have a lot of blood flowing through them. If they’re pale, white, or blue, it means that something is disrupting the circulation in your dog’s body. This can mean internal bleeding, or a low oxygen state which could also be symptomatic of heart failure or breathing issues. Don’t wait on this one.

Major Physical Trauma

Pets are extraordinarily good at hiding their pain. If your dog has experienced serious physical trauma, such as being hit by a car, being roughly impacted by something, falling from a high ledge, and so on, you should see a vet immediately. It’s a mistake to assume your dog is okay if they get up and start acting like normal afterwards; they could have broken bones, brain swelling, or punctured lungs.

Poison Ingestion

No, we’re not talking about rat poison, hemlock, or a little vial with a skull on it. There are many common human foods that are toxic to dogs, effectively making them a poison of sorts. Did you know that grapes, for example, can cause serious problems in dogs, including death? Take a look at our list of toxic dog foods and make sure you’re not slowly killing your pet!

Your Local Animal Hospital Cares

Your dog’s health should be your top priority — don’t put it off! At Ballantyne Animal Hospital in West Charlotte, we offer quality emergency vet services and will be happy to give your dog the care they need. Contact us today!