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Heavy Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

If your cat or dog is experiencing excessive bleeding, contact your emergency vet immediately and monitor your pet's condition. In this post, our Woburn vets explore heavy bleeding in cats and dogs, guiding pet owners on how to assist.

Severe Bleeding in Cats & Dogs

A cat or dog can experience external or internal bleeding. You can easily spot external bleeding typically resulting from a skin wound. On the other hand, detecting internal bleeding is challenging and necessitates the expertise of an emergency vet.

Knowing how to manage or halt excessive bleeding in your cat or dog is crucial until you can access emergency care.

When Cats & Dogs Experience Severe Blood Loss

If your dog or cat experiences significant blood loss within a short period, it can lead to a state of shock. Shock can be triggered by a blood loss as minimal as two teaspoons per pound of body weight.

An animal in shock exhibits an elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, pale, white gums, and rapid breathing. Neglecting proper treatment can result in the shutdown of organ systems, leading to potential permanent damage or even death for the dog or cat.

What to Do If Your Pet Has External Bleeding

My primary objective when a dog or cat loses blood is to halt the blood flow. Although you may not be able to intervene in cases of internal bleeding personally, you can manage external bleeding from a wound or cut until you arrive at your emergency vet clinic.

Direct Pressure

Position a clean cloth or gauze compress directly over the wound to control external bleeding in your dog or cat. Apply gentle yet firm pressure, enabling clotting to occur. If the blood seeps through the compress, replace it with a fresh one and maintain steady, gentle pressure. A bare hand or finger can be used if compressed materials are unavailable.


If you encounter a severely bleeding wound on the foot or leg without any signs of a broken bone, elevate the leg gently, positioning the wound above the heart level. Additionally, apply direct pressure to the wound. Elevating the leg aids in lowering blood pressure in the affected area, thereby slowing down the bleeding.

Apply Pressure on the Supplying Artery

If external bleeding persists despite applying direct pressure and elevation, use your finger to exert pressure on the main artery near the wound. For instance, if there's severe bleeding in a rear leg, press on the femoral artery situated on the inside of the thigh. In the case of severe bleeding in the front leg, apply pressure to the brachial artery located inside the upper front leg.

What if My Cat or Dog Has Internal Bleeding?

Internal bleeding occurs inside the body and is less obvious than external bleeding from a wound. If you notice any of the following signs of internal bleeding in your dog or cat, please get in touch with your emergency vet.

  • Gums appear pale to white
  • Legs, ears, or tail are cool to the touch
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sudden weakness or collapsing
  • The belly is swollen and painful to touch

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat or dog experiencing an injury or veterinary emergency? Contact our Woburn vets right away.

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