Second Chance: Emergency Or Emotional Reaction?

Dear Pet Column,

I was trying to clip my dog’s toenails and clipped too short and caused some heavy bleeding. I panicked and despite the very late hour, called my veterinarian who was not happy because the situation turned was really not a late-night emergency.  So I need some guidelines: How does anyone know what constitutes a true midnight emergency? 

Panicky Pet Parent



Dear Panicky,

I consulted with our shelter medical director, Dr. Michelle Dally, about your question and she provided me with some guidelines about what is a true emergency and what can wait until the next day.

Let’s start with the midnight emergencies. They are pretty straightforward.

If your animal is bleeding copious amounts (spurting, or steady flow despite pressure); if your animal has been hit by a car or suffered other significant physical trauma; if your animal is unconscious, can’t breathe or is seizing for longer than 30 seconds; get your pet to an emergency animal hospital right away.

Now for the less straightforward situations:

If bleeding from a toenail trimming gone wrong, apply constant pressure for 15 minutes, dip the toe in cornstarch and wrap in a flexible bandage. See a vet the next day if your pet isn’t 100 percent.

An open wound: your dog or cat caught the edge of a barbed wire fence in the snow and now he has a four- inch tear in his side. As long as there is no penetration into a body cavity and it’s just skin and muscle, you can wait until the next morning for stitches.

Vomiting (with stuff coming out , i.e. productive vomiting): That too is not an emergency unless it continues for more than a day.

Vomiting (without stuff coming out, i.e, unproductive vomiting) in which the pet is trying to upchuck, its stomach is pumping in and out, but nothing is coming out IS AN EMERGENCY. Transport your animal to an emergency room, fast.

Diarrhea is not a middle- of-the-night emergency unless you’ve waited five days and just can’t take it anymore.

Not eating is also not a middle-of-the-night emergency unless your pet has been refusing food over a few days and it is breaking your heart.

Having chowed down on a pot brownie demands a trip to the emergency vet. THC is toxic to animals.

Limping is usually not a midnight emergency, even if the animal won’t bear any weight at all on the limb. That could just be simple sprain. But if it’s clear a bone is broken or dislocated and your pet appears to be in major pain, then go.

When an animal faints that is usually a sign of either a heart problem or a head injury. Head to the emergency room quickly.

Dr. Dally strongly cautioned that without directly seeing an animal, no guidelines are full-proof.  o if you’re really worried, head to an animal emergency clinic. Your vet may grumble, but will prefer that your pet is safe…

My name is Princess Pete. I am a divinely gorgeous two-year-old Maine Coon Cat with a super sweet disposition. Although I am shy, I have a feeling that once I get settled into your new home I will let my hair down and have you wondering how the heck you lived your life so long without me.

And this week’s dog of the week is Dexter, a three-year-old Border Collie. Dexter is a super cool dog who is well trained, does some swell tricks, walks well on a leash, and is crate trained. Like Princess Pete, he can be a little shy upon when you first meet, but is sure to warm up to be a super loyal and loving companion or companions.



Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae


By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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