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Dog Waving Paw


When should I bring my dog to an emergency clinic vs urgent care? 

The difference between urgent care and emergency care for dogs lies in the severity and immediacy of the medical attention required. Understanding this distinction can be crucial for dog owners in deciding the right course of action when their pet is unwell or injured. 

  1. Emergency Care for Dogs:

    • Severity: Emergency care is required for life-threatening conditions or severe injuries that need immediate attention.

    • Examples: Severe trauma (e.g., being hit by a car, falling from a height), difficulty breathing, prolonged seizures, major bleeding, suspected poisoning, unconsciousness, sudden paralysis, or severe pain.

    • Response: Emergency situations demand immediate veterinary intervention to prevent death or serious long-term health issues. These are situations where every second counts.

    • Facilities: Typically handled in specialized emergency veterinary clinics or hospitals that are equipped to deal with severe and critical conditions. These facilities usually offer 24/7 service.

  2. Urgent Care for Dogs:

    • Severity: Urgent care is for conditions that, while not immediately life-threatening, still require prompt medical attention. These issues could potentially escalate to emergencies if not addressed soon.

    • Examples: Moderate vomiting or diarrhea, minor injuries, ear infections, urinary difficulties (especially in male cats), sudden changes in behavior or appetite, or mild to moderate respiratory distress.

    • Response: Urgent care situations call for veterinary care within a short time frame, usually within 24 hours. Delaying treatment could result in the condition worsening.

    • Facilities: These conditions, if not surgical, can often be handled by Vet At Your Door during normal business hours. Some urgent care facilities might offer extended hours but aren't typically open 24/7 like emergency hospitals.


Role of Vet At Your Door:

Vet At Your Door, as a house call veterinary practice, can be particularly useful in urgent care scenarios that don't appear surgical.  Our veterinarians can assess your dog in its familiar environment, reducing stress and providing a clearer picture of its typical behavior and health. We can advise on whether the situation can be managed at home or if it necessitates a visit to an urgent care clinic or emergency hospital. However, for true emergencies, immediate transportation to an emergency veterinary facility is always recommended.


In summary, the key difference between urgent and emergency care is the immediacy and severity of the medical situation. Understanding this can help dog owners make timely and appropriate decisions for the care of their pets.

Where are local veterinary urgent care hospitals? 
  1. PetMedic Urgent Care Vet Clinic in Portland and Freeport:

    • Portland Location: 191 Marginal Way, Portland, ME 04101. Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 9 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Contact number: 207-813-4777​​​​​​.

    • Freeport Location: Located in the Shaw’s plaza on Lower Main Street, Freeport, ME 04032. Open Monday to Friday from 12 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Contact number: 207-805-5398​​​​​​​​.

  2. Angelus Urgent Veterinary Care in Kennebunk:

    • Address: 31 York Street (Rte 1), Kennebunk, ME 04043. Contact number: 207-569-0064​​​​.


Here are other questions people ask about urgent care for dogs. 

What are the signs that my dog needs immediate emergency care?

Dogs may require immediate care for severe trauma, difficulty breathing, seizures, uncontrolled bleeding, or ingestion of toxic substances. 

How can I tell if my dog's issue needs urgent care?

Symptoms like persistent vomiting or diarrhea, difficulty urinating, a laceration, eye issues, ear infections, loss of appetite, and limping may not be life-threatening but still require prompt attention. Our team can provide urgent care for non-surgical situations, at your home, offering a stress-free environment for your pet.

What should I do if I suspect my dog has eaten something toxic?

Immediate action is vital if you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic substance. Contact us at Vet At Your Door for quick guidance or Animal Poison Control.

What are common causes of breathing difficulties in dogs?

Breathing problems in dogs can be due to various issues like asthma, heatstroke, or infections. Our at-home urgent care services can help diagnose and treat these conditions comfortably at your home. If your pet is in respiratory distress (turning blue, laying on their side, you hear rattling) please go to your nearest emergency clinic. 

How do I handle a dog with seizures?

If your dog experiences a seizure, particularly if it's their first, immediate veterinary care is ideal. We can provide in-home lab collection for diagnostics, monitoring and treatment, ensuring your dog's safety and comfort.

What should I do if my dog is having trouble urinating?

Difficulty in urination can be a sign of urinary tract issues and requires prompt veterinary attention. We offer in-home assessments and treatment for such non-surgical conditions, ensuring your dog's comfort.

How can I identify and treat eye problems in my dog?

Eye issues can range from infections to injuries. Our team can provide in-home care and advice, helping to alleviate your dog's discomfort in a familiar setting.

Is it an emergency if my dog stops eating?

A loss of appetite in dogs can indicate various health issues. We can conduct in-home evaluations to determine the cause and provide appropriate care.

How should I respond to suspected allergic reactions in my dog?

Allergic reactions in dogs can manifest as hives, facial swelling, and digestive upset. Our team is equipped to handle these reactions at your home, ensuring quick and effective care. If any respiratory distress occurs, while rare, it warrants going to your nearest local veterinary emergency hospital. 

What does a change in my dog's behavior indicate?

Changes in your dog's behavior, like lethargy or hiding, can be signs of underlying health issues. We offer in-home consultations to assess and address these concerns in a stress-free environment.

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(207) 536-8387

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